Please note that this text-only
version includes approximately 50 pages and may take up to 15 minutes
to print. It is provided for ease of reading and printing if you
wish to bring numerous pages of this itinerary with you on a trip.
By clicking on one of these links, you may go directly to a particular
Essay on Pipestone County History
Essay on Downtown Revitalization
Essay on Pipestone Rock
List of Sites
Main Map (printer friendly map,
you will need to print map pages separately)
Begin the Tour
The National Park Service's National Register of Historic
Places, the Pipestone Heritage Preservation Commission, Pipestone
County Museum, Jasper Area Historical Society, Pipestone National
Monument, the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office, the
National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO),
and the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC) extend
their invitation to you to explore Pipestone, Minnesota,
featuring historic places in Pipestone County. This area, located
in the south west corner of Minnesota, reflects a rich history of
American Indian quarrying, prosperity brought by the railroad and
mining enterprises, and a distinctive natural landscape. This latest
National Register of Historic Places Travel itinerary highlights
30 historic places that illustrate the history of this extraordinary
region, including architecturally stunning buildings constructed
with beautiful local red stone, exemplary civic buildings, and land
still sacred to American Indians. The importance of the city of
Pipestone was recently recognized by the Preservation Alliance of
Minnesota in May 2001 when it was designated as one of the ten most
endangered historic properties in the state.
The city and county of Pipestone are named after the soft red stone
called catlinite or pipestone, which was essential to the area's development.
American Indians quarried in the beds of red-colored claystone and
shale in the general vicinity of what is today the Pipestone
National Monument, since 1200 A.D. The claystone, soft and easily
carved, was used to make the ceremonial pipes which were an integral
part of American Indian religious and civic ceremonies. The French
were the first Europeans to explore Minnesota and record descriptions
of the red stone found in pipes and other items the American Indians
traded. The region passed from French to American control in 1803
with the sale of the Louisiana Territory, and Lewis and Clark noted
the pipestone quarry in their journals detailing their exploration
of the American west. Fur trader Philander Prescott wrote another
account of the area in 1831. Five years later, artist and writer George
Catlin traveled through the region. He sketched the landscape surrounding
the quarries, recorded local Sioux legends, and collected stone samples.
Catlin's sketches and accounts interested many others in the site.
The famous American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was inspired
to write of the region in his well known poem, "The Song of Hiawatha"
(completed in 1855). The city of Pipestone, Minnesota, county seat
of Pipestone County, was first established in 1873 by Charles Bennet
and David Sweet.
This travel itinerary features all historic sites in Pipestone County
listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Pipestone
National Monument, created by an act of Congress in 1937, preserves
the mile-long quarry line for continued use by members of all American
Indian tribes and nations in its natural prairie setting. Numerous
buildings constructed with local Sioux quartzite contribute to the
rich architectural heritage of the Pipestone Commercial
Historic District. Pipestone City Hall,
one of the most architecturally distinctive buildings in the district,
is today the Pipestone County Museum. Sandstone relief sculptures,
often called gargoyles, enliven the Moore Block,
constructed in 1896. The Syndicate Block occupies
a very prominent corner within the Pipestone Commercial Historic District
and is the largest and oldest building constructed of Sioux quartzite
within the district. Once housing the post office and a meat market
(1910-1964), the Syndicate Block is an outstanding example of Pipestone's
beautifully crafted buildings. The Calumet Hotel,
a three-story Sioux quartzite building constructed in 1888, provided
space for both the hotel and the First National Bank. Its light pink
quartzite exterior, mined in the quarries near Jasper, Minnesota,
contrasts with the darker red stone that dominates the architecture
of Pipestone. The Ihlen Mercantile Company,
constructed in 1885 by John Olson, was the first business establishment
in Ihlen. In the community of Jasper, just 12 miles southwest of Pipestone,
the streetscape is characterized by the prominent use of Jasper Sioux
quartzite. The John Rowe House, a simple bungalow
like those found across the country, is unusual because it is sheathed
in locally quarried stone. The nearby Jasper Stone
Company and Quarry, still in operation, provides stone that is
greatly sought after still because of its hardness, elegance and permanent
Pipestone, Minnesota, offers numerous ways to discover
the historic places that played important roles in Pipestone's past.
Each property features a brief description of the place's significance,
color, and where available, historic photographs, and public accessibility
information. At the bottom of each page the visitor will find a
navigation bar containing links to three essays that explain more
about Pipestone County History, Downtown
Revitalization, and Pipestone: The Rock.
These essays provide historic background, or "contexts," for many
of the places included in the itinerary. The itinerary can be viewed
online, or printed out if you plan to visit Pipestone, Minnesota,
Created through a partnership between the National Park Service's
National Register of Historic Places, the Pipestone Heritage Preservation
Commission, Pipestone County Museum, Jasper Area Historical Society,
Pipestone National Monument, the Minnesota State Historic Preservation
Office, NCSHPO, and NAPC, Pipestone, Minnesota is an example
of a new and exciting cooperative project. As part of the Department
of the Interior's strategy to revitalize communities by promoting
public awareness of history and encouraging tourists to visit historic
places throughout the nation, the National Register of Historic Places
is cooperating with communities, regions and Heritage Areas throughout
the United States to create online travel itineraries. Using places
listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the itineraries
help potential visitors plan their next trip by highlighting the amazing
diversity of the country's historic places and supplying accessibility
information for each featured site. In the Learn
More section, the itineraries link to regional and local web sites
that provide visitors with further information regarding cultural
events, special activities, lodging and dining possibilities as well
as histories of the region, should they want to explore further.
Pipestone, Minnesota is the ninth of more than 30 organizations
working directly with the National Register of Historic Places to
create travel itineraries. Additional itineraries will debut online
in the future. The National Register of Historic Places, the Pipestone
Heritage Preservation Commission, Pipestone County Museum, Jasper
Area Historical Society and Pipestone National Monument hope you
enjoy this virtual travel itinerary of Pipestone's historic places.
If you have comments or questions please click on the provided e-mail
address, "comments or questions" located at the bottom of this page.
Dear Internet Browser:
Hello and welcome to Pipestone. If you will take the time to stop
and explore our wonderful community, you will discover a prairie
gem, rich in culture and history.
Pipestone has the distinction of having one of Minnesota's largest historic districts, with many beautiful quartzite buildings, all listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We also have one of the two Federal National Monuments in Minnesota, which is a "must see" when you visit. American Indians still quarry the Red Pipestone and visitors are encouraged to watch live demonstrations of pipes and crafts being carved. But no visit to the Monument is complete without a walk through the Coteau Prairie which includes a view of the Winnewissa Falls.
We are a community whose residents not only preserve the past, but in many ways live it. Locals turn out in force to participate in our annual Longfellow's legendary "Song of Hiawatha" pageant which is held the last two weekends in July and the first weekend of August. This production has thrilled young and old alike for over 50 years. Other exciting events celebrated include the Pipestone Original Indian Community Pow Wow held in July and the Pow Wow/Blessing of the Quarries enacted in August. Then the Civil War Days encampment and mock battles is held every other year. For the history buffs or just the curious, a stop at the County Historical Museum to see first hand the wealth of history artfully preserved and displayed is a treat.
An evening at the theater is most relaxing and enjoyable at Pipestone's own Performing Arts Center. Entertainment is offered to appeal to all ages, from classic to country folk to community theater.
We also offer fine dining at our local restaurants, as well as rustic overnight accommodations at the Historic Calumet Inn. Here your hotel room is, as it was, in the decor of our historic past.
As for recreation, we offer the beautiful modern Ewert Recreation Center, our new Family Aquatic Center, and golf at our nine-hole course.
Unlike most "tourist stops", Pipestone has not lost its charm and affordability. We are friendly and we hope that when you stop by that you will enjoy your stay, as well as our community, as much as we do.
I have only touched on some of the "Highlight" features and events that we offer. For a more detailed overview of Pipestone, I invite you to browse our website at www.pipestoneminnesota.com, better yet, put us on your vacation itinerary.
"After riding another fifteen miles across the trackless,
treeless, boundless expanse of bare-brown, desolate, lonesome prairie,
we arrived at the embryo town of Pipestone, its one little lone
house barely visible in the deepening twilight."-Mrs. J. M.
Bull, in a letter printed in the Pipestone County Star, June 22,
1916, reminiscing about life during Pipestone's first years of settlement.
The town of Pipestone, Minnesota, possesses a rich historic legacy
as a transportation and quarrying center. Noted for its architecture
constructed of locally quarried Sioux quartzite and catlinite, Pipestone
stands as a vivid reminder of a time when Minnesota's expanding
western frontier entered the sacred land of the red pipestone. Visitors
to Pipestone will have a chance to witness the town's interesting
architecture, as well as the nearby pipestone quarries and surrounding
communities. From the earliest American Indian settlements up to
the present, the history of Pipestone is one where the clashing
of cultures produced a town created from the sacred earth. The surrounding
area in Pipestone County is also rich in history, and the neighboring
town of Jasper stands today as a reminder that Pipestone did not
possess a monopoly on quarrying and railroad transportation.
American Indian Settlement: According to A History of
Pipestone County, produced by the Pipestone County Historical
Society in 1984, the first evidence of human occupation of southwest
Minnesota dates to 8000 B.C., following the Pleistocene epoch of
earth's last great ice age. Hunters equipped with stone-tipped spears
hunted big game in the area, such as the mammoth and a very large
species of bison, also extinct. A large spearhead (Clovis point),
one of the oldest artifacts in Minnesota, was discovered in Pipestone
County. The first petroglyphs (rock drawings) were created about
2000 BC in the area; some were found at the Pipestone quarries.
Around 200 BC the Fox Lake Culture had emerged in the Pipestone
area. They left behind mounds and pottery samples, and used the
bow and arrow. Clay pots, dating back to 200 BC, demonstrate that
the Fox Lake American Indians possessed a sophisticated culture.
The Great Oasis Culture followed the Fox Lake people; these people
lived in the area from 900 to 1400 AD The Oasis Culture is believed
to be the first to make use of the pipestone from the quarries.
They created carved tablets inscribed with figures resembling crosses
as well as pipes from the stone of the quarries. Dwelling in thatch
houses, there is little evidence that the Great Oasis Culture practiced
much agriculture, although members in northeastern Iowa are thought
to have cultivated corn. These people were replaced by the Oto and
Iowa people, descendants of the Mississippian people known as the
Oyote. In the 1600s and 1700s, the Dakota migrated to the area,
and among them were the Yankton Dakota, a part of the powerful Dakota
or Sioux Nation, who settled near the location of the present-day
town, and utilized the soft red stone, called pipestone.
