Julian. H. Sleeper (1854-1948) was a successful St. Paul entrepreneur, real estate speculator, and theatrical promoter. After owning a profitable tobacconist's shop, he purchased and managed the Hotel Sherman, across the street from the downtown railway station. By 1884, Sleeper was doing well enough that he hired architect Havelock E. Hand and builder Gustav Dressel to create his dream home at 574 Holly. It was enlarged and remodeled during the 1893 depression, employing several laborers and artisans who otherwise would have had no income. Having bought the existing boarding-house complex at 673-679 Lincoln, Sleeper moved his house in 1911 to 66 South St. Albans, connecting the three buildings with underground tunnels. In 1993, Dr. Seth C. Hawkins purchased the Julian H. Sleeper House to relocate his museum collection of Gilded Age (1865-1899) decorative arts, formerly the Gowie-Normand House Museum in New Haven CT.
The primary collection at the JHSH interprets life in the 1880s, showing distinctive furniture and decorative arts in nine exhibition rooms, with Eastlake furniture, oriental rugs, and Bradbury and Bradbury wallpaper.
The President James A. Garfield collection is the most extensive and specialized assemblage of artifacts interpreting the accomplishments of our 20th president. There are many items that are one of a kind or are extremely rare.
The special exhibition on the history and culture of Slovenia is the only truly comprehensive exhibition of one of central Europe's most important and fascinating nations.
Schedule a tour by appointment.