Casiville Bullard House

The Casiville Bullard House is a historic house in Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States. It was built from 1909 to 1910 by stonemason and bricklayer Casiville Bullard (1873–1959), one of the few known African-American skilled workers active in the building trades in early-20th-century Saint Paul.[2] The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997 for its local significance in the themes of black history and social history.[3]

Casiville Bullard House
Casiville Bullard House.jpg
The Casiville Bullard House viewed from the southwest
Casiville Bullard House is located in Minneapolis–Saint Paul
Casiville Bullard House
Casiville Bullard House is located in Minnesota
Casiville Bullard House
Casiville Bullard House is located in the United States
Casiville Bullard House
Location1282 Folsom Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Coordinates44°58′47.8″N 93°7′56.7″W / 44.979944°N 93.132417°W / 44.979944; -93.132417Coordinates: 44°58′47.8″N 93°7′56.7″W / 44.979944°N 93.132417°W / 44.979944; -93.132417
AreaLess than one acre
Built1909–1910
Built byCasiville Bullard
Architectural styleAmerican Foursquare
NRHP reference No.96001559[1]
Added to NRHPJanuary 9, 1997

HistoryEdit

Casiville "Charlie" Bullard was born on February 24, 1873, in Memphis, Tennessee. His parents were former slaves who worked as cotton pickers.[4] The eldest of seven children, Bullard spent much of his youth picking cotton with his parents and babysitting his younger siblings. Although he only received a third-grade education, a male relative gave him instruction in building trades such as stonemasonry, bricklaying, and plastering. During the era of slavery in the United States, enslaved African Americans were often forced to repair and maintain buildings and to make clothing, on top of being forced to perform agricultural labor. As a result, many individuals became proficient in spinning, weaving, shoemaking, carpentry, painting, blacksmithing, and the building trades This knowledge was passed from one generation to the next, and many African Americans dominated these crafts after emancipation.[5]

In addition to the building trades, Bullard also was educated in carpentry. He became very skilled at cutting and laying brick, marble, and granite, and cutting and laying pine and oak flooring. Racial prejudice began to manifest itself in the building industry in the American South in the late 19th century, though. Locals of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners union were segregated, so black workers were predominantly sent only to poor black neighborhoods. The building trades unions were much less likely to discriminate, because most of their skilled craftsmen were black. Even with that, though, many African American craftsmen migrated to northern cities between 1890 and 1910, in an effort to escape housing discrimination, segregation laws, and the loss of political power and legal rights.[5]

Bullard first came to Saint Paul in 1898 to do stonework for the third Minnesota State Capitol, designed by Cass Gilbert. For the next few years he lived and worked in Minnesota seasonally, but in 1902, he and his wife Addison (Addie) moved to the state permanently. Their first child, Lillie, was born in Saint Paul the same year.[4]

Soon after, Bullard purchased land at 1282 Folsom Street in the Como Heights neighborhood of Saint Paul. His family lived in a tent on the property while he built a wooden house, which was under construction no later than 1904. Bullard worked on this house at night after he had completed his workday, often with his wife holding a kerosene lamp to provide light.[4]

Bullard was a card-carrying member of the Bricklayers Local #1, which was highly unusual for an African American of his time. He likely became a member in Tennessee and received a traveling card to join the local union in Saint Paul when he moved to the city. This membership made him eligible for unionized work, which made up the bulk of significant construction work done in St. Paul in the early 20th century.[4]

Bullard was sought after for his skills, since it was rare to find a laborer proficient at both brick and stone work. He was part of the team that built many significant buildings in Saint Paul such as the Federal Courts Building (now the Landmark Center), the Cathedral of Saint Paul, the Minnesota Governor's Residence, Saint Paul Union Depot, and the Highland Park Tower.[4]

Bullard had a reputation as an expert in his field, and he applied all of his skills, including carpentry, to this, his family's second home, which he built of brick at 1282 Folsom Street in 1909. The house has two stories in an American Foursquare design, a front and back porch, and a bay window. Other windows in the house held decorative stained glass. Bullard also built this house in the evenings after work.[4]

The Bullard family, numbering twelve by 1917, lived in the brick house on Folsom Street until 1919, when they moved to another, larger property a few blocks away. Casiville Bullard lived in three other homes before his death on June 1, 1959.[4]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  This article incorporates text from MNopedia, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ Granger, Susan; Kay Grossman (1996-02-15). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Bullard, Casiville House". National Park Service. Retrieved 2018-08-24. With four accompanying photos from 1995
  3. ^ "Bullard, Casiville House". Minnesota National Register Properties Database. Minnesota Historical Society. 2009. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Huber, Molly (2018-01-08). "Casiville Bullard House, St. Paul". MNopedia. Minnesota Historical Society. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  5. ^ a b Gardner, Denis P. (2004). Minnesota Treasures: Stories Behind the State's Historic Places. St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society. pp. 196–199. ISBN 0-87351-471-8.