European and American Exploration and the Founding of Pipestone:
The French were the first Europeans to explore Minnesota. The Groselliers
and Radisson, Father Louis Hennepin, Baron LaHonton and others left
accounts of their journeys as well as descriptions of the red stone
found in pipes and other items American Indians traded. The region
passed from French to American control in 1803 as part of the Louisiana
Purchase. With the 1814 Treaty of Ghent clarifying the boundary
between British North America (present-day Canada) and the United
States of America, large areas of the American west became part
of the United States. The famous Lewis and Clark expedition traveled
through the area soon after. Lewis and Clark noted the pipestone
quarry in their journals. Fur trader Philander Prescott wrote another
account of the area in 1831. Five years later, the artist and writer
George Catlin traveled through the region. He sketched the landscape
surrounding the quarries, and this drew general interest in the
Pipestone County was established in 1857, but it was still many
years before European-American settlers came to live in the county.
The region had been visited by explorers and traders, but settlers
stayed away, considering the county "Indian territory," until well
after the Civil War. In 1837 the United States government negotiated
treaties with the Sioux and the Ojibwa, who held title to the entire
Minnesota region, to give up lands in the triangle bounded by the
St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers and by a line drawn eastward from
the mouth of the Crow Wing River. As soon as the treaty was signed,
lumbermen moved into the region, and settlements rapidly grew up
at Stillwater and St. Paul. Further treaties with the American Indians,
combined with the growing might and population of the United States,
eventually opened up the rest of Minnesota for settlement. Alarmed
at the number of settlers entering the region, the Sioux rose in
August of 1862, which resulted in nearly all the Sioux being expelled
from the State. During the 38 day war, 500-800 American settlers
and an unknown number of Sioux were killed. After this war, immigration
grew in the western Minnesota. The first Pipestone County survey
occurred in 1871, but the surveyors neglected to mark the Sioux
reservation on the drawing of the land that was later named Sweet
Township. The town of Pipestone, Minnesota, county seat of Pipestone
County, was first platted from 1873 to 1874, and finally incorporated
on February 1, 1891. Two individuals, Charles H. Bennett and Daniel
E. Sweet were instrumental in the founding of Pipestone. In April
1873, Sweet surveyed the 20-block townsite in Section 12 of the
township which was later to be named Sweet. The town itself was
located near the center of the county, a mile south of the quarries
where the red pipestone is found, and for which both the town and
county are named.
Bennett, born in Union town, Michigan, in 1846, served four years
in the Civil War and acquired a pharmacist's education by working
in pharmacies in the East. He lived for a while in Sioux City, Iowa,
before it had a railroad, and built a thriving drugstore business
in Le Mars, Iowa, before coming to Pipestone in 1873. Bennett used
his own capital and all he could borrow in efforts to develop the
community. In 1883 he persuaded the Close Brothers, William and
Frederick, two Englishmen, to settle in Pipestone. The Close Brothers
advertised the bountiful landscape in circulars distributed throughout
the Northeast and England, promoting the rich black soil, civilized
nature of the country, and the paradise which awaited the hopeful
immigrant. The English land-speculating brothers did not mention
the severe weather, devastating insect pests and the treeless landscape,
which had earlier prohibited settlement. The selective nature of
the ads helped to lure settlers, and with the increased settlement
the railroads arrived. Later two more Close brothers, John and James,
arrived, and along with S. H. Graves, they formed the Close Brothers
Company. Through connections with wealthy Englishmen, they were
able to buy large amounts of land in southwestern Minnesota and
northeastern Iowa, forming one of the largest land companies in
Railroads, Quarries and the Growth of the Town: The plotting
of the townsite in 1876 did not result in the immediate growth of
the town. A rush for land began in anticipation of railroad construction
after 1878. On Thanksgiving day, 1879, the first train arrived in
Pipestone. By 1890, the town possessed four different rail lines and
became the transportation and shipping hub of southwestern Minnesota.
In 1879 the Minnesota and Black Hills branch of the Sioux City and
St. Paul Railroad was constructed from Heron Lake in Jackson County
to Woodstock. In 1881 this line was extended to Pipestone. The nearby
towns of Ruthton, Holland, and Ihlen were developed in 1888 in anticipation
of the 1889 construction of the Willmar and Sioux Falls branch of
the Great Northern Railroad. The town of Jasper was also founded in
1888 by several Pipestone capitalists interested in quarry development.
Railroad lines brought many different businesses and people to
the growing town. With 20 trains entering the town each day, Pipestone
thrived. The increased rail service brought many positive aspects
to life in Pipestone, but it also brought increased tensions, as
fuel sources were scarce in the flat plains and the railroads monopolized
the small coal supply. In 1879, 22 businesses were operating in
Pipestone, and in just one year the number jumped to 53. Three physicians
were in residence by 1879. Over the next 20 years Pipestone became
a real "boom town" and it was then that the buildings in the Pipestone
Commercial Historic District were constructed. Masons used locally
quarried stone to build these lasting monuments to their craft.
The railroad brought access to outside culture, and Pipestone even
boasted the Ferris Grand Opera House in the Ferris
Grand Block Building built in 1898. Not all changes were positive,
though, as monopolies existed concerning the use of grain elevators,
pooling and freight costs. Farmers' cooperatives formed to combat
these procedures. The antimonopoly feeling of the time produced
the Farmers' Alliance and the Arkansas Agricultural Wheel in the
southern states, and a number of organizations, collectively called
the Northern Alliance, in the midwestern and north central states.
Smaller in numbers, the Northern Alliance was more concerned with
railroad issues and resorted to a third party movement to pass reforms.
The town of Pipestone was largely built with rock quarried from
the large deposits of Sioux quartzite in the county. Beginning in
the late 19th century, masons, builders and quarry workers collaborated
to construct buildings from the stone. Their high level of craftsmanship,
sense of beauty and ability to construct buildings of lasting quality
are part of Pipestone's tradition. Several popular architectural
revival styles were applied to the town's early downtown buildings,
but rural architecture largely escaped the excesses found in the
eclectic town architecture of the period. The high standard for
the buildings found along Main Street in Pipestone are testimony
to the builders. The local quarries also produced building materials
for distant cities, with the railroads transporting the red stone
to numerous locations.
Pipestone's Progress: Schools and Government: Pipestone's government
began tackling local issues from the beginning of settlement. Pipestone's
first school was a 10 by 15 foot wooden building, opening in the summer
of 1878 with six students taught by Florence Bennett. This school
was located at the corner of Hiawatha Avenue and 2nd Street. In 1881,
a one-story 26 by 40 foot frame building was built on the northeast
corner of the present Central School site. Two years later a two-story,
five-room brick-veneered building, trimmed with Kasota sandstone,
was built in the center of that property. A fire on March 29, 1893,
destroyed both buildings, and school was held in the town churches
as construction began on a three-story stone building. It was completed
and ready for occupancy in the fall of 1894. As the population increased,
two small schools were built in the eastern and western sections.
The East Ward and West Ward schools served the first four grades.
The use of these schools ceased when a large addition was made to
central school in 1910, doubling its size. With increased enrollment
after consolidation in the 1950s, district elementary students were
bused to either Brown or Hill schools, both post-World War II schools.
Pipestone's history of education also includes the American effort
to provide education to the nearby Sioux. Congress passed a bill
in 1891 which appropriated $30,000 to build the Pipestone Indian
Training School, located about one mile north of town, on the Pipestone
reservation, which included the pipestone quarries. The school appropriated
the entire 648 acres of reservation land surrounding the quarries,
and the Yankton leaders, who did not object to the school itself,
regarded its location as an attempt by the United States government
to invalidate their claim to the quarries. The school opened February
2, 1883. It grew to consist of 56 buildings, including a farm and
cottages. Eleven buildings were made of Sioux quartzite from the
reservation quarries, including the Pipestone
Indian School Superintendent's House, which dates to 1907.
Jasper and Ihlen: In 1888 two other towns in Pipestone County
were founded south of the town of Pipestone. On April 19, 1888,
the Pipestone county surveyor, Alfred S. Tee, surveyed the Jasper
townsite, 12 miles south of Pipestone. The townsite was divided
into 12 blocks and dedicated on May 4, 1888. Partially in neighboring
Rock County, Jasper became a rival to Pipestone, and home to a stone
quarry founded by the five Rae Brothers, Alexander, Andrew, William,
Robert and George, who immigrated from Scotland. By the spring of
1889, 235 people were living in Jasper. Jasper was the last town
in Rock and Pipestone Counties connected to rail transportation.
The first passenger train arrived in Jasper on October 21, 1888.
Religious services began in Jasper the same year, and the town soon
possessed six churches. In the same year, the Great Northern Railroad
company founded the town of Ihlen, five miles south of Pipestone.
All trains stopped in Ihlen, while the conductor reported the number
of cars in each train to the company. Ihlen's businesses were established
soon thereafter. In June 1885 the first general store was opened
by John Olson. In 1894 Albert Olson opened a hardware store and
the bank of Ihlen soon followed, in 1904. The early 1920s saw the
greatest railroad activity in Ihlen, but by the end of the decade
it began to taper off as the advent of diesel-powered locomotives
made it unnecessary for trains to stop there.
Pipestone and the 20th Century:As Pipestone grew, so did the
public improvements. The town council established a local Board of
Health, street committee and a waterworks committee, which produced
a water system that used wind power to raise the water to an elevated
tank for water pressure. This happened in October of 1887, at a total
cost of $17,000. In 1895, the town installed street lights on the
major streets in town. Soon after, the streets were paved. In 1907
Pipestone established standards for sidewalks, crossings and curbs.
The Benjamin Building on 112 East Main Street was built in 1929, just
before the Great Depression, and was named for its owner, Dr. W. G.
Benjamin, who practiced medicine at this location until 1970.
The 20th century also brought Pipestone's first hospital, the Brown
Hospital, constructed in 1912. The police and fire department
expanded, and the original three-person mayor-council grew to a
five-person mayor-council. An airport was constructed in 1946. As
automobiles became common, the need for train travel decreased and
the Calumet Hotel began to suffer for lack
of business. Establishment of the Pipestone National
Monument in 1937 and the Song of Hiawatha Pageant caused usage
of the hotel to soar from the 1940s to 1960s, as Pipestone became
a popular tourist spot. The Song of Hiawatha Pageant is held annually
during the last two weekends in July and the first weekend in August.
This show, derived from Longfellow's poem, possesses a cast of 200,
and is known for its lighting effects and costumes. The Pipestone
town charter, a document that outlines the form of government, initially
limited the power of local government, but in 1978 the town adopted
a new "home rule" charter that expanded the powers and responsibilities
of local government. In the late 1970s Pipestone's historic and
architectural significance was recognized by its listing as a historic
district in the National Register of Historic Places.
Today, Pipestone is a progressive community of about 4,600 people
and the county seat for the roughly 10,000 people in Pipestone County.
With numerous sports facilities, a performing arts center, various
festivals and the town's proximity to three local regional airports,
including the Pipestone Municipal Airport, Pipestone is still a
transportation hub, with the Pipestone National
Monument, the Pipestone Commercial Historic
District and other nearby historic locations waiting to be discovered
by the interested traveler.
At the turn of the last century, Pipestone had four railroads coming
through the town, making it an important regional tourism center.
