Nicholson Residence

National Register

Lost features restored:
Lower level pool
Ballroom skylights
Historic plaster moldings

New Elements Added:
Modern kitchen w/in drawer appliances
New pool equipment
High tech electronic controls


260 Summit Avenue was built in 1902 as a wedding gift from James J. Hill, the railroad magnate, to his son Louis and daughter-in-law Maud. The property was being used as a children's hospice when Dick and Nancy Nicholson bought the house with the intention of returning it to a single family home. The Nicholsons were interested in restoring the house but also in modernizing it. For example, missing brass sconces in the dining room were replicated, but the individual pull chains that controlled them were replaced with an electronic system that broadcast fixture control, music, and telephone throughout the house. The main floor-serving kitchen was converted into the family kitchen. The laundry became a 2 1/2 stall interior garage. Bedrooms and baths that had been craved up over the years were
restored. Plaster moldings that had been destroyed were recast on site. The lower level swimming pool, installed with the ballroom in the 1912 addition in honor of a visit from the Queen of Romania, was rebuilt. The pool and deck areas were tiled, the Ionic columns painted in true Greek red, blue, and gold, and motorize pool cover, heater, and dehumidification systems installed. The Saint Paul Heritage Preservation Commission and Saint Paul Chapter of the American Institute of Architects awarded the project the 2004 Award of Recognition, for the "sensitive restoration design of the Louis and Maud Hill House.”