On Dayton Avenue Then and Now

The big old Greek Revival at the corner of Avon and Dayton was built for the widow Susan Welch and her family in 1894. Originally from Henderson, Minnesota, She married an Irishman named Thomas Welch in 1857. An ambitious man, Welch established the Sibley County Bank and organized the Pacific Elevator Company, which did business on railroad from Minneapolis to Watertown. Welch also founded the Bank of Gaylord and was twice elected state senator. In addition he was president of the Henderson Board of Education for at least 25 year. Welch moved his family to a winter residence after he took ill in 1893. Unfortunately he died before the ground was broken. After his estate was sorted out, Mrs Welch stepped into his role as President of the Sibley County Bank and completed the home.

Designed by St. Paul architect, Clarence Johnston, the 5,000-square-foot, three-story house was erected by P.H. Donovan & Son at a cost of $10,000. Johnston is better known for his work on the University of Minnesota campus where he designed over thirty buildings including, Folwell Hall, Northrop Auditorium and Williams Arena. He also designed the Glensheen mansion for the Congdon family in Duluth. After Susan Welch passed away in 1902, her son Ernest took over the bank.