Traveling salesmen were, in fact, given better seats at the local
theater (Ferris Grand Opera House) than the mayor and city council
At the turn of this century, though the railroads are gone, tourism
is still an important part of the area's economy. Visitors now come
by car and bus, from around the country and around the world, to
see the Pipestone National Monument and the
large number of Sioux quartzite buildings in the Pipestone
Commercial Historic District.
Hoping to verify its assumption that the town's historic buildings
are a large part of the current tourism trade, the Pipestone Heritage
Preservation Commission (HPC), responsible for overseeing changes
made to the building facades of the downtown historic district,
conducted a year-long survey. The questionnaire, distributed at
local tourism centers (including all local lodging establishments
as well as local attractions), asked visitors two main questions:
why they came to Pipestone, and what they enjoyed while here. The
Commission found that consistently the top three attractions for
visitors were the Pipestone National Monument,
the historic buildings and the Pipestone City
Hall (County Museum).
The Commission was especially pleased with these results, because
Pipestone, like so many historic cities, went through a phase of
urban renewal in the 1970s. Many buildings were razed, and several
others were nearly destroyed. However, the lasting effect of urban
renewal was the creation of the local historic preservation movement.
The historic Calumet Hotel was one of the
first buildings in Pipestone to undergo a restoration project, between
1978 and 1981. The restoration work on that building continues to
this day, and so far major projects have included the replacement
of a bay window, tuckpointing, and the renovation of the main entry
and interior. The Mackay Block and the Syndicate
Block also underwent early restoration and preservation projects.
The City of Pipestone adapted the Pipestone Public
(Carnegie) Library for use as the local Senior Citizen Center,
and conducted preservation work on the exterior.
More recently, the County of Pipestone has renovated the interior
of the Courthouse, so that it closely resembles
its original appearance. The county also completed preservation
work on the building's exterior and conservation work on a 1901
statue on the front lawn. A local preservation group, Historic Pipestone
Incorporated (HPI), has undertaken two large projects in recent
years. They first restored the exterior of the last remaining train
depot in Pipestone, basing their work on historic photographs
of the building. After selling it to new owners (who have begun
the interior renovations), HPI purchased the 1912 Brown
Hospital, and are currently restoring it. The 1896 Moore
Block, next to the Museum has also undergone recent restoration
(the replacement of bay windows) and conservation work. Not only
the buildings, but Main Street itself has undergone a beautification
project. Historic-looking streetlights have replaced the modern
lights. Trees which blocked the view of the buildings were removed,
and planters and benches were installed on the sidewalks for the
convenience of pedestrians.
As the saying goes though, beauty is more than skin deep. It is
not only the fašade and the streetscape, but what is inside the
buildings, which makes Pipestone appealing to visitors. In the past
10 years, a performing arts center (in the old
Ferris Grand Block) and an art gallery have joined the decades-old
Museum to become the cultural core of the downtown district. Each
of these is located within half a block of the Historic Calumet
Inn, while other attractions such as a movie theater, a recreation
center, and retail stores and services are located with in a two
On the Mountains of the Prairie,
On the great Red Pipe-stone Quarry,
Gitche Manito, the mighty,
He the Master of Life, descending,
On the red crags of the quarry
Stood erect, and called the nations,
Called the tribes of men together.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, " The Song of Hiawatha"
Since 1200 A.D., and perhaps as early as 900 A.D., American Indians
quarried the beds of red-colored claystone and shale in the general
vicinity of what is today the Pipestone National
Monument. The claystone (a mass of limestone found in a clay
deposit) discovered at this site is soft and easily carved, due
to its peculiar composition. Consequently, it is used by the American
Indians to make the ceremonial pipes which are an integral part
of their religious and civic ceremonies. Because of this specific
use, the rock is commonly called "pipestone." The city of Pipestone,
located in southwestern Minnesota, would not exist if it were not
for this soft red stone called pipestone or catlinite. Although
pipestone was utilized for many years by American Indians to create
ceremonial pipes, Pipestone, the town, found its wealth in the quarrying
of pipestone and Sioux quartzite, another valuable stone in the
region. The blocks, which came out of the Sioux quartzite quarry,
were used for buildings. Today they are still used in the creation
of headstone markers.
Geological History of Sioux Quartzite and Catlinite: Established
in 1937, Pipestone National Monument, where
much of the Sioux quartzite and catlinite (pipestone) is located,
occupies a 282-acre tract of land. Geologically, much of this monument
is characterized by a mantle of glacial drift less than 10 feet
thick and consists dominantly of oxidized, light-olive-brown, clayey,
calcareous till (unstratified glacial drift of clay, sand, and gravel)
with scattered pebbles and cobbles of basalt and quartzite. The
basalt fragments were transported from an exotic source to their
present site by glacial processes, whereas the quartzite fragments
were obviously derived from the underlying bedrock. All of the underlying
bedrock is of early Proterozoic age, occurring between 1,770-1,600
million years ago. Quartzite is a massive, hard, light-colored rock
with a flinty sheet; it is a metamorphosed sandstone. The Sioux
quartzite consists predominately of othroquartzite, but fine-grained
rocks, including quartz-rich siltsone, clayey siltstone, silty mudstone,
and pipestone are also present in small amounts. In general, the
quartzitic rocks are highly resistant to erosion and weathering.
The quartzite is characteristically pink in color, but beds vary
from light pink to deep red. In Pipestone, the stone is a dark red
color, while in nearby Jasper, the quarries yield a lighter pink
hue of Sioux quartzite.
Beds of catlinite occur in mixed contrast to the quartz-rich rock
types. For the most part they lack appreciable quantities of quartz,
are typically deep red to pale orange in color, and are generally
massive. In general, pipestone is a claystone that consists predominately
of very fine grained sericite with lesser amounts of hematite (red
iron ore), pyrite (iron sulfide) and possibly rutile, a lustrous,
dark-red material, titanium dioxide, commonly found in prismatic crystals
and usually containing some iron. Its general lack of quartz makes
pipestone soft and easy to carve. Although a number of other localities
containing pipestone have been identified in Wisconsin and South Dakota,
the quarries at Pipestone National Monument
are still the single-most important source of this commodity. G. B.
Morley of the Minnesota Geological Survey wrote in a report to the
U.S. Department of the Interior, in 1981, titled Evaluation of
Catlinite Resources, Pipestone National Monument, Minnesota, that
the claystone or catlinite (pipestone) was used by the American Indians
to make their ceremonial pipes, and "because of this specific
use, the rock is commonly called "pipestone." Both pipestone
and Sioux quartzite were important to the American Indians, and later,
the American settlers who arrived in the region.
American Indian History and Legends of the Red Earth: The
value of pipestone and Sioux quartzite was immense to the first
inhabitants of North America. The Sioux were the American Indians
dwelling near the Pipestone region when the Europeans first explored
the area. The name "Sioux" is a French corruption of the Ojibwa
term nadowe-is-iw, meaning "adder" or "enemy." Historically,
the Sioux and the Ojibwa peoples came into conflict in northern
Minnesota, when the Ojibwa expanded into a region being left vacant
by westward migrating Sioux. One of the names the Sioux referred
to themselves as was dak-kota ("alliance of friends"), which
became anglicized to "Dakota" and "Lakota." "Dakota" refers to the
eastern Santee and Yankton Sioux, while "Lakota" refers to the western
Teton Sioux. The Sioux originated from the earlier Siouan population,
which is thought to have occupied the lower Ohio and middle Mississippi
valleys. The ancestral Dakota migrated northward and settled in
parts of Wisconsin and most of northern Minnesota by the 16th and
17th centuries. The Yankton Dakota were those who had closest access
to the valuable pipestone and Sioux quartzite deposits. These sites
are held sacred by American Indians, and their cultural importance
was recognized far beyond Dakota territory.
Numerous legends among the Dakota address the cultural importance
of the Pipestone region to American Indians. A Brule Sioux legend,
told by Lame Deer to Richard Erados, in Winner, South Dakota, in 1969,
was narrated in the book, American Indian Myths and Legends.
When the world was freshly made, so the narrative legend goes, Unktehi
the water monster fought the people and created a great flood, whose
waters engulfed the lands. Perhaps the Great Spirit, Wakan Tanka,
was angry with his human children, for he allowed Unktehi to win,
and the waters rose in wrath over the new earth. Soon everything was
under water except the hill next to the location where the sacred
red pipestone quarry is today. The people climbed up to save themselves,
but it was no use. The rising waters swept over the hill, and falling
rocks smashed down upon the people, killing everyone except one girl
who was saved by a big eagle, Wanblee Galeshka, who flew her to the
only safe spot, the highest stone pinnacle in the Black Hills. From
this union descended the nation of the Lakota Oyate, the eagle nation.
As for the other people who died, their red blood turned to pipestone,
and created the pipestone quarry, which became sacred, as it was formed
from the blood of the ancestors. That is why the pipes made from the
red rock are sacred.
There were other legends and stories about the origin of the pipe
and red stone. In one legend, the ground turned red from the blood
of buffalo slaughtered by the Great Spirit, and man himself was
formed from the red earth here. In another, all the American Indian
tribes of the earth assembled and fought each other, and their blood
stained the ground red. By all accounts, the pipes created from
the quarries were sacred. Chief Standing Bear wrote the following
account of the long stemmed pipe's significance to the Lakota Tribe
in Land of the Spotted Eagle, published in 1933 in the book Land
of the Spotted Eagle: "All the meanings of moral duty, ethics,
religious and spiritual conceptions were symbolized in the pipe.
It signified brotherhood, peace, and the perfection of Wakan Tanka,
and to the Lakota the pipe stood for that which the Bible, church,
state, and flag, all combined, represented to the mind of the white
Historically, there are dozens of pipe types in North America. Some,
like the Mic-Mac and disc, are recognized by collectors. These pipes
possess a distinctive style that can be recognized with even minor
variation. This is especially true of those pipes that have a wide
geographic distribution or have been found in fairly large numbers.
Stone pipes, long known among the prehistoric peoples of North America,
have been found at Mound City, in present-day Ohio. The quarries at
Pipestone had been controlled by the Yankton Dakota since 1700. While
the quarries were peaceful, neutral ground by tradition, several Dakota
tribes seemed to have jostled for position to be closest to them.
It was the legends of this region that inspired Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
to write in 1855 his famous poem, "The Song of Hiawatha," an
account of the creation of the Peace-pipe, as interpreted by an American
retelling the Sioux legends. Longfellow's poem mentioned "And
in silence all the warriors/ Broke the red stone of the quarry /Smoothed
and formed it into Peace-Pipes. . ." Longfellow's poem also drew
attention to the region.
Pipestone: Distinctive Architecture of the Town: Nearly a century
passed between the time this region was purchased by the United States
and when Pipestone, Minnesota was founded. After the 1803 Lousiana
Purchase, American exploration and settlement increased. George Catlin,
the noted American artist and writer, visited the area in 1836. In
addition to his well-known sketches of the region, Catlin also collected
several samples of the pipestone for subsequent geological study.
