Old Homes Slipping Into History

A few years ago, the oldest house on the market in Minnesota was nearly demolished. This house has been on the National Historical Registry since 1979. Unfortunately, there are many homes in the same boat as this one and they are not seeing the hope that this one house has seen.

Built in 1852 in Anoka, the house owned by the first senator of Minnesota fell into disarray. The yard was cluttered with junk, the wiring had been torn away, dust coated every room, vandalism was everywhere, and the house had been gutted. Even the bathtub was stolen.

Around the time the house was listed on the Historical Registry, it was also listed as one of the most endangered properties. This is no longer the case after a three year home remodeling and renovation project that cost nearly $100,000. Experts call this home a miracle due to the lack of preservation programs that are available.

Some old homes are not so lucky, though.

Last year, the 118-year-old Dewey Radke House in Little Falls was demolished after the City Council voted to have it done. This was the result despite the efforts of citizens to save the house, which spanned a total of three years. Nonetheless, the house was owned by the city and used for meetings, so it was their decision to make. After it was demolished, the Weyerhaeuser Museum sold commemorative mugs. Many residents were brokenhearted over the demolition.

While there are some old homes that are comfortably marketable and only in need of slight remodeling.

St. Paul is home to the historic Davern House, which was built in 1862 and sold for a whopping price tag of $1.25 million in June 2012. This is an example of a comfortably marketable home. Unfortunately, there are rural communities that are home to historic homes that are sitting on very shaky footing that, if the funding was available, could be completely renovated to become quality homes once again. Instead, they are sitting alone and uncared for, their foundations becoming as creaky as their floors.

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