Armagosts thrilled to be living in a Century Home

By Eric Beuning, Correspondent 

The front of the Armagost home as seen from the curb on Lindbergh Drive.
The front of the Armagost home as seen from the curb on Lindbergh Drive.

The home of Tony and Paula Armagost is one of two homes in the area to be awarded a Century Home Plaque by the Heritage Preservation Commission. The home, built in the Dutch Colonial style is located at 302 Lindbergh Dr. NW in Little Falls. It was built in 1911 by Dr. Claude Frederick Holst.

Claude and his brother were local doctors sharing a practice. They built their houses side by side on Lindbergh Drive. Claude married Regina, the director of nursing at St. Gabriel’s Hospital in 1920. At some point the brothers’ wives took a fancy to each other’s houses, so for a period they swapped homes. Claude passed away in 1947.

In 1952, the house was sold to Don Opatz who took on the task of updating the kitchen. The Opatz family didn’t live at the house for very long. In 1959, they sold it to Bob and Arlene Manske. In 1975, Bob Manske started his own tax service. Bob converted the front parlor room into an office with a view through the porch over Lindbergh Drive.

It was through Bob’s tax service that Tony first came to the house in 1998. Tony had always been impressed with the home with the classic, functional feel characteristic of Dutch colonial architecture.

The front porch of the Armagost home with original furnishings.
The front porch of the Armagost home with original furnishings.

At the time Tony and Paula were living on the southwest side of Little Falls. They had purchased Paula’s grandmother’s house and set to work updating it.

“We really cut our teeth learning about all kinds of home renovations while we were living there,” said Paula.

In 2002, they decided to look for a bigger house. The Manske house wasn’t even officially on the market when Tony got a phone call from their realtor.

“We jumped at the chance to make an offer on the house.” said Tony. “Luckily, our realtor was able to find someone who was interested in buying our house at the same time.”

“We put our offer in six hours later,” Paula said.

The Manskes were very gracious about allowing the Armagosts access to tour the house and ask questions.

“I remember Arlene was apologetic about the kitchen. She asked me if we had a dishwasher,” said Paula. “I told her, ‘You’re looking at her.’”

When the Armagost family moved into the house it was in good condition and needed only a little work. “The first night we came in we were on our hands and knees pulling staples, removing the shag carpet to expose the hardwood floors,” said Paula.

Other than removing the carpet, the Armagosts also repainted interior and exterior of the home. “We’ve updated a lot but we’ve also tried to keep original to the character of the house,” Tony said.

When the Manskes moved out they put much of their furniture in an auction. In the process the Armagosts negotiated for the front porch set and a couple of dressers. The rest went to auction.

“As I understand it, the person who bought the dining set was an elderly gentleman who had been delivered by Dr. Holst way back in the day,” said Tony.

Tony and Paula set to furnishing the rest of the house from pieces they already owned. Family and friends also helped along the way.

“It’s fun when you buy an older house and people help you find furniture you’ll like,” said Paula. “Most of the furniture in the house is a family piece in one way or another.”

In recent years the Armagosts have added their own little touches. They converted a room in the basement into a music room for their son Carey, who is an avid musician and member of the band Power Plant.

“We also like to entertain so we updated the back patio,” said Tony. The Armagosts paved the patio space, added a privacy fence and moved some landscaping bushes to give them their own backyard oasis.

It is a testament to the classic charm of the home that over a century after it was built, the house still has its original character, blended with the conveniences of modern life.