It was later determined that the rock had a unique chemical composition,
and because it was believed to occur only where Catlin had found it,
the red pipestone was named "catlinite" in his honor. The town of
Pipestone itself was established in 1873. With few or no trees growing
in the area, the settlers discovered new ways to build temporary shelter
until they could build more suitable homes. Many pioneers on the prairie
constructed sod homes, made of dense earth. Sod homes offered warmth
in the winter months and cooler temperatures during the summer, giving
the settlers inexpensive yet functional shelters. In time, however,
these pioneers desired permanent dwellings and looked to other natural
resources available in the area: Sioux quartzite.
The quarry affected the building environment of the new city of
Pipestone, influencing its architecture and business districts.
With the encroachment of white settlers on the traditional Dakota
territory, a treaty was developed in 1858 to protect the quarry
area and to reserve quarry rights for the Yankton Dakota. The treaty
stated that "the said Yankton Indians shall be secure in the free
and unrestricted use of the red pipestone quarry," but several settlers
laid claim to these lands, and even sold them. These squatters were
not respected in the new city of Pipestone, and were later removed
in October 1887 by Captain J. W. Bean of the Fifth Infantry. However,
legal issues involving the reservation and quarry would take years
to work out. Eventually, the new settlers began to mine the quarries
near Pipestone and nearby Jasper. These quarries
provided the building materials for the new city.
Sioux quartzite and pipestone were generally used together in construction,
with their contrasting colors accenting each other. Beginning in
the 1880s many buildings in Pipestone city were constructed of this
hard stone, and its popularity swiftly spread to cities as far away
as Chicago. Thousands of carloads were shipped to St. Paul, Minneapolis,
Duluth, Sioux City, Cedar Rapids, Kansas City, Omaha and other cities
of the West. Government and school buildings were constructed of
the material. Pipestone's railroad tracks, which eventually crossed
Yankton reservation land, were the economic link to these locations.
In Pipestone, many of the buildings built from 1880 to 1900 were
constructed from Sioux quartzite that gave the historic district
its distinct red color. Bauman Hall, the Pipestone
Public Library, the Pipestone County Courthouse
and others in the city were quarried from the local quartzite stone.
Many of the buildings were built in the Richardsonian Romanesque
style, synthesizing elements of Gothic and Roman architecture into
a unifying vision, which complements the use of stone.
Quartzite was quarried at several locations. The major quarry in
Pipestone County was just north of the city of Pipestone. A quarry
at Jasper, actually located over the county
line in Rock County, provided stone used in both Jasper and Pipestone.
This was founded by the five Rae brothers, Alexander, Andrew, William,
Robert, and George, who all settled in Jasper. Originally from Scotland,
the five brothers opened their quarry in 1888, which was known as
the Dell Rapids Granite Company. In the 1880s the railroad and the
quarry opened up new opportunities for the townspeople, and this
helped the new city grow.
Right to the Land: The ownership issues involving the Pipestone
quarry and the nearby Yankton Dakota reservation, created in 1858,
troubled the law courts for years. The title and legal issues surrounding
the Yankton reservation were not easily solved; the Yankton Dakota
claimed absolute title, while the United States government took
the view that the American Indians had a right in the nature of
an easement, an interest in land owned by another that entitles
its holder to a specific limited use. Finally in 1926 the United
States Supreme Court held that the American Indians held free title
to the reservation land. The United States government had to make
payment to the Yankton Dakota to compensate them for taking their
lands. On April 16, 1928, the U.S. Court of Claims awarded the Yanktons
$100,000.00 plus interest from March 1, 1891, until paid, for the
appropriation of American Indian lands. In 1937, as part of President
Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal programs, Congress passed an
act making the Pipestone Quarries and the surrounding landscape
a National Monument, protecting its use. Now, only American Indians
are permitted to quarry the soft red stone for ceremonial pipes.
In 1993 there were 30 active quarry pits at Pipestone
National Monument, of which 16 represented the sole-source of
economic livelihood for 50 to 60 American Indians. The area surrounding
Pipestone, Minnesota, is rich with the legacy of the pipestone and
quartzite quarries. Pipestone's Sioux quartzite quarries were closed
by the end of the 1930s. Jasper still has
a working quarry, although its stone is no longer used for buildings.
List of Sites
The Pipestone Commercial Historic District is comprised of approximately
30 commercial buildings located in a two-block area of downtown
Pipestone. The town was first platted from 1873 to 1874. Pipestone
experienced a boom from 1883 to 1884--the result of the establishment
of railroad service to the area and successful land promotional
efforts by the South Minnesota Land Company. The character of the
district is derived from the exclusive use of Sioux quartzite as
a building material in 17 of the buildings, making it the largest
concentration of Sioux quartzite buildings in the state. The majority
of these buildings were built in the 1890s and visually relate to
each other in height, scale and vernacular style, sharing a common
texture and color of building materials. Although most of the pivotal
buildings are vernacular, there are examples of the Richardsonian
Romanesque, Neoclassical and Italianate styles as well.
The most visually prominent building is the Calumet
Hotel, a four-story Richardsonian Romanesque structure which occupies
the main intersection in the downtown. Pipestone
City Hall also illustrates the Richardsonian Romanesque style;
the Neoclassical style is represented in the two buildings constructed
for the First National Bank at 101 W. Main Street
and 113 W. Main Street; the Italianate style
can be seen at the Syndicate Block . Three of
the buildings in the district are embellished with relief sculpture
carved by local skilled craftsmen. The key to the beauty of Pipestone's
buildings is how the stone is cut, dressed and arranged in the building
walls. The masons used rough-faced stone, clearly marked joints, and
arranged blocks in a variety of patterns and colors. The color variety
of the historic district was produced by a blending lighter Sioux
quartzite from the Jasper quarries with darker Sioux quartzite from
the Pipestone quarries. Many of the early business establishments
constructed during the 1880s and 1890s were built of Sioux quartzite.
These are the buildings which comprise the district today and continue
to serve commercial purposes.
The Pipestone Commercial Historic District is located in downtown
Pipestone, including Main St. between Second Ave. SW/NW and Second
Ave. NE/SE, and generally one block south along N. Hiawatha Ave.
and Second Ave. SW. Many of the buildings within the district are
open to the public during normal business hours. Visit the Chamber
of Commerce's website
for more information.
The Syndicate Block occupies a prominent corner in downtown Pipestone
and has the distinction of being the largest and the oldest Sioux
quartzite building in the Pipestone Commercial
Historic District. In addition, this building also acts as an
anchor for the West End Business District. There were originally
three different stores with three different owners when the building
was constructed in 1884.
Italianate in style, the two-story building is distinguished by
a pressed metal cornice running along the length of both facades.
This cornice also supports the pediment rising from the south facade.
The pediment is embellished with a relief consisting of an Indian
ceremonial pipe crossed with a bow and arrows. The design alludes
to the town's association with the quarries and American Indian
heritage. The south and east elevations no longer display their
cornice features. A band of masonry block wraps around the building
and is formed in part by the segmented arches of the windows.
The corner store of the building opened as a clothing store, became
the post office from 1898 to 1906 and then housed a meat market
from 1910 to 1964. The central store was Geyerman's, a woman's clothing
store that opened in 1936. The store was so successful that it expanded
into the corner store in 1964. The western storefront area always
possessed a separate business, which did not incorporate into the
Geyerman's store. In March 1920 a fire severely damaged the central
and western stores, but the building was repaired. The second floor,
like in many other Pipestone buildings, acted as professional offices,
apartments and also as a hotel for a short period of time.
The Syndicate Block is located at 201-205 W. Main St., Pipestone.
Still occupied by Geyerman's, it is open to the public during regular
William Frost constructed the eastern portion of this two-story
quartzite building in c.1889. A few years later, in 1896, Frost
sold the building, at a cost of $6,000 to the International Order
of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) which had been renting the second floor.
Upon purchasing the building, the I.O.O.F. removed the Cheverton
Block stone atop of the building and replaced it with the I.O.O.F.
initials, which still grace the building today. The I.O.O.F. was
a fraternal organization that began as a convivial society and mutual
benefit organization. The I.O.O.F. used elaborate rituals to form
a network of kinship ties through which the organization practiced
its mutual aid, and also acted as a form of social club.
The I.O.O.F. purchased the adjoining lot to the west in 1910 and
constructed a nearly matching building, except for the segmented
arches over the second floor windows. The original east arches were
constructed of sandstone, while the newer west ones are gray pink
Sioux quartzite. Like many commercial buildings throughout the Midwest,
the building housed two stores until the Ben Franklin store moved
in and combined them. In the late 19th century, the building also
accommodated an opera house on the second floor. I.O.O.F. remained
in the second floor until the early 1970s. The first floor facade
has been altered several times, removing recognizable traces of
its original character. The second floor, however, still retains
much of its original historic fabric, including oak trim and the
original pressed tin ceiling.
The Cheverton-I.O.O.F. Block is located at 115 W. Main St.,
Pipestone and is open to the public during regular business hours
as the Hobby Shoppe.
Bank - 113 W. Main St.
As one of the more prolific architects of Pipestone, Wallace Dow
designed the 1898 First National Bank building. Leon Moore and A.
J. Martin constructed the two-story, 25 by 80-foot Sioux quartzite
building, decorated with molded gray granite columns and a Richardsonian
inspired Sioux quartzite arch with a light colored keystone. The
most distinctive features which still mark this Neoclassical building
are the fluted pilasters with Corinthian capitals that support an
entablature and triangular dentilated pediment, the lunette date
stone and the words "First National Bank," done in relief on a light
This building was the second home of the First National Bank, the
first being in the Calumet Hotel. In 1916
it was sold to G. A. Belsheim, a clothing store. During this time,
the arch and half of the pilasters were removed when Belsheim remodeled
the first-floor facade. In 1931, the building again changed hands
and became a grocery store until 1956. Further remodeling took place,
completely altering the storefront to its present condition, and
a shoe store moved into the space. The second floor of the building
housed the Telephone Exchange and other professional offices from
1899 to 1952. For the past 20 years, the upstairs floor was used
for apartment living.
The First National Bank Building is located at 113 W. Main St.,
Pipestone. It is currently empty and not open to the public.
Wallace Dow, an architect from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, designed
this building, which Leon Moore constructed in 1899. The Ober-Hubbard
Block's outstanding architectural features include Sioux quartzite
dentils, rounded window arches with light colored quartzite keystones,
and a frieze with a stylized blind arcade bordered on both the top
and the bottom with jasper stone. Unfortunately, the lower facade
does not resemble the original anymore due to the installation of
a later aluminum storefront. The original businesses that were housed
in this building were E. W. Crosby's shoe store and D. W. Smith's
Jewelry Store. In 1910 Max Menzel purchased the building and moved
his drug store into it three years later. At this time, Menzel combined
the two stores into one. Interestingly enough, D. W. Smith moved
his jewelry store into Menzel's former building; the two essentially
switched buildings. Menzel's drug store remained in the Ober-Hubbard
Block for 34 years, followed by another drug store, which lasted
until the early 1980s. The second floor of the building historically
had been used for professional offices. Later, these were converted
to apartments. The second floor of the building is now vacant. The
Ober-Hubbard Building is one of three adjoining Sioux quartzite
buildings on Main Street which are important visual elements in
The Ober-Hubbard Block is located at 111 W. Main St., Pipestone.
