Anoka County National Register of Historic Places
This tour will show you each location on the National Register of Historic Places in Anoka County, Minnesota.
The Banfill–Locke House in Fridley, Minnesota stands on the east bank of the Mississippi River. The property has been used as many things since its original construction in the 1840s, including a tavern, a dairy farm, a private home, and an art gallery. Currently the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts uses the facility in support of established and developing artists by hosting speakers, classes, and residents in addition to gallery space. As of 2017, both the interior and exterior of the home remain essentially unaltered. The interior consists of a large communal room on the first floor that contains an entryway, dining room, living room, kitchen, and service room. Seven inter-connected rooms make up the second floor. The entire structure lacks any form of modern central heating. Instead, stoves feeding into three chimneys provide warmth.
The Carlos Avery Game Farm was dedicated in 1938 and named after Carlos Avery, who served as Minnesota’s first conservation commissioner. From land originally used to harvest “wire grass” a game refuge developed in 1933. The Works Progress Administration or (WPA) oversaw the construction of five buildings over the next several years. On October 16, 1938, the 9,000 acres was officially dedicated and given to the state of Minnesota. From the beginning, the site contained areas with different purposes: the game farm, wildlife sanctuary, nursery, and a public hunting ground. Several other structures and buildings were added following the initial construction phase, for a total of 11 buildings. 10 of them contributing to the site’s historic status. Additional land was added over the years, to total approximately 23,000 acres by 1991. The Game Farm was officially added to the National Register on August 9, 1991. Today the site is owned and used by the Minnesota DNR.
The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church was originally built in 1872 as a simple, rectangular hall made of local pine. Over the years, the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church gained several additions, the most recent in 1947. Although the congregation now generally meets in another space, this building is still preserved in its original state, and used for special services throughout the year.
The Riverside Hotel is now known as the Rum River Inn, this building is the only surviving commercial building dating to the settlement of lumber boomtown St. Francis, Minnesota. It was built around 1860 when the lumber and milling industry enjoyed great power. Overlooking the Rum River, the two story, rectangular structure has clapboard siding with a projecting gable section in the front facade, which makes an “L” shape. The addition of a porch and many necessary renovations have transformed the property into a bar and residence, keeping the historic nature of the building in motion.
The Leathers family played important roles in the development of St. Francis, Minnesota. This house, built by Henry G. Leathers, was started in 1883, then moved and completed in 1890. This stylish home located near the Rum River remains a significant example of Victorian architecture in Anoka County. It served as a home for the Leathers family who, for generations, contributed to the small, rural river town of St. Francis in countless ways. The rear of the house was the first section constructed in around 1883 and consists of “a two-story rectangular building with an attached one-story addition.”
The Sparre barn is located near Nowthen Boulevard in Nowthen, Minnesota, just off of Bass Lake. The Sparre barn’s unique circular shape held many advantages to the advancement of agriculture during WWI. The benefits of the post and beam construction of a round barn include greater volume to surface ratio which means less construction material to enclose the same volume, though it often took more time to construct.
The District Number 28 School and Ramsey Town Hall was originally built in 1892. The Ramsey School House served School District Number 28 until the mid-20th century, when the schools in Anoka County were consolidated. The building was then repurposed as the Ramsey Town Hall, before lying unused for many years. Discussions of what to do with the building for the long term are still ongoing. Architecturally, the public building is one of the few remaining buildings that utilized bricks from the former Kelsey Brickyard and serves as an excellent example of both craftsmanship and artistry of the period.
The Porter Kelsey House in Andover, Minnesota was constructed of locally-produced brick. It is one of few structures built with Kelsey brick that still stands in Anoka County today. The house remains significant due to its association with a historically important Anoka County brick making industry and well-preserved example of Italian design features applied to a rural 19th century residence. It received a place on the National Register of Historic places on December 26, 1979.
The Jackson Hotel was built in the 1870s at in Anoka, Minnesota. The Jackson Hotel was destroyed in 1884 by fire and was quickly rebuilt and continued to function as a hotel until 1975. The Jackson Hotel was a center of local commerce and social gatherings for more than ninety years. The Jackson Hotel attracted weekend tourists to Anoka as well as civic and business groups from the greater Twin City metro area, who used it as a banquet facility and small convention center. The Jackson Hotel was sold in 1975 to a private developer. Several rooms were converted into apartments for year-around residents.
