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The John H. Stevens House Exterior - Minneapolis, MN

Dear Diary,
Col. John H. Stevens was the first authorized resident on the west bank of the Mississippi River in what would later become the city of Minneapolis. At the time, it was a part of the Fort Snelling military reservation.

Though his commemorative statue identifies him a "Colonel," it wasn't his official rank in the U.S. Army. He did serve, including involvement in the Mexican-American War, and then on to the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota Senate. I've learned the "Colonel" title is merely an unofficial sign of respect.

The home was considered to be the civic and social hub of the city, organizing both Hennepin County and the city of Minneapolis. In fact, it's said this is where the name "Minneapolis" was coined.

The house was built in 1850 and moved from its original location to Minnehaha Falls Park in 1896, utilizing horses and 10,000 school children (what?!) Today it's a museum that showcases early life as the city was established.

Without Stevens, would the city and its surrounding suburbs we call home be what we know today?

In all honesty, I'm not sure.

Everything has to start somewhere. For Minneapolis, that "start" was inside this house.

If I am going to write a blog that documents my evolving relationship with the Twin Cities, with Minnesota, with Midwest as I get to know the region - then the story of its "start" must be included here.

Which I'm told, is because Stevens simply was granted residence by Fort Snelling in exchange for operating a ferry.

In 1985, the home opened as a museum and introduces visitors to Stevens and his family through its displays of artifacts and personal effects.

Outward appearances and first impressions - the home is simple.

Especially compared to the massive grandeur of the James J. Hill House, the structure is much more modest despite its significance.

No plumbing, as evident by the outhouse; no electricity - I imagine life here as Minnesota was establishing itself was challenging at best.

Today, over 168 years after its settling, Minneapolis is a place I am grateful to call my home.

4901 Minnehaha Avenue S

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