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Exeter Real Estate records

Identifier: N333

Scope and Contents

This collection includes a wide range of materials relating to commercial real estate properties acquired and/or developed by Exeter Real Estate from 1991 through 2021. It also includes many notable properties that James Armer Stolpestad engaged in as a lawyer, advisor, developer, and/or owner from 1971 to 1991. The collection features five landmark properties in St. Paul in which the members of the Stolpestad family worked on.


  • Creation: 1971-2021

Conditions Governing Access

Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Exeter Real Estate was founded in 1991 by James Armer Stolpestad serving as a principal until 2021.

James Armer Stolpestad was born in 1942 at the old St. John’s Hospital in the Dayton’s Bluff area of St. Paul, MN, raised near Phalen Park. He graduated from the University of Minnesota High School in Minneapolis in 1960. He went on to graduate from the University’s College of Liberal Arts in 1964 with honors in history and the University’s Law School in 1967. His first job after law school was with the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development in Atlanta, GA, from 1967 to 1969. He worked in the Minnesota State Government from 1969 to 197. His first position was as the Enforcement Director for the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and then as Special Assistant Attorney General. In the fall of 1971, he and another member of the Attorney General’s staff resigned from state government to start a private law practice in downtown St. Paul known as Stolpestad Brown & Smith (or “SBS”). After growing to 22 lawyers by 1985, SBS merged with the old-line Doherty Rumble & Butler (or “DRB”) law firm based in St. Paul. In 1989, Jim resigned from DRB to start a second career in commercial real estate development and management under the name of Exeter Realty Company, which began operations in 1991.

Merrie Wayne Lundbohm Stolpestad was born in 1944 in Brainerd, MN, grew up in suburban Falcon Heights, MN, and graduated from Alexander Ramsey High School in Roseville, MN, in 1966. She attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, for two years and then transferred to the University of Minnesota where she graduated from the College of Education in 1966. Merrie’s first job after college was a junior high American Studies teaching position in Arden Hills, MN. After moving to Atlanta with Jim, she transitioned to retail sales and modeling. Upon her return to St. Paul, she had positions in retail sales, residential real estate sales, and multifamily property management before becoming part of Exeter management in the 1990s.

James and Merrie met in September of 1964 at a social event at the University and married in June of 1966. Their first son was born in 1967 and their second son in 1971.


15 boxes

Language of Materials



This collection includes a wide range of materials relating to some of the commercial real estate properties acquired and/or developed by Exeter Real Estate in the Twin Cities over the 30 years from 1991 through 2021. This collection also features the James and Merrie Stoplestad series.

Exeter Real Estate records
Pearl McClintock
September 15, 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Northwest Architectural Archives Collecting Area