Pioneer Press founder’s home and office suffer ignominious headlines


As if the 19th-century founders of once-flush, now-foundering newspapers didn’t have reasons enough to turn in their graves, last week two local landmarks associated with St. Paul Pioneer Press founder Frederick Driscoll found distressing ways into news columns again.

First the Pioneer Building, the newspaper’s home beginning in 1889, once the city’s tallest building and still one of the handsomest around, had alterations made without a permit, including chimney-removal and work on an embarrassing “15th-floor bulge.”

Then Driscoll’s own turretted 1884 home on St. Paul’s signature Summit Avenue (just two doors down from railroad baron James J. Hill’s even larger mansion) suffered the ignominy of being the site of a frantically cancelled Al Franken fundraiser, after staffers belatedly learned their host had served prison time for swindling Minnesotans, using the back-in-fashion Ponzi method.

Both buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.


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