HighwayHighlights.com blogger, Seth Hardmeyer, writes about roadside oddities and attractions found in his home state of Minnesota. Updated weekly, posts include stories about roadside oddities, unique features and places, geographical landmarks, architecture and other Minnesota musings. In his December 29 post, Seth names The Top 50 Coolest Houses in Minnesota, which features the Historic Hutchinson House B&B as #20 Coolest in MN.
It’s 1892. Reportedly, the “American frontier” no longer exists, the so-called Gilded Age is waning, and Queen Victoria’s reign is near its end. The robber barons – American capitalism personified – are asserting power and prestige throughout the U.S. as the Morgans, Rockefellers, and Carnegie’s accumulate wealth and capital. How better to show off their wealth but to build a home with all the trappings – high ceilings, running water, quaint parlors, and even electricity.
There on the edge of the Big Woods in Minnesota, the town of Faribault has already tapped into the abundance of lumber and farmland that keeps its mills turning out a seemingly endless stream of lumber and flour. As in the East, the power and wealth of Faribault has settled with a relatively few influential business men – the town’s “Captains of Industry” as dubbed later by the Faribault Journal in 1903. One man in particular, John Hutchinson, Jr., a Civil War veteran and partner in both the Faribault Furniture Company and the Faribault Roller Mills, has the “strong business sense and untiring industry” to leave his father’s farm near Dundas, MN. Like his peers throughout the U.S., his financial success and acumen provide the means to have a grand Queen Anne Victorian home built for his growing family on the corner of 2nd and Maple, a mere three blocks west of bustling downtown Faribault.
And what a home! Lovely restored and converted into a bed and breakfast by its current owners, Tami & Doug Schluter, the house is situated on a high lot among many of Faribault’s oldest and most prestigious homes, the three-story octagonal turret is impossible to miss as guests approach. The day’s news or perhaps a little gossip is exchanged between friends and neighbors on the huge wrap-around front porch. Or, in the parlor and living room, with the wood-burning fireplace and ornate trim work, visitors enjoy the Victorian furnishings and displays. Are those the “Captains” in the spacious dining room sipping brandy and debating politics?
Join those who have come before to enjoy this beautiful home and gracious hosts . . . the past and present wrapped together in an encounter worth experiencing!