Daniel Piper House in Medford
Daniel Piper came to Minnesota from New Hampshire with his wife and daughter in early 1877. Although he had been a successful lumberman out east, he decided to try his hand at farming in Minnesota. He purchased a tract of farmland near Medford and began building his New England style farmstead in 1877.
Piper believed the interconnected farm complexes popular back east would also be beneficial in Minnesota. He wanted only experienced Yankee builders to construct his new farmstead, so he hired four master carpenters from New Hampshire to come to Medford and complete the farm complex. Piper managed the entire operation, right down to hand-selecting the lumber that was to be used. It took workers only six months to complete and the Piper family moved into their new home in November 1877.
New England style farmsteads typically consisted of a set of interconnected buildings. Piper’s complex included a house, summer kitchen, wood shed, granary, and the barn at the back. He believed this setup was more efficient than the typical midwestern farm in which the house and farm buildings were all separate from one another.
The main floor of the Piper house consists of a front parlor, sitting room, guest bedroom, pantry, and a large kitchen. The kitchen was state-of-the-art in 1877 with a cistern in the kitchen floor that collected rainwater from the downspouts to be used for washing up and a wooden icebox lined with tin that could be sealed and lowered into the cool cellar through a door in the floor. The entire complex was heated with stoves.
Piper was known in the community as a loyal friend, a kind neighbor, and a man of vigorous intellect who was descended from sturdy Puritan ancestry. He died in 1913. His wife, Livonia, followed three years later.
The Piper house was occupied by various families until January 2017 when the most recent owner died. The farm was listed for sale and sat unoccupied for nearly two years. The barn has since fallen in on itself and the entire complex needs significant updates--but is livable. The property was finally purchased in October 2018. Hopefully, the new owners will do all that they can to bring this unique piece of history back to life.