Now a photography store, it is open to the public during normal
Originally housing an ice cream parlor, this ivory terra cotta
front building was designed by Joseph Schwartz in 1919 for H. Thompson
and Gus Bussis. The facade of the building displays its most distinguishing
features. The building is unusual as it incorporates different architectural
styles into one building. Art Deco and Neoclassical Revival details
are interwoven through the use of dentils, relief designs of flowers
and the use of white terra cotta. Terra cotta offered buildings
an inexpensive approach to wall and floor coverings that could be
molded into rich ornamental detail. Terra cotta provided a fireproof
alternative to wall coverings and quickly became the building material
of choice in the early part of the 20th century. Although many other
in Pipestone utilize the Sioux quartzite stone native to the area,
terra cotta was a less expensive and an easier to carve alternative
than the hard stone.
The original cost of the lot on which the building is situated
was $10,000. The original building was 25 feet by 93 feet, and had
a full basement. The rear of the building possessed a 24-foot by
15-foot addition to house the ice cream factory. The Colonial operated
as an ice cream parlor until 1938, when several other businesses
including a beauty salon moved into the building. A destructive
1996 Christmas Day fire consumed the rear addition, forcing its
removal from The Colonial. The Colonial is still in use today, serving
the community as an office of optometry.
The Colonial is located at 105 W. Main St., Pipestone. The office
is open to the public during regular business hours.
Bank - 101 W. Main St.
The old First National Bank Building is another building that dominates
the downtown of Pipestone. Designed in 1916 by P. J. Lindhoff, the
bank relocated to this building from its earlier location at 113.
W. Main Street. The Neoclassical building is constructed of
buff colored Bedford limestone and has the name "FIRST NATIONAL
BANK" carved over the large fluted Doric columns. The corner pilasters
and dentilated cornice also make this building unique. Below the
second story windows is a decorative frieze. Although many of the
windows on the east elevation have been covered, and the stairway
to the basement enclosed, the building still retains much of its
The First National Bank occupied the first floor of this building
until 1973, when its present building was constructed. The building
was then used as a drug store, which has been located in the building
ever since. The second floor generally has been used for professional
offices until recently when it was divided into apartments. The basement
had always been home to a barber shop until Emile Klosterich retired
in the 1980s after 50 years of service at this location. Following
a disastrous 1996 Christmas Day fire in the adjoining buildings to
the north, a major renovation of the interior took place.
The First National Bank Building is located at 101 W. Main St.,
Pipestone. Now the A&S Drug Store, it is open to the public
during regular business hours.
The city of Pipestone made good use of its natural resources in
that many buildings utilized the Sioux quartzite for a sturdy building
material, and the Mackay Block is no exception. Built in 1898 by
Leon Moore for Fraser Mackay, the focal point of this two-story
Romanesque building is the second floor oriel window. The building's
facade is embellished with a checkerboard patterned frieze of pink
and red Sioux quartzite and pink belt coursing. There is also a
small white stone in the upper west corner with the inscription
"F. MACKAY 1898."
In earlier years, the building was a dry goods store and grocery
followed by the Gem Theatre for 20 years. An iron balcony was removed
during a 1913 remodeling and enlargement phase. While inspecting
the addition to the rear of the building during this time, Fraser
MacKay, the building owner, fell off the scaffolding and died hours
later of his injuries. During another remodeling phase in 1964 in
which a bakery was housed in the building, the transom windows were
replaced with large colored tiles and the oriel window was removed.
Only a few years later in 1977, the building again was remodeled
to restore its original front and the oriel window was replicated.
The old butcher-block table and ovens from the building's bakery
days are still located in the back area.
The Mackay Block is located at 110 E. Main St., Pipestone. It
is now a ladies dress shop, Clothier By Dawn, open to the public
during normal business hours.
Ferris Grand Block
The Ferris Grand Block was designed by Leon Moore, responsible
for many of the town's buildings, for A. D. Ferris in 1898. The
32 foot by 90 foot, three-story Sioux quartzite building has a checkerboard
patterned frieze, alternating pink and red quartzite and a roof
comb. The building originally possessed a tablet bearing the Ferris
Grand name, which was removed in 1916 and replaced by a block with
"AF & AM" etched into it when it was purchased by the Masonic Bodies.
Other carved stones were also removed at the time. In 1917, the
Masons moved in, after which time the building was also referred
to as the Masonic Temple.
Originally the building contained two stores on the first floor,
the Ferris Grand Opera House on the second floor and a balcony on
the third. At its grand opening on March 10, 1899, the opera house
boasted seating for 800 on the main floor and balcony, and was said
to be the largest and finest facility of its kind in this part of
the state. Following its purchase by the Masonic Bodies in 1916,
the second floor was remodeled into clubrooms. At that time, Leo
Henke, an itinerant artist, was hired to create murals of ancient
Biblical scenes on the upper walls of the large room. The scenes
include the building of King Solomon's Temple, the Sea of Galilee,
and the Mount of Olives. Forty-five feet high and 55 feet long,
these paintings have been well preserved. An arch connected the
two stores on the first floor in 1909. The S&L Store occupied this
area for 62 years. In 1958 the front facade was remodeled with large
maroon tiles, matching the annex to the west.
The Masons were very active in community affairs, causing one historian
to comment that railroads and Masons developed the city of Pipestone.
A former Grand Master Mason of the Pipestone chapter said that when
he was a boy in the 1930s, every businessman on Main St. was a Mason
save two. Still active in Pipestone, the Masons today offer guided
tours of the murals to share their beauty with others. Following
extensive remodeling to the interior, the
Pipestone Performing Arts Center opened in the Ferris Grand
Block in the spring of 1993.
The Ferris Grand Block is located at 106 E. Main St. and is
open to the public during performances at the Performing
Arts Center. The murals in the Masonic rooms may be viewed by
appointment. The box office number is 507-825-2020. Bus groups and
tours can call 507-825-5537.
In 1897, Leon Moore, who also constructed the Moore
Block at 102 E. Main St., built a Sioux quartzite building at
104 E. Main St. and 107 S. Hiawatha Ave. in the shape of an "L"
around Moore's corner store. It featured a double facade of Sioux
quartzite with two main entrances. Unfortunately, the S. Hiawatha
portion of the building no longer exists. The front facade featured
relief sculptures on the two pilasters adorning its entry. A dry
cleaning establishment occupied the store from 1930 to 1966 when
a fire burned through the west store on S. Hiawatha, leaving a vacant
The 104 E. Main St. building features two recessed areas on the
upper north facade. A polished stone to the west has the word "MOORE"
carved into it. The main feature of the north facade is the polychromatic
effect created by the use of light and dark shades of Sioux quartzite.
The facade is embellished with stone finials and a sandstone relief
sculpture of an angel holding two infants. The sculpture has deteriorated
over the years, partly due to the softness of the stone and partly
to a mistake made by its creator. Moore, a self-taught sculptor,
carved the stone on the wrong grain, causing it to gradually erode.
A grocery store and a bar later occupied the north store on E.
Main St. until 1958, when it was annexed to the S&L store to the
east. At this time, the north facade was modernized with large maroon
tiles. The 1966 fire that completely destroyed the west building
heavily damaged the north store, but the damage was repaired. In
1993 the building was converted into the lobby for the new Pipestone
Performing Arts Center, which occupies this building and the
one to the east. At that time, the front facade underwent a complete
The "L" is located at 104 E. Main St., Pipestone and is open
to the public during performances at the Performing
Arts Center and by appointment. The box office number is 507-825-2020.
Bus groups and tours can call 507-825-5537.
Built in 1896, this 25 foot by 85 foot building was constructed
of Sioux quartzite by Leon H. Moore, a local businessman who owned
and operated a Sioux quartzite quarry. One of the more distinctive
features of this building are the gargoyles that embellish the north
and west facades. Leon Moore was an amateur sculptor who created
the building's gargoyles and other sculptures, including the relief
of Moses on the front facade. One of Moore's masterpieces, it has
the face of Moses surrounded by bulrushes, two female faces, and
the baby in the basket. Another biblical sculpture which adorns
the building is of Eve with a serpent and apples surrounding her
head. The flat stone arches of the two windows facing Main Street
have sculpted heads as their keystones. Legend has it, although
unconfirmed, that Moore had sculpted a statue of a nude woman, rumored
to be Eve, and placed it in the niche on the front facade of the
building. Apparently the townspeople were outraged by this act and
forced the removal of the statue, which was never seen again.
The first floor front facade was modernized in 1938 with black
glass and aluminum trim. Sometime later, two oriel windows on the
west side of the second story were removed. The first floor housed
many businesses, including a shoe store, which occupied the space
for 72 years. In the early years, the second floor was home to doctors
and lawyers and later became apartments. The basement, with its
entrance on the west facade, housed several small businesses. The
upper floors of the building are now vacant.
The Moore Block is located at 102 E. Main St., Pipestone and
is currently a used furniture store, although it is not open to
Among one of the more imposing buildings in town, C. C. Smith and
Mr. Leeds constructed Pipestone City Hall in 1896 following the
architectural designs of Wallace Dow. The building is constructed
of Sioux quartzite and took only seven months to complete at a cost
of $7,822. This building stands out in the streetscape of the city
with its stepped parapet, finials and round arch window. A bell
tower was removed from the third floor due to the structural instability
of the roof. This building is notable in the city for its distinctive
architectural style. The three-story building is built in the Richardsonian
Romanesque style and displays heavy rusticated lintels. The most
character-defining feature of the building is the saddle back roof
with gables adorned with stone coping and finials. The Richardsonian
Romanesque style became popular during the late 19th century because
of its association with the industrialization of America. The robust
stone arches and fortified walls symbolized strength and masculinity,
two images that abound with the energy of industrialization and
the expansion of the railroads across America during this period.
The abundance of Sioux quartzite in Pipestone was conducive to the
Romanesque style which became popular in the town.
The City Hall Building originally housed the fire department, the
local government offices and the city water system. Over the next
64 years, the building also housed the city lock up, public library,
gymnasium, meeting hall and teen center. The fire department and
the city offices moved to new locations in 1959 and 1960, respectively.
In 1966, the city deeded the building to the Pipestone County Historical
Society. Following major renovation and repair to the interior of
the building, the Pipestone
County Museum opened in 1968. The museum and its staff offer
an excellent source for historical information concerning Pipestone
County and its people through changing exhibits, historical and
genealogical research and publications.
The Pipestone City Hall Building, which now houses the Pipestone
County Museum, is located at 113 S. Hiawatha Ave., Pipestone.
The building is open to the public 10:00am to 5:00pm daily. There
is a fee for nonmembers. Call 1-866-PIPEMUS for more information.
The Calumet Hotel was built by Close Brothers and Co., an English
land speculating company which helped Pipestone prosper in the late
19th century. This Richardsonian Romanesque influenced building
dominates the downtown historic district of Pipestone. Its outstanding
features are the large quartzite arch over the northwest door, the
northeast corner door, the north crenelated cornice, the restored
oriel window on the second floor northeast corner and the two engraved
name plates near the top of the north facade. Its light pink jasper
quartzite exterior contrasts with the darker red Sioux quartzite
stone used for most buildings downtown.
