The Oliver Crosby House Then and Now
Crosby was the founder, president and chief engineer of American Hoist and Derrick Company. AmHoist made a name for itself manufacturing unique products for lifting and construction tasks. Oliver Crosby was also the inventor or co-inventor of 36 patents issued between 1887 and 1925. Many of these were for hoisting devices and cable enhancements. Among his inventions are the first traveling cranes mounted on railcar type wheels, a flatcar-mounted ditcher crane, a boom derrick for the sugar cane industry, and the first crawler cranes. His best known invention is the wire rope clamp, a device to loop wire cable without losing its strength. It was marketed as the “Crosby Clip” and is still being sold today. used a portion of the proceeds of the invention to fund the Crosby Laboratory at the University of Maine in 1922. Crosby is often remembered as leader in the St. Paul business and civic community. He focused much of his attention and efforts on city planning and beautification. Although he never ran for office, his opinion and advice and monies were often sought in matters of municipal and civic development.Crosby’s wife Elizabeth was a leader in women’s organizations, especially at St.Clement’s Episcopal Church. Mrs.Crosby was president of the Women’s Guild and the gardens at 804 Lincoln were often the site of fund raising and social events. Oliver Crosby was inducted into in the Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame in 2005.
The Classical Revival “Oliver Crosby House” at 804 Lincoln Avenue was built in 1890. The two story, 5804 square foot, seven bedroom, four and one half bathroom stone house, with a detached garage was designed by Clarence H. Johnston. Oliver Crosby lived here from 1901 to 1915. The following year, Oliver T. Crosby and Elizabeth Crosby moved to the former Stonebridge mansion and estate that was located on Mississippi River Boulevard. Stonebridge, also designed by Clarence H. Johnston was torn down in the early 1950s. 804 Lincoln remains a private home. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the historic Hill District.