Project:Minnesota Pioneer House Project

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This project is part of the Minnesota Sesquicentennial Celebrations.
While not nearly as sexy as as their Victorian cousins, these houses built by early Minnesota settlers from the days when Minnesota was a territory and a young state are as historical if not even more so. These were houses built while most of Minnesota was still wilderness and finding skilled labor was difficult if not impossible, where sometimes if you wanted a shelter you had to build it yourself.

Help find and document the remaining pioneer houses built from before the end of the Civil War (1865). Many are known to local historians but many more are undocumented. To make matters worse city or county records often document these houses as being built when building records started begin kept, usually around the 1880s or 1890s.

Many left from that period are Greek Revival, the first true architectural style to achieve popularity in Minnesota. General characteristics of Greek Revival Style include corners defined by pilaster strips, which are corner boards in the shape of half-columns (often of the Greek Doric pattern); heavy friezeboards, trim boards under the eaves at the cornice level; full triangular pedimented gables similar to Greek temple triangles, principal entries with sidelights and transoms; and six-over-six pane double-hung windows with thin muntin divisions. Where a porch is present, the posts supporting the porch roofs are often in the form of classical columns. [1]


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