How Architecture Has Shaped the State

Three Thousand Years of Building in Minnesota

Expert Essay: Architectural historian Larry Millett, author of Lost Twin Cities and numerous other books, offers a colorful tour of notable Minnesota buildings and building styles, from American Indian burial mounds to Beaux Arts monuments and suburban big boxes.

Thorstein Veblen home interior (furnished), Nerstrand, Minnesota, ca. 2011.

Veblen home interior

Thorstein Veblen home interior (furnished), Nerstrand, Minnesota, ca. 2011.

Thorstein Veblen home interior, ca. 2010. Nerstrand, Minn.

Veblen home interior

Thorstein Veblen home interior, ca. 2010. Nerstrand, Minn.

Thorstein Veblen Farmstead

The Thorstein Veblen Farmstead is a historic landmark in Nerstrand, Minnesota. From 1866 until 1888, it was the primary home of Thorstein Veblen (1857–1929), a son of Norwegian immigrants who would become a world-renowned economist and social scientist. His most famous work, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), introduced the term “conspicuous consumption.” The ten-acre farmstead was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, and designated a National Historical Landmark in 1981.

High bridge over the Kettle River near Sandstone, before September 1, 1894, and after the trees in the area were cut down by a logging company, which left highly flammable debris (slash) to serve as fire fuel. Photograph Collection, Sandstone History and Art Center, Sandstone.

Bridge over the Kettle River

High bridge over the Kettle River near Sandstone, before September 1, 1894, and after the trees in the area were cut down by a logging company, which left highly flammable debris (slash) to serve as fire fuel. Photograph Collection, Sandstone History and Art Center, Sandstone.

Photograph of the Ticknor House taken in 1972. Interior renovations in 1938 had turned the house into three separate apartments, and divided up and sold much of the Ticknor property that formerly took up the whole block. No further extensive renovations were made until after the house was sold out of the Ticknor family in 1977. Photographer unknown. Anoka County Historical Society, object ID# 3000.3.66.

Ticknor House

Photograph of the Ticknor House taken in 1972. Interior renovations in 1938 had turned the house into three separate apartments, and divided up and sold much of the Ticknor property that formerly took up the whole block. No further extensive renovations were made until after the house was sold out of the Ticknor family in 1977. Photographer unknown. Anoka County Historical Society, object ID# 3000.3.66.

Topographical plat map of the Ticknor lot, listed as the residence of Mr. J.H. Niles (John Niles). The map is not dated, but was definitely made after the 1901 renovations of the home, and was most likely done in the 1906-1913 period, when John Niles was the owner. Created by J. S. Hill, engineer. Anoka County Historical Society, object ID# 3000.3.66.

Plat map of the Ticknor lot

Topographical plat map of the Ticknor lot, listed as the residence of Mr. J.H. Niles (John Niles). The map is not dated, but was definitely made after the 1901 renovations of the home, and was most likely done in the 1906-1913 period, when John Niles was the owner. Created by J. S. Hill, engineer. Anoka County Historical Society, object ID# 3000.3.66.

This photograph shows the house as it was originally built, with the front porch seen here facing west. Photograph by Fowler View Company, ca. 1898. Anoka County Historical Society, object ID# 3000.1.5.

Heman L. Ticknor House

This photograph shows the house as it was originally built, with the front porch seen here facing west. Photograph by Fowler View Company, ca. 1898. Anoka County Historical Society, object ID# 3000.1.5.

 The Ticknor House, which has been the Ticknor Hill Bed & Breakfast since 1996. This front façade has remained largely unchanged since the 1901 renovations to the home by the Ticknor family. Photographer and date unknown, but post-1996. Anoka County Historical Society, object ID# 3000.5.15.

Ticknor Hill Bed & Breakfast

The Ticknor House, which has been the Ticknor Hill Bed & Breakfast since 1996. This front façade has remained largely unchanged since the 1901 renovations to the home by the Ticknor family. Photographer and date unknown, but post-1996. Anoka County Historical Society, object ID# 3000.5.15.

Heman L. Ticknor House

A Gothic Revival-style house built in 1867 at 1625 Third Avenue in Anoka served as a residence for four generations of the Heman Ticknor family. In 1996, the home began to operate as a bed and breakfast.

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