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Henry Hastings Sibley

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Houses of the Sibley Historic Site
The Faribault House

On the property adjoining the Sibley estate, John Mueller built another stone house which is also closely associated with the early history of Minnesota. This historic house was built for Jean Baptiste Faribault in 1839. The house, a fine example of Colonial architecture, was built of yellow sandstone quarried locally with a red sandstone front.

It is similar in construction to the Sibley House and was used not only as a home for Mr. Faribault but also as an Inn.

The front and back entrances both open onto a single wide hall with a staircase. Two large rooms, each with three windows, lie to either side of the central hall. The upper floor repeats the layout of the first. The third floor was used as a ballroom and community meeting place for the settlers. The basement, like Sibley’s had two cold storage rooms and a large kitchen where the cooking was done in old fashioned kettles hung on a crane in the fireplace.

After the death of his wife in 1847, Mr. Faribault made his home with his daughter in Faribault, Minnesota, and his grandson, George Faribault, conducted a hotel in the house. Here were housed river travelers, priests, teachers, explorers, and adventurers, and later representatives of the various government activities.

Later the house was sold to Mr. James McGrownan who lived there from 1870 to 1889. In 1895, part of the house was rented to Mr. and Mrs. James Moffet, who served meals to the artists who came to sketch in the historic old town. Still later, Mr. Bernier purchased the house, using it as a warehouse for vegetables. The home was sadly in need of repairs and the grounds became a desolate stretch of sand and weeds.

The Faribault house was considered of sufficient historic value to warrant its restoration as a government project. In 1934, the State Highway Department began the restoration of the Faribault House through a Public Works Administration project.

The home, partially restored in 1935, was turned over to the Minnesota Daughters of the American Revolution who completed the project. The house with the grounds attractively landscaped by the State Highway Department was opened to the public May 5, 1937. The Faribault House as well as the Sibley House are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Excerpts from "The Sibley Historic Site" Published 1995 by Sibley House Association / MNDAR

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