Pipestone needed a hotel because of the increased railway traffic
that passed through this growing midwestern town. The Close Brothers
originally built a three-story Sioux quartzite building in 1883,
but three years later fire totally destroyed the venture. The hotel
reopened on Thanksgiving Day, 1888 and had accommodations for 50
guests. The First National Bank had its headquarters in the Calumet's
first floor and basement. In 1899 a three-story addition to the
south provided more guest rooms. The addition can be distinguished
from the original building by the first floor window caps, which
are round instead of square. A second addition in 1913 added the
fourth floor, making a total of 90 guest rooms and maids' quarters.
The original oriel window and balcony were removed in 1912. The
First National Bank was one of about 30 businesses to occupy space
in the Calumet's first floor and basement. One of the more unusual
business ventures housed in the building was the 14-hole Bobby Links
miniature golf course, which was located in the basement in 1914.
Although the owners had deemed the hotel fireproof, in February
1944 a fire gutted all floors of the south section. Repairs were
made and the hotel reopened in April of that year. During the next
30 years the hotel's business declined and the building deteriorated.
By 1978, the State Fire Marshall deemed the hotel unsafe and closed
it. After an extensive rehabilitation between 1979 and 1981, which
included replicating the oriel window, the hotel reopened in 1981.
The Historic Calumet Inn has regained popularity and currently features
guest rooms furnished with antique furniture, a lower level bar,
lounge and restaurant.
The Calumet Hotel is located at 104 W. Main St. and is open
to the public. Call 800-535-7610 or visit www.calumetinn.com/index.htm
for further information.
Walker Block and
The two-story Sioux quartzite building at 106 W. Main St. was constructed
for F.A. Walker in 1896. The pressed metal cornice and polished
stone with the engravings "Walker Block" and "1896" are distinctive
features of the building. The second floor bay window constructed
in the early 1980s is a replica of the original one. Assorted saloons
were located here for 78 years. At different times during the late
1890s and early 1900s the second floor was annexed to the Calumet
Hotel by an arch. Since that time, the second floor has been used
for professional offices and apartments. In 1972 Luksik Drug to
the west in the Cook Drug building annexed the Walker Block to enlarge
The one-story brick store at 108 W. Main St. was built for J. W.
Cook's drug store in 1930. This building has a stepped parapet and
a corbelled frieze. The front facade appears to be nearly original,
aside from the large display windows which seem to be altered. The
outstanding features of the building are the decorative arrangements
on the front facade and the leaded glass window with the name J.
W. Cook inscribed in the center of the amber glass. The drug store
closed during the summer of 1998.
The Walker Block and Cook Drug are located at 106 and 108 W.
Main St., Pipestone, respectively. They are not currently open to
This two-story Sioux quartzite building is distinguished by two
short pyramidal quartzite finials that sit on either side of the
cornice with "18" carved in the east one and "90" in the west. Contractor
William Frost and builder J. M. Poorbaugh built the building for
O. Clymer in 1890. The most distinctive features of this building
include the corbelled cornice interspersed with jasper, arched windows
with Sioux quartzite voussoirs and jasper keystones imposts. The
first floor facade has been modified from the original design.
The city post office occupied the first floor upon completion of
the building and remained there for eight years. In July of 1898,
a one-story addition was added to the rear of the building to house
the seed and feed department of a grocery store. The Colonial Sweet
shop moved into the building in 1914 and three years later, installed
a $1,500 organ. In 1919, the Colonial Sweet shop relocated to its
new building, The Colonial. The Eagle Cafe
also occupied this site, and although it changed hands, it lasted
for over 75 years.
In 1920, a second story was added to the 1898 rear addition, complementing
the original two-story building. An ice cream factory and bottling
works were located in the new addition with a restaurant located
in the front part. A photography studio occupied the second floor
from 1893 to 1955. George Chesley had the first studio which consisted
of five rooms. He sold his business in 1923 to C. E. Sogn who ran
the studio until selling it to S. G. Claseman in 1947. Currently,
the Pipestone County Museum owns approximately
3,000 of Chelsey's glass negatives, mostly of local residents, which
date from the 1880s to the 1920s. Since the early 1950s, the second
floor has been occupied as an apartment.
The Clymer Block is located at 114 W. Main St. Now a used clothing
store, Second Edition, it is open to the public during regular business
This three-story, random coursed Sioux quartzite building was completed
in 1893 for $20,000 to house the Masonic Bodies Meeting Rooms. The
Masons used the building as their headquarters until 1917 when the
group moved to the Ferris Grand Block at 106
E. Main Street. The Masons existed as a fraternal organization that
served the needs of the community through its kinship network. The
rounded spheres located on the top corners represent the terrestrial
and celestial globes of the universe--one of the many lessons of
Masonry. The building also has a corbelled cornice with corner finials,
jasper beltcourses and jasper segmental arches and imposts accenting
the third-story window openings. A leading Pipestone citizen, J.
M. Poorbaugh, who at the time owned one of the stone quarries, oversaw
the stonework. In 1901, an outdoor stairway, which has since been
removed, was placed in the west front corner leading to the barber
shop and cigar factory located in the basement.
The Masons raised money to decorate and furnish their meeting rooms,
located on the third floor, which remained there until 1917. The
first floor was divided into two stores, with a hardware store located
in the east unit until 1945 and later moved to the west unit until
1977. Although the sizes of the first floor stores have been changed
several times, two stores have always occupied the building. The
third floor was used for the manufacture of ladies clothing, house
dresses and aprons for a short time during 1919 to 1920. The third
floor, although unused for many years retains its tin ceiling and
original room arrangement.
The Masonic Temple Building is located at 120-122 West Main
St., Pipestone. It is currently empty and not open to the public.
J.H. Austin Block
This 25 foot by 85 foot two-story Sioux quartzite building was
constructed by P. H. Theil in 1902 for J. H. Austin. The historic
building is notable for its checkerboard-patterned frieze made from
alternating pieces of Jasper and Sioux quartzite, and for its Jasper
quartzite belt course. Austin's Confectionery operated in this building
from its inception in 1902 until Austin's bankruptcy in 1914. The
1893 Columbian Exposition introduced many Americans to a machine
which mass-produced candies or "confectioneries." Confectioneries,
like Austin's, during this time also sold items other than sweets,
such as tobacco and other foodstuffs.
Over the years, the building became home to a number of different
businesses including a hospital run by Dr. Richards in the 1920s,
and a grocery store, which inhabited the space
for 26 years. Apartments and other professional offices once occupied
the second floor, but now are vacant. Several barbershops and ice
cream and candy factories have also occupied the basement level.
The facade of the building has changed when red tiles replaced the
transom lights and aluminum siding once covered the first floor
facade. Despite these alterations, the building remains important
to the city of Pipestone.
The J. H. Austin Block is located at 124 West Main St., Pipestone.
Now the Thoughtfulness Shop, it is open during regular business
Pipestone's first hospital was located in this one and a half story
25 by 50-foot Sioux quartzite building. Constructed in 1912, the
Brown Hospital is the only historic property related to the community's
medical history. The building also has the distinction of being
the only example in the historic district of a Sioux quartzite building
that incorporates in its principle gable wooden overlays, clapboard,
and scalloped shingle siding. The windows are recessed in the arch
which overhangs the front porch. The roof still retains its original
pressed metal roofing.The main floor contained offices for two doctors,
a waiting room, dispensary and surgery room. The elevator to the
four-room hospital on the second floor was unique in that it was
large enough for a patient's bed.
Dr. Alex H. Brown practiced medicine here until he retired in 1945.
A few years later, the practice was taken over by his grandson, Dr.
Robert Keyes, who retired in 1993. In the early years, the basement
housed a shoe store run by Dr. Brown's cousin, followed by other small
businesses. Upon Dr. Keyes' retirement, the building and much of its
contents were given to the Pipestone County Historical Society. In
January 1997, Historic Pipestone, Inc., a non-profit group dedicated
to historic preservation, purchased the building. The group is in
the process of restoring the exterior to its 1912 appearance. The
interior remains much the same today except for the removal of the
Brown Hospital is located at 116 2nd Ave., SW, Pipestone and
is open by appointment. It is open the first Saturday of every month
for a used book sale, or call 507-825-3413 to schedule an appointment.
School Superintendent's House
The Pipestone Indian School Superintendent's residence, built in
1907, is significant in Minnesota history for its association with
federal policies towards American Indians, particularly the role
the United States' government played in attempting to assimilate
Indians through policies in education. This building is a rare remnant
from what was once a sprawling farm campus that had over 60 buildings
and a capacity for about 400 students. From 1886 to 1887 a dramatic
shift occurred in federal Indian policy. The Dawes Severalty Act
of 1887 emphasized assimilation of Indians into mainstream American
culture, and the educational system was an integral part of this
new policy. The federal government believed that boarding schools,
like that established in Pipestone in the 1890s, were advantageous
because the government could maintain greater control over the Indians
during their education. Boarding schools could also be more successful
in overcoming the Indian's cultural ties. Not surprisingly, many
parents of the Indian youth strongly objected to this new compulsory
educational policy that would take their children from them and
their culture. They resented the development of a school system
without their consent or advise, and the attempt to assimilate their
children at the cost of removing them from their traditional cultures.
In 1892, the first Pipestone Indian School building was finished.
Children began arriving from all over the Midwest from such tribes
as the Dakota, Oneida, Pottawatomie, Arickarree, Sac and Fox. As
was typical of federal Indian vocational schools, students usually
spent half their day in the classroom and the other half learning
occupations such as farming, blacksmithing, masonry, carpentry,
cooking, baking, and nursing. The training of students in these
industrial skills was resented by many Indians who saw this essentially
as menial chores.
As government programs changed, funding decreased, and the role
of the Indian school diminished until 1953 when the school was closed.
When Southwestern Vocational Technical Institute opened in 1976,
nearly all of the original Indian School buildings were removed
or destroyed. However, the Superintendent's Residence survived and
was used as a private residence until 1983. Since that time the
building has been the property of Minnesota West Community College
(although the name has been changed several times) and used for
The Superintendent's House is located on the campus of Minnesota
West Community College on N. Hiawatha Ave., Pipestone and is not
open to the public.
Pipestone National Monument, created by an act of Congress in 1937,
is an area of ethnological, archeological and historical significance
that preserves the pipestone quarries in a natural prairie setting.
For centuries American Indians have come to this site to quarry
the red stone called pipestone. Through the years pipes carved from
pipestone have been used for many purposes: to show intention for
war or peace, to seal agreements and treaties, for trade, and for
religious ceremonies. Today, only American Indians may remove the
soft red stone from the area.
