IV. The Emperor

Summit Avenue Neighborhood, Saint Paul: Summit Avenue is so named because it runs along a high ridge overlooking downtown Saint Paul and the Mississippi River. Its most prominent landmark is the Saint Paul Cathedral, which stands at the end of the street closest to downtown.

Saint Paul Cathedral

After passing the cathedral the road winds past the mansions of Saint Paul’s upper class that were built around 1900. The Sprengel Mansion mentioned in this chapter is not based on any one of these homes, but has features found on a number of them.

The largest home on the street is the James J. Hill House owned by the Minnesota Historical Society. It is open for tours, which provide some insights into the architecture of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s in Saint Paul.

James J. Hill House

The Hill House is gigantic, so I was thinking something a little smaller for the Sprengel Mansion. Maybe something like this:

Summit Avenue Mansion

Or this:

323 Summit Avenue

Generally speaking the more impressive mansions have lower address numbers, between 200 and 500. My wife and I have loved the architecture of the various mansions for years and still try to make it when the neighborhood association offers house tours in the summer. In fact, we were married at 490 Summit, a mansion that has been converted into a reception hall.

490 Summit

The selection of Summit Avenue for the Guildmaster’s residence was intended to highlight that Aleric Sprengel represents the Guild establishment from a time in which magick was far grander and mysterious than the way in which the younger mages study and make use of it. A hundred years ago it was pretty much a given that a rich magician would live in a house that looked like an ancient, brooding castle, whereas one today might inhabit an upscale home of any architectural style that allows for amenities such as a large temple that can be separated from the main living area.

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