Much of this account of the Dewey House came from Bob Reiss and Don Swenson. Unfortunately, Bob and Don are no longer with us to answer questions. This is their story:
The Dewey House was built around 1898. It is speculated that it was named for Admiral George Dewey, the celebrated victor of the Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines in 1898, during the Spanish-American War.
The fourplex was first located north of Lake Street and east of now Library Lane. It housed many tenants in its time, including the Reiss family, until 1925, when it was severely damaged in the great tornado. The owner, purported to be Superintendent of Schools Herbert Carleton, failed to make repairs, so tenants were forced to move out and it stood without electricity and deteriorating for over 30 years, its only known tenant being Village character Scotty Hudson, who lived on its less-damaged side (W.S. Hudson is indeed listed there in 1934).
In 1956 the Dewey was in the way of the new high school at 33rd and Dakota, and somehow it was not demolished but sold to Max Elkin for $3750. Elkin moved it to two lots on Brownlow. Today it is a fully-restored duplex, with a flat roof replacing the pitch and stucco replacing the faded siding.
There seem to be a lot of holes in this story. The first village directory was published in 1933, and Scotty Hudson is listed at the Dewey House on Kentucky Ave. In later years it is described on 31st and Kentucky. All of the houses in that area were built in 1947.
In 1939 the Dewey is described as at 33rd and Kentucky, which would put it right at the present-day St. Louis Park Library. None of the houses in between are remotely that old; all were built in the 1940s except for one built in 1927.
Neither location is near the present High School, which was built in 1956.
As for Browlow, the street is only two blocks long and the only building that was built in about that time is 3321 Brownlow, which the City dates to 1895. The building is of modest size, as Don Swenson describes, but otherwise doesn’t fit the description above.
The Dewey House remains a mystery….