The United States government's policy toward American Indians shifted
in the 1930s with the introduction of John Collier as Commissioner
of Indian Affairs. Appointed by Harold Ikes, Collier brought about
reforms in Indian policy promoting cultural preservation and tribal
self-government for American Indians. In preserving the sacred pipestone
quarry for tribal use only, the U.S. government recognized the importance
and heritage of the people who first populated the area.
The soft red stone is found in a vein between layers of the harder
red Sioux quartzite. Methods of quarrying have changed little since
the process began. Quarrying is a laborious task involving weeks
of work with hand tools, including sledgehammers, pry bars, sharp
chisels, and metal wedges. The experience of the quarrier is also
a major legacy of the monument. Many of the quarry pits have walls
of quartzite rubble, which represent the physical efforts of generations
of quarriers. Pipestone National Monument preserves the mile-long
quarry line for continued use by members of all American Indian
Attractions at the site include operating quarries, native plants,
rock formations, Winnewissa Falls, Leaping Rock, and a marker from
the Nicollet Expedition. The visitor's center includes interpretive
displays, films and information. A cultural center helps to explain
the art of pipemaking and American Indian work.
Pipestone National Monument is administered by the National
Park Service and is open to the public daily. Pipestone National
Monument is located just north of the city of Pipestone. Follow
signs from U.S. Rte. 75, Minn. Rte. 23, or Minn. Rte. 30. Admission
is charged. For further information, visit their website
or call 507-825-5464.
Rock Island Depot
The Rock Island Railroad Depot, built in 1890, is Pipestone's only
remaining depot. In Pipestone's heyday, there were four rail lines
going into the city. As one of the major reasons for Pipestone's
prosperity, the railroad is central to the history of this small
Minnesota town. The 26-foot by 80-foot depot is constructed of cream
colored bricks, trimmed in Sioux quartzite. The freight room is
wider and taller than the rest of the building, resulting in a projecting
roofline and gables. A rectangular bay extends toward the track
from the freight office. Two waiting rooms, one for male and one
for female patrons, still exist and each have separate entrances
and chimneys. Due to the decline in railroad usage, the depot closed
in the 1960s.
For a time during the 1970s the depot served as a center for American
Indians called the Spirit of Peace Indian Center. After sitting empty
for several years, Historic Pipestone, Inc., acquired the depot in
1986. Since that time, the exterior has been restored with matching
grants from the Minnesota Historical Society. In January 1997, Historic
Pipestone, Inc. sold the depot to a American Indian organization,
Keepers of the Sacred Tradition of Pipemakers. They have since completed
renovation of the interior. Included is an art gallery, gift shop
and meeting rooms.
The Rock Island Depot is located in the 400 block of N. Hiawatha
Ave., Pipestone. Summer hours are Monday-Saturday, 10:00am to 6:00pm,
Sunday noon-6:00pm. Winter hours vary. For further information call
888-550-8675 or visit the website
of the Keepers of the Sacred Tradition of Pipemakers.
Since its completion in 1921, Pipestone's concrete water tower
has been a visible landmark of the city, rising high above the countryside
and marking the city to travelers from several miles in the distance.
Designed by L. P. Wolff of St. Paul, the structure is one of only
two known water towers designed by Wolff in the United States and
is significant for its poured concrete construction. The other tower
is located in Brainerd, Minnesota. Campbell Construction Company
built the tower from 1920 to 1921 for a cost of $24,610. The tower
is 132 feet tall and approximately 25 feet in diameter. The interior
of the supporting column is open and punctuated by a spiral series
of windows. The concrete bowl atop the tower holds 150,000 gallons
of water. At the time of construction, a 500,000-gallon underground
reservoir was created at the base of the tower. With no natural
glacial lakes in the area and sporadic rainfall, the tower is necessary
to store the precious moisture taken from the soil. The tower draws
water up from the earth through a pump and then gravity allows the
water to flow when needed.
The structure is unusual in that there are windows and an interior
stairway. The water tower began serving the city October 26, 1921,
replacing an aging steel standpipe erected in the late 1880s. The
concrete water tower continued to supply the city with water until
1976, when a newer, larger water tower was built. A restoration
project was undertaken in the spring of 1990 with matching funds
from "Celebrate Minnesota 1990." Along with the restoration of the
tower, a wayside rest area was established. The restored tower became
the focal point of an annual community celebration, the Water Tower
Festival, which is held the last weekend in June.
The concrete water tower is located in the 500 block of 2nd
St., NE., Pipestone. The tower is not open to the public but the
rest area is open from spring to fall.
Andrew Carnegie, the wealthy late 19th-century steel baron, became
the benefactor of many small towns and communities through his philanthropic
enterprises. Between 1886 and 1919, Carnegie donated more than $40
million to build 1,679 new libraries across America. Many communities
could not afford libraries on their own and Andrew Carnegie believed
literacy was the key to help assimilate new immigrants into mainstream
America. The Carnegie building in Pipestone is one such library
that impacted this small Midwestern town. To be chosen as a location
for a Carnegie library, a town had to possess land and be willing
to pay for the upkeep of the library.
Constructed between 1903 and 1904, this 45 foot by 60 foot Sioux quartzite
building was designed by Joseph Swartz and built by George Redmon.
With its prominent raised Gothic arch entry and rounded northeast
corner, the design is typical of other Carnegie libraries. The entrance
of the building is articulated by a gabled wall, which projects from
the front of the building. Pointed arches constructed of pink quartzite
define the door openings. A circular stained glass window is located
above the door and is enclosed within the arch. The front gable also
has a raised relief panel depicting an open book, and a decorative
band of pink quartzite separates the first and second stories. In
1976 when the public library was combined with the high school collection,
forming a community library, the library relocated in a new section
of the public high school. Later that year the exterior of the Carnegie
building was restored and the interior adapted for use as a local
senior citizens' center.
The Pipestone Public Library, now the location of Senior Citizens
of Pipestone, is located at 217 S. Hiawatha Ave., Pipestone and
is open to the public weekdays 8:30am to 4:30pm and during evening
functions. Call 507-825-3252 for further information.
The County Courthouse is the most elaborately designed building
in Pipestone County and is among the most outstanding examples of
local use of quartzite stone. Built on land donated by Daniel Sweet,
the Courthouse was designed by architect George Pass in 1899 and
constructed by C. H. Peltier at a cost of $45,000. The Beaux Arts
style is a particularly interesting choice for the building because
of its association with power and civic pride. The building is noted
for its architectural merit consisting of a rectangular plan with
two slightly projecting bays at either end of the front facade and
projecting entrances on both sides. A highly decorated square tower
in the center of the front facade rises 110 feet above the ground
and is topped by a dome and a figure of Lady Justice. The four clock
faces in the tower have no clockworks and were never intended to
The Courthouse lawn contains the Memorial Soldier statue sculpted
of Duluth sandstone by Leon H. Moore, a prominent Pipestone citizen.
The four sides of the base contain the names of 204 Civil War and
Spanish American War veterans from Pipestone County. For 24 years,
a Civil War cannon, given by the City of Pipestone, joined the statue.
The cannon eventually was returned to patriotic service by being donated
to the scrap metal drive during World War II. In 1962, the American
Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars purchased a surplus World War
II Sherman tank to honor the veterans of the 20th-century wars. The
tank is located on the north lawn along with the Memorial Soldier
statue. The Courthouse underwent a complete restoration in 1995 and
was rededicated in November of 1996.
The Pipestone County Courthouse is located at 416 S. Hiawatha
Ave., Pipestone and is open weekdays 8:00am to 4:30pm. Call 507-825-6740
for further information.
Ihlen, five miles south of Pipestone, was founded in 1888. The
Ihlen Mercantile, constructed in 1885 by John Olson, was the first
business establishment in Ihlen and remained in operation as a general
store and post office until 1985. The building is a white frame
building consisting of two units joined by a common wall. The one-story
portion was constructed at a later date for use as a cream handling
station. The outside stairway on the south side of the building
was removed for safety reasons. A gable type roof was added to eliminate
A railroad town, Ihlen was selected as the freight division point
for the Great Northern Railroad. One reason Ihlen received the distinction
of the hub of the freight division is that there was already a reservoir
there to act as a source of water for the steam engines. With the
decline of steam powered locomotives, the town of Ihlen lost its
railroad distinction, and slowly became the sleepy little village
it is today.
The building is located on the northwest corner of Holman St.
and Sherman Ave. in the village of IhIen. The building is not open
to the public.
Split Rock Bridge
Built as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, the Split
Rock Bridge is an outstanding example of an ornamental park bridge,
achieving its aesthetic effect through the purity of its form and
the beauty of its random ashlar masonry. The WPA was part of President
Franklin Roosevelt's depression-era New Deal Program. The purpose
of the WPA was to provide meaningful work to the unemployed and
in the process preserve their skills and self-respect. It intended
to stimulate the economy by offering the unemployed paid positions,
which would enable them to help the economy with their spending.
Split Rock Bridge is a single span stone arch highway bridge that
carries an unpaved north and south road over Split Rock Creek. The
bridge is constructed of locally quarried bluish pink Sioux quartzite
with rock faced and split faced surfaces. Symmetrically framed by
stepped, flared random ashlar wing walls, the bridge displays a
single segmental arch with random ashlar spandrel walls--the largest
stone-arch span of any active highway bridge in the state. Surmounted
by a well-defined coping, the parapets rise above the
roadway level to serve as railings. At the south end of the east railing,
a commemorative stone plaque bears the inscription "Split Rock Bridge/
Works Progress/ Administration Project/ 1938." The bridge was completed
for an approximate cost of $46,000 and survives in an unaltered condition
today. The stone was cut from the Miller Quarry in nearby Jasper and
was custom cut to fit at the quarry. The keystones of the arch weigh
between 7,000 and 8,000 pounds and the total weight of the arch is
estimated at 15,000 pounds.
Split Rock Bridge and Split Rock Creek State Park are located
about one mile south of Ihlen at 336 5th Ave. For further information,
call 507-348-7908 or visit the Split Rock State Park website.
John Rowe House
The John Rowe House (or Farrar House) is a simple bungalow, like
many found across the country; however, the house is unusual because
it is sheathed in locally quarried stone. John Rowe, a quarry man,
purchased this property in 1903 for $1,000. At that time, he altered
the appearance of the existing wood frame house by re-siding it
with Sioux quartzite. The one and a half story house has an irregular,
but basically rectangular plan. Midway down each side of the building
are projecting bays. The east bay is rectangular, while the west
bay is rounded with a conical roof. The hipped roof has dormers
and gables at the front and sides. The dormers and gables were not
covered by Sioux quartzite at the time of Rowe's other alterations.
The whole first story is of rough cut quartzite construction.
The Rowe House is significant as a common bungalow house type
expressed in uncommon materials. The house is modest, yet substantial,
and is a striking addition to the town's residential district. This
house is in excellent condition and retains much of its original
The John Rowe House is located at 200 East 2nd St., Jasper,
and is not open to the public.
The Gerber Hospital, the small town of Jasper's first and only
hospital, was constructed around 1914 for Dr. Louise M. Gerber.
