Minnesota: Other Historic Sites Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Reaching farther north than any other state except Alaska, Minnesota was settled more slowly than other states in the center of the United States, which were more accessible to heavily populated eastern states.

Fitzgerald House

Location: St. Paul, Ramsey County

Relevant issues: Literary history

Statement of significance: F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940), spokesman for the Jazz Age, wrote several stories and his first published novel, This Side of Paradise (1920), in this Victorian rowhouse.

Hill House

Location: St. Paul, Ramsey County

Relevant issues: Business and industry

Statement of significance: From 1891 until his death, this was the residence of James J. Hill (1838-1916), one of the great railroad builders in the American West and one of the leading financiers of the nineteenth century. Known as the “Empire Builder,” Hill acquired a number of railroads throughout the Northwest and merged several into the Great Northern Railway Company (1890). His efforts did much to bring the region from St. Paul to the Pacific into the mainstream of American commerce.

Kathio Site

Location: Vineland and vicinity, Mille Lacs County

Relevant issues: American Indian history

Statement of significance: Occupied from Archaic to historic times (3000 b.c.e.-1750 c.e.), this was the ancestral homeland of the Dakota Sioux at the beginning of the historic period. In 1679, French explorer Sieur Duluth noted the existence of forty Sioux villages in the vicinity. In the mid-eighteenth century, the Chippewa, pressured by the westward expansion of European settlers, drove the Sioux from this area to the west and south, where the Sioux later figured prominently in the history of the Plains and Rocky Mountain states.

Kelley Homestead

Location: Elk River, Sherburne County

Relevant issues: Science and technology, social reform

Web site: www.mnhs.org/sites/ohkf.html

Statement of significance: From 1850 to 1870, this was the home of Oliver H. Kelley (1826-1913), founder of the National Grange of the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry (1867). Kelley, an avowed “book farmer” who advocated experimentation, advanced methods, and increased communications among farmers, founded his organization after seeing firsthand the wretched conditions in the post-Civil War South. The house served as Grange headquarters from 1868 to 1870.

Kellogg House

Location: St. Paul, Ramsey County

Relevant issues: Political history

Statement of significance: From 1889 until his death, this was the permanent residence of Frank B. Kellogg (1856-1937), lawyer, U.S. senator, and diplomat. As secretary of state (1925-1929), he negotiated the Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928), for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize, and shifted foreign policy away from interventionism.

Lewis Boyhood Home

Location: Sauk Centre, Stearns County

Relevant issues: Literary history

Statement of significance: From 1885 to 1902, this was the home of Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951), the first American author to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature (1930). His novel Main Street (1920) was partly based on his impressions of Sauk Centre.

Mayo Clinic Buildings

Location: Rochester, Olmsted County

Relevant issues: Health and medicine

Statement of significance: The Mayo Clinic Building (1914) was the first building to house both research and diagnosis under one roof, independent of any hospital and dedicated to the private, group practice of medicine; the Plummer Building (1928) represents continuing growth of the concepts first embodied in the earlier building. The form of practice developed by Drs. William J. and Charles H. Mayo has been copied throughout the world and exists today as one of the most common systems of practice in the world.

Pillsbury “A” Mill

Location: Minneapolis, Hennepin County

Relevant issues: Business and industry

Statement of significance: Of the giant flour mills that made Minneapolis the milling capital of the nation between 1880 and 1930, Pillsbury “A” Mill is the only one standing. The largest, most advanced mill in the world at its completion in 1881, the six-story “A” Mill was the standard by which all other mills of its time were measured.

Rölvaag House

Location: Northfield, Rice County

Relevant issues: Literary history

Statement of significance: From 1912 until his death, this was the residence of O. E. Rölvaag (1876-1931), Norwegian immigrant and the first American novelist to give a true accounting of the psychological cost of pioneering on the farmer’s frontier. His famous trilogy–Giants in the Earth (1927), Peder Victorious (1928), and Their Father’s God (1931)–stands in American literature as the most mature and penetrating assessment of the adjustments immigrant pioneers had to make in order to find peace and prosperity in Middle America.

Soudan Iron Mine

Location: Tower, St. Louis County

Relevant issues: Business and industry

Statement of significance: The opening in 1884 of Soudan Mine, the oldest and deepest in the state, marked the beginning of the exploitation of one of the richest iron ore deposits in the world and the emergence of Minnesota as the leading iron ore producing state in America. The mine remained active until 1962; a number of its original buildings survive.

Veblen Farmstead

Location: Nerstrand, Rice County

Relevant issues: Business and industry, social reform

Statement of significance: Thorstein B. Veblen (1857-1929), economist, social scientist, and critic of American culture, lived on this farm as a youth and returned often as an adult. The product of an austere agrarian upbringing, Veblen has often been called one of America’s most creative and original thinkers.

Volstead House

Location: Granite Falls, Yellow Medicine County

Relevant issues: Political history, social reform

Statement of significance: From 1894 to 1930, this was the home of Andrew J. Volstead (1860-1947), the man who “personified prohibition.” Volstead served in the House of Representatives (1903-1923), where he drafted the National Prohibition Enforcement Act (1919), which became known as the Volstead Act.

Washburn “A” Mill Complex

Location: Minneapolis, Hennepin County

Relevant issues: Business and industry

Statement of significance: This complex outstandingly represents the growth and development of General Mills, Inc., and the radical transformations of the flour milling industry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that made it a modern mass-production industry. The Washburn “A” Mill (1874) is the only structure that remains from the original Minneapolis milling complex established by Cadwallader C. Washburn.

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