The impressive house on the southwest corner of Lexington and Laurel Avenues (127 N Lexington) was built for Italian stonecutter Anthony Ambrosini in 1886. (Took out building permit April 30, 1886) He must have brought his bride, Augusta Strehlin, to the home, since city records indicate they were married on October 19, 1886. Today the house has been subdivided into five dwelling units.
Ambrosini was from a family of Italian stonecutters. In 1880 Ambrose and two brothers, all stonecutters, were living in Chicago with two Ariola brothers, also stonecutters. It appears that Anthony emigrated from Cercino, Italy, not far from Cararra, the archetypal marble quarrying location since Roman times. By 1883, Anthony was in St Paul, living at 1050 W 7th Street, and working as a stonecutter..
In 1885 Ambrosini had set up as an independent stone contractor with partner John Peterson. Their stone yard was located on Oak Street near Walnut, close to the Mississippi River in downtown St Paul, a typical location for a stone yard, facilitating delivery by boat.
By 1887, the partnership had apparently dissolved and Ambrosini was working for the Lauer Brothers, a major stone contractor operated by two Alsatian brothers. The Lauer Brothers were one of the contractors on the construction of the State Capitol building. A significant structure they financed and built are the “Lauer Flats” at 226 Western Avenue. And by then the house on Lexington Avenue had been sold.
By 1890, Ambrosini was in business for himself again, carving and selling headstones and monuments conveniently located across from Oakland Cemetery at 941 Jackson Street. Within three years, Ambrosini had made another move, and was conducting his stonecutting business in marble and granite at the newly opened Forest (now Forest Lawn) Cemetery on Edgerton Street, where he also was employed as superintendent.
Forest Cemetery was the first in St Paul to offer cremation as an option, and describes itself as the “11th oldest cemetery in the nation to offer cremation.” The idea of cremating the remains of the deceased was so novel that a number of early cremations were written about in the local newspapers. Superintendent Ambrosini himself was pictured in the March 26, 1903 Saint Paul Globe scattering the remains of Mrs. Dike about the grounds of the cemetery (in this case identified as “Forest Hills”). Eventually, Anthony’s oldest son John took over as superintendent at the cemetery.
Augusta died March 20, 1917. It appears Anthony died in Glendale, California in the 1930’s.