For more than 10 years, what was thought to be a worthless shack sat in the corner of the Maple Grove Public Works yard. It's owner, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, didn't know the diamond in the rough it had on its hands.
Built in 1854, it was the area's first frame house in an era of log cabins and sod huts. Whatsmore, the man who lived there was Pierre Bottineau, a legendary frontiersman who helped pioneer development in St. Paul, Minneapolis, Maple Grove, Osseo and parts of the Dakotas.
After the building's history was discovered, MnDOT hired the Minneapolis firm of MacDonald & Mack Architects to restore it. The structure had been moved around and subjected to a number of different uses over the years. It was moved to the Public Works site during clearing for the Hwy. 610 expansion in 1998.
In summer 2009, the building was hauled to its new home in the Elm Creek Park Reserve, where it has been restored for use as a history center. A grand opening is slated for 2011.
Read more at the Star Tribune.
Photo from Maple Grove Historic Preservation Society.