The Dudley Mansion in Duluth

Most of us wouldn’t consider a 13,000 square foot mansion situated on a six-acre wooded lot with more than 400-feet of Lake Superior shoreline anything less than the very finest. But having a majestic estate like Glensheen for a neighbor is tough! When Harry and Marjorie Dudley built their home, they chose not to compete with their (very familiar) neighbors to

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The New Ulm Company Service Station

Built in 1926, the New Ulm Company Service Station is the best remaining example in a series of whimsical stations designed by George Saffert of the Saffert Construction Company during the 1920s. Each station was custom-designed for its location for independent oil companies. Saffert-designed stations often used strong yet fanciful

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Spencer Brook: Nearly a Ghost Town

Settled in 1854 by Pennsylvania native Benjamin Spencer, Spencer Brook was one of the first communities in Isanti County. During the 1850s, Spencer Brook became a favorite spot for east coast Yankees seeking lumbering opportunities. The nearby Rum River provided the flowing waters needed to float logs downstream to the Twin Cities.

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District 6 School in New Sweden

The District 6 school in New Sweden Township stands in a field surrounded by tall stalks of corn in the summer and drifts of white snow in the winter. This pretty, white clapboard building with a porch and full basement was constructed in 1929. It is the third school to stand on this site—the first was built in the 1860s and the second in 1891.

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The Pine Tree Lumber Company

Pine Tree Lumber Company was established in Little Falls in 1890. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River in central Minnesota, the company was run by Charles Weyerhaeuser and Richard “Drew” Musser. Little Falls was chosen as the location for this new mill because of its proximity to the Mississippi River. The dam created a large boom area where

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Tivoli Gardens in New Ulm

In 1872, Joseph Schmucker took over operation of Friton Brewery, which was the first brewery to operate in New Ulm starting in the 1850s. Operating under a new business name, Schmucker Brewery, Schmucker built Tivoli Gardens in 1885. Located adjacent to the brewery, Tivoli Gardens operated as a bar that served products from the brewery with a dance

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West Riverside School Near Cambridge

Built in 1898, the West Riverside School was originally known as District #38 School. Isanti County once had 67 rural schools similar to this. Aside from teaching children, one of the important roles of rural schools was to teach immigrants the English language and prepare them for the American citizenship exam. Most were also an important community

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Swenson’s General Store in Norseland

Around the turn of the twentieth century, Nicollet County had eight rural crossroads hamlets. While all of the other small towns have removed many of the structures that marked their existence, Norseland has held onto their identity by recognizing the importance of their general store. In 1858—the same year that Minnesota became a state—Irish

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District #28 School in Ramsey

The District #28 School was constructed in Ramsey in 1892 to replace a smaller, wood frame school house. Buff-colored bricks manufactured by the nearby Kelsey Brickyard cover the exterior of the school. Inside, one large classroom dominates the space. It has a pressed metal ceiling and chalkboards covering the walls. All windows and the original

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The Fire Relief Houses of Pine County

After a devastating forest fire obliterated the villages of Finlayson, Hinckley, Miller, Mission Creek, Pokegama, and Sandstone in Pine County on the afternoon of September 1, 1894, the state put forward an unprecedented humanitarian effort to attend to the needs of survivors. Hundreds of people were left homeless and without

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The End of the Line in Currie

In 1899, the Des Moines Valley Railway Company began work on a plan to extend their rail line in western Minnesota an additional 38.63 miles northwest from Bingham Lake to Currie. Nearly 14 miles of track was laid and put into operation that year. The remaining 24.73 miles of rail between Jeffers and Currie was finished the

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Frank E. Little Mansion in Minneapolis

Frank E. Little was a partner in a Minneapolis-based real estate firm. He didn’t leave behind much of a legacy in the city he called home, but this architectural rendering of his mansion near Loring Park proves that he did alright for himself. Little’s home was located at 1414 Harmon Place—about halfway between Spruce and Willow. Built in 1889

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Stone Ruins of Park Terrace in Duluth

Park Terrace was an opulent building of Victorian townhouses located on a steep hill just off of Mesaba Avenue in Duluth. Built in 1890 by the Myers Brothers Investment Company at the cost of $50,000. Park Terrace was one of the first multi-family buildings in West Duluth. Two of the Meyers brothers, Henry and Benjamin, lived at

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Prehistoric Minnesota Woman

As construction workers were excavating a roadway along the eastern shore of Prairie Lake near Pelican Rapids in 1931, they uncovered one of the most exciting prehistoric finds in this region of North America—a human skeleton. The remains were found nine feet below the surface and encased in fine layers of clay which had once been

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Terrace Theatre in Robbinsdale

Located in Robbinsdale, the international-style Terrace Theatre opened on May 23, 1951. At the time, it was one of the most luxurious and modern theaters in the country. The lobby was an ultramodern gem with large windows, metallic fixtures, and a sunken den complete with fireplace. A television lounge and nursery rooms for mothers with

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Sibley Historic Site in Mendota

Over Memorial Day weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the pre-grand opening of the Sibley Historic Site in Mendota with several of my DAR friends. After a brief reception, we were given a private tour of the buildings at the site while reenactors from the fur trade era set up tents and replicas of a birchbark canoe and bateau on the

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The Gates of Stonebridge

In 1907, St. Paul businessman and inventor Oliver Crosby purchased twenty-eight acres of land on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River in St. Paul. There, he built a twenty thousand square foot brick estate that he called Stonebridge. In his book Once There Were Castles, author Larry Millett claims that Stonebridge was "the greatest

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