Another deal for Walz to strike? His Mankato house is for sale

Walz in Luverne
Gov.-elect Tim Walz spoke at a "One Minnesota" meeting in Luverne on Nov. 29, 2018. Mark Steil | MPR News

A Mankato house occupied for two decades by Minnesota’s governor is on the market as first-term DFLer Tim Walz and family make full-time use of the historic St. Paul brick mansion only a couple of miles from the state Capitol.

Walz is asking $315,000 for the house in Mankato, an 87-mile commute from his new workplace. The home is the only one that Walz, a Nebraska native, has owned in the state.

He and wife, Gwen, bought it in 1997 for $145,000, according to property records. Both held down teaching jobs prior to his career in politics, which includes a dozen years as a congressman from southern Minnesota.

The 93-year-old Cape Cod style home has four bedrooms, hardwood floors, a stone fireplace, white-trimmed kitchen and an indoor porch with views of the wooded ravine behind the property. A listing advertises an “attached rental apartment” with two additional bedrooms and a separate entrance.

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Pictures associated with the listing show it is mostly emptied out.

After his inauguration in January, Walz and his family moved into the official Summit Avenue residence in St. Paul, although his daughter is still working toward graduation in Mankato.

The governor’s son attends a school in St. Paul. In a statement to MPR News, Walz acknowledged the transition is difficult. “Besides our cat, Afton -- who’s made himself right at home and is busy exploring the new house -- we’re feeling a little nostalgic about leaving our Mankato home of 23 years,” Walz said.

“While we’ll miss the first house we bought as two public school teachers starting a family," he added, "we’re grateful and excited about this next chapter of our lives. We’re having fun getting to know our new neighborhood in St. Paul. The Uptowner Cafe and Grand Ole Creamery have quickly become family favorites.”

A strong Walz connection to greater Minnesota served him well on the campaign trail, as he would point out. Take this comment during an October debate with Republican nominee Jeff Johnson about who had a stronger feel for rural communities.

“First of all, I don’t travel to greater Minnesota. I wake up in greater Minnesota,” Walz said in the Willmar debate. He went on to try to downplay geographic divides, which would run counter to his “One Minnesota” theme. “This idea that there’s a difference there and we try and wedge and someone doesn’t understand what’s happening,” he added.

“Our values are the same but the issues we face may be different whether it’s housing or child care may manifest itself differently.” Walz's predecessor, Mark Dayton, also made the stately governor’s mansion his official home during his eight years in office and unloaded an apartment he had in Minneapolis.

Govs. Tim Pawlenty and Jesse Ventura kept separate residences and stayed behind the Summit Avenue gates on a part-time basis. Walz is the first governor to hail from outside the Twin Cities since Iron Ranger Rudy Perpich left office in 1991 after the third of his nonconsecutive terms.