Dale Street Greenhouse

Other key commercial districts in the neighborhood include Dale Street and the Dale-Como-Front intersection, which abuts the North End, Lower Rice Street and several small pockets of commercial property and converted commercial and small industrial properties in the neighborhood.

Como-Dale-Front has a handful of its older commercial buildings remaining. The building occupied by John’s Pizza Café, 616 Como Av., was built as a bar affiliated with the former Schmidt Brewery.

Dale Street is still home to the former Dale Street Greenhouse office and residential building, a converted gas station at 631 N. Dale Street, and other 19th-century storefronts are still present. A number of longtime Dale Street businesses on the street’s east side were lost during a controversial street widening project that took shape during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

When it closed in 2006, the Dale Street Greenhouse was Saint Paul’s oldest greenhouse operating at its original location. Bavarian immigrant Christian Bussjaeger opened the greenhouse in autumn of 1896. His family had lived at 449 Edmund Av. for several years before he opened the greenhouse and built a house beside it. One year after opening, he was selling flowers at the Saint Paul City Market.

Bussjaeger leased out the greenhouse to F.W. Topel in 1908 and moved his family to 599 N. Dale St., where he operated a saloon next door. He later moved the family to University Avenue and pursued other work before returning to the greenhouse business.

Topel, for his part, became a prominent florist with his own large greenhouses on University Avenue and later, East Seventh Street.

Bussjaeger returned to the greenhouse in 1912, changing the name from Christian Bussjaeger’s Greenhouse to Dale Street Greenhouse. The extended Bussjaeger family continued to operate the greenhouse up until after Christian Bussjaeger’s death in November 1927. The greenhouse went through a series of owners until Alfred and Lillian Seeger bought the business in 1936. They extensively renovated the business, adding a used boiler purchased for $50 from Saint Columba Catholic Church. The Seegers owned the greenhouse for 40 years, building a strong business of funerals, weddings and holiday florals. At one point almost all of Saint Paul’s Catholic churches sent clients to the business for funeral, wedding and other arrangements.

Sons Gerry and Richard Seeger bought the greenhouse in 1960, selling it to final owner Barbara Stromer in 1992. Stromer closed the business in early 2006.

The property was purchased by Greater Frogtown Community Development Corporation, which retained the original house but removed the greenhouses and added a large garden.