The Triangle House of St. Paul, Minnesota – Saint Paul, Minnesota - Atlas Obscura

The Triangle House of St. Paul, Minnesota

Triangular House built on a leafy residential street in St. Paul. 


In beautiful St. Paul, Minnesota, a minor feud broke out between some property owners along E. 3rd St., at the corner of E. 3rd St. and Gotzian St. Gotzian does not cross 3rd St. at a right angle, creating a triangular lot on the southeast corner of the intersection. The lot sat open for many years, until the owner was ready to build.

Because of local zoning ordinances regarding setback rules (i.e., how far back from the street a structure may be erected), the property owner could not build a normal house with a square or rectangular foundation without obtaining a variance to the code by seeking the permission of his neighbors.

The neighbors, who had grown accustomed to seeing the empty lot on the corner, objected to the new construction and opposed the variance request. The owner of the triangular lot tried to work things out for a time, but could not get the neighbors to support the variance. Eventually, the owner chose to build a structure designed to fall within the appropriate setbacks. Because the lot was triangular, so was the house.

The neighbors were not pleased with the owner’s decision to build such a non-traditional structure, and they opposed construction. Since everything was being done in accordance with local building codes, however, construction continued and was finished.

While many cities have structures on triangular lots, they largely originated as commercial properties, and often had entries where the apex of the triangle would be. The layout of the Triangle House of St. Paul, Minnesota is such that the main entrance is on the 3rd. St. side, matching the other houses on the block. Facing the front of the house, it appears to be a house like any other in the neighborhood. Only when viewing the corner and side along Gotzian St. does the viewer notice the unique architecture.

Know Before You Go

The house is privately owned and located at the corner of E. 3rd St. and Gotzian St. in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Community Contributors

June 24, 2009

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