According to The Sanborn Insurance Atlas, the Chauncey and Martha Griggs' 1883 brownstone mansion has 'bearing walls", that is, the weight of the roof, floors and furnishings rested on solid walls rather than enclosed in an interior skeletal construction of studs and joists. The house is a Romanesque composition of heavy rusticated Lake Superior blocks, and round arched windows with a massive corner tower.
Griggs was the founder of Griggs, Cooper and Company, a wholesale grocery firm. He left St. Paul in 1887 for lumber and transportation interests in the Pacific Northwest. The St. Paul School of Art, at one point, turned the front gable into a skylight.