The Astounding Angus
The Blair Flats apartment building designed by Hermann Kretz and William H. Thomas was completed in 1887. The Blair was converted to a residential hotel and renamed the Albion in 1893. An even larger hotel , called The Aberdeen went up the same year. Thomas Lowry, president of the St. Paul Street Railway Company, bought the place in 1911 and renamed it the Angus Hotel. Lowry sold the building in 1918, but the name stuck until the old hotel finally closed down in 1971. the Aberdeen was demolished in 1944. The Blair building has always been a neighborhood focal point. The corner where Nina’s Coffee Shop used to be a fruit and vegetable market in the ’60′s. There was a smoke shop and newsstand on the Western Avenue side of the building. A bar called “The Oak Room” faced Selby Avenue. These days, the lower level is home Congresswoman Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s office, a hair dresser and the independent SubText Bookstore. It used to be Common Good Books, but I guess Garrison Keillor figured he could make more money over on Snelling. I wonder how that’s working out for him? The Blair Flats was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and is a contributing property to St. Paul’s Historic Hill District.