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The Lorin Cray House (also known as the Cray Mansion) is a historic structure in Mankato, Minnesota. Originally a private home, it was owned by the local YWCA for just over 80 years, from late 1927 until they changed locations in early 2008.[2] It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 28, 1980.[3]

Lorin Cray House
2009-0805-MN-Mankato-CrayHouse.jpg
Lorin Cray House is located in Minnesota
Lorin Cray House
Lorin Cray House is located in the United States
Lorin Cray House
Location603 S. 2nd Street,
Mankato, Minnesota
Coordinates44°9′43″N 94°0′20″W / 44.16194°N 94.00556°W / 44.16194; -94.00556Coordinates: 44°9′43″N 94°0′20″W / 44.16194°N 94.00556°W / 44.16194; -94.00556
Arealess than one acre
Built1897
ArchitectThayer, Frank
Architectural styleClassical Revival, Queen Anne, Romanesque
MPSBlue Earth County MRA
NRHP reference #80001943[1]
Added to NRHPJuly 28, 1980

Description and historyEdit

The Queen Anne Style brick residence was designed by Frank Thayer for Lorin P. Cray, a civic leader, judge and philanthropist.[3] Built in 1897 at a cost of $13,000, the house is constructed of buff brick, red brick, pink granite and Kasota limestone. It features towers, porch, columns, side balcony and stained, etched and beveled glass windows typical of the period. The property once included a carriage house, which was demolished to make room for a YWCA annex.[4] The house is approximately 10,000 square feet (930 m2).[5]

Built adjacent to the equally lavish Renesselaer D. Hubbard House, for several years the two owners engaged in a game of one-upmanship in upgrading their properties; the battle appeared to end when Cray added a top-floor ballroom.[6] Both houses are listed on the NRHP.

Cray was an important donor to what became the Mankato YWCA; when he and his wife died in 1927, the house and furnishings were willed to the organization along with an endowment for the upkeep of the building. The organization moved into the structure on November 12, 1927, using it initially as a communal house.[7] The second floor housed at least eight girls until 1952.[8] The building was converted into the YWCA's offices as well as a preschool.[7] The organization moved out in 2008; the move was prompted by expensive maintenance costs for the historic building.[9]

The YWCA put the structure up for sale in 2006 for $682,400.[10] The Mankato Area Foundation showed serious interest in purchasing the house for the city, but terms that would have allowed the YWCA to occupy the building with no other tenants for up to ten years while the city paid upkeep of $50,000 a year killed the deal.[11] When it became clear the structure would likely fall into private hands, historic preservationists, led by the Blue Earth County Historical Society, expressed concerns that the building might be significantly altered.[9][12] The building sold on February 28, 2008 for $505,000; at the time its appraised value was $675,000.[8] The buyer, a private developer, proposed to use the first floor as shared space and rent the rest as communal housing; however city ordinances prohibited a single unit from housing more than five unrelated people.[5][13] The building is now a multi-dwelling structure.

After the sale of the Cray Mansion, the City of Mankato created the Heritage Preservation Commission, an official commission that can designate properties as historic and control what can and cannot be done to their exteriors.[14]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "City of Mankato Historic Context Study" (PDF). Thomas R. Zahn & Associates LLC. 2009. p. 70. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Nord, Mary Ann (2003). The National Register of Historic Places in Minnesota. Minnesota Historical Society. ISBN 0-87351-448-3.
  4. ^ History of Cray Mansion Archived 2008-10-08 at the Wayback Machine, Mankato YWCA, Accessed August 12, 2009.
  5. ^ a b Dan Linehan, Cray buyer, city at odds over rules, Mankato Free Press, February 16, 2008, Accessed August 12, 2009.
  6. ^ Brian Ojanpa, Hubbard House to show off Archived 2013-01-28 at Archive.today, Mankato Free Press, May 27, 2009, Accessed August 12, 2009.
  7. ^ a b History Archived 2010-03-08 at the Wayback Machine, Mankato YWCA, Accessed August 12, 2009.
  8. ^ a b Dan Linehan, Cray still unrented, Mankato Free Press, April 25, 2009, Accessed August 12, 2009.
  9. ^ a b Dan Linehan, Fears raised for future of Cray Mansion, Mankato Free Press, February 11, 2008, Accessed August 12, 2009.
  10. ^ Robb Murray, City to wind up with Cray Mansion, Mankato Free Press, January 11, 2007, Accessed August 12, 2009.
  11. ^ Dan Linehan, Cray mansion deal disintegrates, Mankato Free Press, April 4, 2007, Accessed August 12, 2009.
  12. ^ Dan Linehan, Council pressured to save Cray Mansion, Mankato Free Press, February 12, 2008, Accessed August 12, 2009.
  13. ^ Dan Linehan, Developer purchases Cray Mansion, Mankato Free Press, March 1, 2008, Accessed August 12, 2009.
  14. ^ Dan Linehan, New commission on historic mission, Mankato Free Press, October 14, 2008, Accessed August 12, 2009.