Modeled after a chalet in Gerber's homeland of Switzerland, the
hospital was constructed of the stone from a building across the
street that had collapsed because of a poor foundation. Dr. Gerber
living quarters were in the basement level, while the upper floors
were hospital wards. At one time the front porch was enclosed and
served as a hospital ward. The building remained a hospital until
1932 when it was sold. The hospital was turned into a private residence
in 1939, at which time the interior arches, and room designs changed.
A Sioux quartzite fireplace was also added at that time. The frame
roof has stick style elements: a gentle pitch, broad gables and
projecting rafters. The stone construction, of Jasper Sioux quartzite,
is visually striking. The raised basement has lunette windows. A
garage at the rear of the house is of similar style and was built
at the same time.
The Gerber Hospital is located at 120 E. Wall St., Jasper. Still
a private residence, it is not open to the public.
Bauman Hall was constructed in 1881 as a hotel for quarry workers
in the town of North Sioux Falls, where the building was originally
located. North Sioux Falls was the site of a Sioux quartzite quarry,
three miles north of Jasper. The quarries and town were shut down
in the early 1900s. As there was no longer a need for a hotel in
North Sioux Falls, Henry Holvig had the hotel building disassembled
stone by stone and brought to Jasper where it was reassembled in
1908. Fred Bauman purchased the building in 1916, after which the
hall became a store known as Silverbergs. All local school events
were held on the second floor of the hall until the 1930s when a
gymnasium was erected.
Sacks Brothers General Store moved to the first floor of the Bauman
building in 1933, and remained there for nearly 30 years. From 1960
to 1973 it functioned as a grocery store. For the next eight years
it held various businesses. The second floor was used during much
of the 20th century as the town's social hall, used for activities
such as roller-skating, school plays, basketball games, medicine shows
and graduation ceremonies. Following a $71,000 renovation in 1981,
it became the Jasper Senior Citizen's Center.
The building, now the Jasper Senior Citizen's Center, is located
at 201 W. Wall St., Jasper. It is open Tuesday through Friday during
normal business hours.
Company and Quarry
The five Rae brothers, who immigrated from Scotland in 1886,
were the primary organizers and promoters of the first stone quarry
in Jasper. In 1888 shortly after the town was founded, Swedish immigrant
stonecutters began arriving to work in the quarries. These skilled
artisans produced building and paving blocks, using hand tools in
an age-old stonecutting art that required both knowledge and physical
skills. In its early days, the quarry furnished immense quantities
of building blocks that were shipped to cities by rail. The stone
was greatly sought after because of its hardness, elegance and permanent
C. F. Lytle, founder of the Jasper Stone Company, purchased the
Jasper quarries in 1916. He was the first of three generations to
own the company. He was followed by his son F. K. Lytle and his
grandson C. F. (Bud) Lytle, who still operates the quarry. Of the
four quarries once located in the area, Jasper Stone Company and
Quarry is the only one still operating. Today stone blocks and pebbles
are produced for lining industrial mills for use in grinding many
elements. The stone is also cut and polished for use as cemetery
monuments. The processing of stone has changed drastically from
the labor intensive hand cutting method of the past to a one quarter
long wire cutting system. A small number of workers are currently
employed at the quarry, which occupies about 100 acres of land.
The Jasper Stone Company and Quarry is located in the south
part of Jasper, just over the county border in Rock County. It is still an active quarry--visit www.jasperstoneco.com. The
quarry site is not open to visitors, but a video describing the
entire mining process is available for viewing at the Jasper Area
Historical Museum, 102 E. Wall St., Jasper. Call 507-348-9841
for further information.
By clicking on one of these links, you can go directly to a particular
Bibliography of Pipestone, Minnesota
Pipestone, Minnesota Children's Literature
Links to Minnesota Tourism and Preservation
Links to Historic Places Featured in this Itinerary
of Pipestone, Minnesota
Catlin, George. Indian Art in Pipestone: George Catlin's Portfolio
in the British Museum. London: British Museum Publications;
Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1979.
Clark, Caven P. Archeological Survey of a Controlled Burn at
Pipestone National Monument, Pipestone County, Minnesota. Lincoln,
NE: U.S. Dept. of Interior, National Park Service, Midwest Archeological
Erdoes, Richard and Alfonso Ortiz, editors. American Indian
Myths and Legends. New York: Pantheon Books, 1984.
Haberly, Loyd. Pursuit of the Horizon: A Life of George Catlin,
Painter & Recorder of American Indian. New York, Macmillan
Harnsberger, John L. Jay Cooke and Minnesota: The Formative
Years of the Northern Pacific Railroad, 1868-1873. New York:
Arno Press, 1981.
Hintz, Martin. Country Roads of Minnesota: Drives, Day Trips,
and Weekend Excursions. Lincolnwood, IL: Country Roads Press,
Hughes, David T. Perceptions of the Sacred: A Review of Selected
American Indian Groups and Their Relationships with the Catlinite
Quarries. Wichita, KS: Anthropological Research Laboratories,
Dept. of Anthropology, Wichita State University, 1992.
Keillor, Steven J. Cooperative Commonwealth: Co-Ops in Rural
Minnesota, 1859-1939. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society
Lamar, Howard R., editor. The New Encyclopedia of the American
West. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998.
Lavenda, Robert H. Corn Fests and Water Carnivals: Celebrating
Community in Minnesota. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution
Luecke, John C. The Great Northern in Minnesota: The Foundations
of an Empire. St. Paul, MN: Grenadier Publications, 1997.
Meyer, Roy Willard. Everyone's Country Estate: A History of
Minnesota's State Parks. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical
Society Press, 1991.
Moore, Willard B. Circles of Tradition: Folk Arts in Minnesota.
St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1989.
Murray, Robert A. A History of Pipestone National Monument,
Minnesota. Pipestone, MN: Pipestone Indian Shrine Association,
Pipestone County Historical Society. A History of Pipestone
County. Dallas, TX: Taylor Publishing Company, 1984.
Pipestone County Historical Society. Couteau Heritage, Journal
of the Pipestone County Historical Society. 1989.
Rothman, Hal and Daniel J. Holder. Managing the Sacred and the
Secular: An Administrative History of Pipestone National Monument.
Henderson, NV: Hal K. Rothman and Associates, 1992.
Sutter, Barton. Cold Comfort: Life at the Top of the Map.
Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1998.
Wilson, Robert S. Trolley Trails Through the West. Yakima,
WA: Wilson Bros. Publications, 1978.
Minnesota Children's Literature
Dygard, Thomas J. Wilderness Peril. New York : Morrow, 1985.
Nelson, S.D. Gift Horse: A Lakota Story. New York: Harry
N. Abrams, 1999.
Plain, Nancy. The Man Who Painted Indians: George Catlin.
New York: Benchmark Books, 1997.
Shaw, Janet Beeler. Kirsten Saves the Day: A Summer Story.
Middleton, WI: Pleasant Company Publications, 2000.
Wilder, Laura Ingalls. On the Banks of Plum Creek. New York:
Harper Trophy, 1971
to Pipestone Tourism and Preservation
Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitor Bureau
Find local businesses, special events, and area attractions, as
well as lodging and restaurants at this official site for Pipestone,
Located in the Pipestone City Hall, the museum is dedicated to the
preservation of the history of Pipestone County, Minnesota, and
operates a historical museum with many artifacts and as genealogical
Pipestone National Monument
Discover online the natural beauty of this National Monument. Included
in this site are directions, information on fees and facilities,
and activities held at the park.
Rock State Park
Located six miles south of Pipestone, this state park offers hiking
trails, fishing, boat rentals, a beach, and lodging. Directions
and a history of the southwest region of the state can also be found
Office of Tourism
Learn more about Minnesota's attractions, including arts and entertainment,
nature and the outdoors, and local community information. Discover
the scenic byways of the state or use the trip planner to help organize
a vacation. State and city publications can also be ordered online
free of charge.
Indian Shrine Association
This organization traces its roots back to the 1930s when the first
attempts at recognizing the area as a National Park were first made.
Their offices are located within the visitor center of the monument
in the Midwest Indian Cultural Center. The site is largely comprised
of a progressive history of the pipes made from the pipestone and
is complemented by many images.
Established in 1849, this nonprofit organization collects and preserves
Minnesota's history through its museum exhibits, libraries, historic
sites, and educational programs. An alphabetical list of the county
historical societies are also included within this site.
Fieldnotes of Pipestone National Monument
The processes of digging and carving the bowls and stems from the
pipestone are spelled out in this site, along with links to the
National Park Service's sites on Pipestone National Monument.
of the Sacred Tradition of Pipemakers
Formed in 1996, this international group was organized to protect
the pipestone quarries of Minnesota from exploitation or ownership
by any one specific tribe or group of people. Pipes, jewelry, and
art are available for sale online.
American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER)
The HABS/HAER program documents important architectural, engineering
and industrial sites throughout the United States and its territories.
Their collections, which include several historic sites in Pipestone,
are archived at the Library of Congress and available online. You
can view these by clicking on the link above and entering the search
terms "Pipestone" and "Minnnesota."
Trust for Historic Preservation
Learn about the programs of and membership in the oldest national
non-profit preservation organization.
National Park Service Office
National parks have been interwoven with tourism from their earliest
days. This website highlights the ways in which the NPS promotes
and supports sustainable, responsible, informed, and managed visitor
use through cooperation and coordination with the tourism industry.
National Scenic Byways Program
This website, maintained by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, includes information on state and nationally designated byway routes throughout America based on their archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic qualities. Visit the America’s Byways Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway website for more ideas.
to Historic Places Featured in this Itinerary
Pipestone, Minnesota, was produced by the National Park
Service (NPS), U.S. Department of the Interior, in cooperation with
the Pipestone Heritage Preservation Commission, Pipestone County
Musuem, Jasper Area Historical Society, Pipestone National Monument,
the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office, the National Conference
of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), and the National
Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC). It was created under
the direction of Carol D. Shull, Keeper of the National Register
of Historic Places, National Park Service, Patrick Andrus, Heritage
Tourism Director, and Beth L. Savage, Publications Director. Pipestone,
Minnesota, is based on information in the files of the National
Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks collections.
These materials are kept at 800 North Capitol St., Washington, D.C.,
and are open to the public from 9:00am to 4:00pm, Monday through
Lorraine Draper of the Pipestone Heritage Preservation Commission
and Rebecca Ostrom, Assistant Director of the Pipestone County Museum
conceptualized and compiled photographic and written materials for
the itinerary. Contextual essays were written by Rebecca Ostrom
and Rustin Quaide (NCSHPO). The itinerary was designed by Nathan
Poe, independent contractor with the National Register. The map
was designed by Shannon Bell (of NCSHPO), who coordinated project
production for the National Register, along with web production
team members Jeff Joeckel and Rustin Quaide (both of NCSHPO). Further
editorial, photographic, and web assistance was provided by Sarah
Pope (NPS), Sandra Scaffidi and Yen M. Tang (both of National Council
of Preservation Educators). Special thanks to Geraldine Peterson,
the Jasper Area Historical Society, and Betty McSwain with the Pipestone
National Monument who provided additional information and photographs.