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🍺 Stevens House and Minnehaha Falls debauchery of yore

Debate about repairing the Stevens House at Minnehaha Park recalls a colorful vignette from the park's sordid past.

Longfellow Whatever
4 min read
🍺 Stevens House and Minnehaha Falls debauchery of yore
The Stevens House (undated) | Hennepin County Library

The Stevens House has been in the news lately, as the Park Board plans how to restore the thrice-arsoned historic structure that resides in Minnehaha Park.

Besides being an important debate about the balance of preservation versus liability, talk of the Stevens House is also an excuse to share one of my favorite vignettes from Karen E. Cooper's recent book on the park's sordid history: Corrupt Sargent John O'Brien's deer and beer parties in the house. But before we crash that party, let's pregame with some quick news context:

A quick background

Colonel and ferry operator John H. Stevens built his house in 1849 where the downtown post office now stands and it's considered kind-of-sort-of the oldest house in Minneapolis. In the frontier days it served as a courthouse, polling site, and a place to carry out important actions, like founding Hennepin County and naming Minneapolis.