On the banks of the Mississippi River, one St. Paul home holds a historic legacy of architecture, academics, and politics: Eastcliff. From its multiple bedrooms to the library, the carriage house to the catering kitchen, and the tennis court to the saltwater pool, each element of the 10,000-square-foot estate has a story to tell.
That’s why Karen Fults Kaler, past Eastcliff homeowner and wife of former University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler (2011-2019), invites us inside the illustrious home in her book “Eastcliff: History of a Home.” Built and designed by architect C.H. Johnston Sr. for lumber magnate Edward Brooks in 1922, the Colonial Revival-style mansion flaunts a white facade and symmetrical, rectangular-shape exterior. Meanwhile, a spacious foyer full of photographs, a long hallway originally used for shooting practice, and a central fireplace add to the grand design inside. Details from within the upscale walls reveal family drama, under-the-table business deals, and secret splendor—all of which depict an untold account of Minnesota’s history.
That history extends beyond home design. In fact, eight University of Minnesota Presidents have lived in Eastcliff—the school’s official residence of the president—since 1961, and Helen Keller, the Dalai Lama, and Vice President Hubert Humphrey are just a few prominent figures who have visited the mansion, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, over the last 100 years. Pick up a copy, and step inside Eastcliff to experience both the design and decades of history that make the home memorable.