The Anoka County Historical Society maintains a 3,000 square foot exhibit gallery in the heart of downtown Anoka, surrounded by historic buildings and river ways. It strives to represent the legacy story of the 21 communities that constitute Anoka County through artifacts, written accounts, photographs, and oral histories. ACHS conducts educational programming, tours, and special events throughout the year that focus on keeping legacy stories alive for the present generation. The organization is an advocate for individuals to privately preserve their own family histories, businesses to document their journey, or the communities themselves to better address the way future residents will remember previous generations.
The Anoka Post Office is a former post office building in Anoka, Minnesota. It was built in 1916 in a Colonial Revival design by architect James Knox Taylor. It remained in service as a U.S. Post Office until 1977, after which it housed a variety of commercial tenants. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 for its local significance in the theme of architecture. It was nominated for its status as Anoka's oldest surviving public building and most architecturally significant non-residential property. Throughout the 1990s the building served as a multipurpose location. In addition to the real estate office, a number of businesses and firms cycled through the historic site, including a charter school, a Christian ministry center, a gym, and a coin shop.
The Colonial Hall and Masonic Lodge was designed by noted architect Frederick Marsh. This seventeen-room Georgian Revival-style home was built in Anoka in 1904. It received the name “Colonial Hall” courtesy of its original residents, the doctors Alanson and Flora Aldrich. Under the lodge’s ownership, the house served as a caretaker’s apartment and a real estate office. During World War II, the government used it as a recruiting office, while the school across the street frequently borrowed the lodge’s basement for gym class. In 1971, an agreement between the lodge and the Anoka County Historical Society repurposed Colonial Hall into a museum. For the next thirty years, the building housed the collections and administrative offices of ACHS.
This Gothic Revival style house served as residence and home to four generations of Ticknors. Each one contributing to the structure’s unique architecture. The home boasts three fireplaces, one built with locally manufactured brick. The house underwent substantial remodeling by its new owners, Lynne and Terry Rickert, as they created four separate rooms, each with a separate bath, to accommodate patrons. Exterior renovations did not result in any major changes to the structure, which still serves as a bed and breakfast today.
The Windego Park Auditorium was built in 1914 with encouragement from local music educator Thaddeus P. Giddings, and served as a frequently-used community space for music and theater performances for the next two decades. Falling out of use after Giddings moved away from the area, the last recorded performance was given there in 1938. During World War II, citizens donated the metal parts of the theater--the railings, support poles and awning frame--to the scrap metal drives for the war effort. Efforts to preserve the stadium led to its nomination and inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
The Shaw Hammons House was built in 1854. It is the oldest extant home in the city of Anoka. The interior of this section contains two parlors, and a closet on the first floor, as well as and two bedrooms, two closets, and a bath on the second floor,” Hammons later expanded his personal interests to the local lumber industry as well as Anoka’s Boot and Shoe Manufacturing Company which endured as one of Anoka’s most significant enterprises during the 1880s.
Originally built in 1857, the Woodbury House is the second oldest extant home in the city of Anoka. It served as a home to several families from its time of construction until the mid-2000s. After a series of foreclosures and bank ownerships, the City of Anoka purchased the property and leased it to the owners of The Mad Hatter Tea Room restaurant in 2013. Extensive remodeling took place within the interior but the exterior remains unchanged. The Mad Hatter continues to occupy the house at present.
Anoka's first hospital, in operation from 1902 through 1935 was known as a healthth place to live in the early years of the 20th century. Part of that reputation came from the Kline Sanatorium located next to the Anoka-Champlin Bridge that spanned the Mississippi River on south Ferry Street. The Kline Sanatorium was originally built in 1902 by Dr. James Kline, and served hundreds of patients before it closed as a hospital in 1935. Serving as a shelter for those left without homes in the wake of a 1939 tornado, the building again provided relief for people in the area. Later, the building served as a hotel, and then as a private residence and apartments. It stands today as one of the city of Anoka’s more iconic structures, clearly visible as you enter the city from across the Mississippi River.
The first bridge to span the Mississippi River between Champlin and Anoka opened in 1884. It was a spring bridge with the center section turning on a central pier, like a hinge on a door, to allow boat traffic to pass alongside the open bridge. It was 900 feet long with an18 foot wide roadway and was constructed of iron with a wood deck and rested on Kasota stone and granite piers. The bridge was reconstructed in 1998 As one of the only river crossings in the north metro and beyond. The Anoka Champlin bridge saw traffic volumes continue to grow each year. Highway 169 was a major gateway to the “lake country” of northern Minnesota, a popular weekend destination for city dwellers.