Sauk Rapids Home that Survived 1886 Tornado Turns 150 Years
SAUK RAPIDS (WJON News) -- A historic home in downtown Sauk Rapids, one of the few structures left standing after the 1886 tornado is hitting a major milestone.
If walls could talk, the Robinson Stanton House would have quite a story to tell.
It was built in 1873, making it 150 years old this year. It is on the corner of 2nd Avenue South and 2nd Street South in Sauk Rapids.
Benton County Historical Society Executive Director Mary Ostby says there were other homes that survived too, but none of them were as well documented as this one.
She says the main reason it was still standing while everything around it fell is that it was made out of granite walls.
The 1874 Minnesota State Atlas did a feature on the home highlighting that it was the only house in the state that was built out of granite.
It was built by Leonard Robinson who also had a quarry pretty close to where Coborn's is today.
However, the Judson Stanton family owned the house by the time the tornado ripped through town. His kids were in the house at the time but walked away unharmed.
In total, 73 people lost their lives in the tornado. The bulk of the damage was in Sauk Rapids, but several surrounding communities were also hit. The disaster was so massive that it was covered by the national news including Harpers Weekly.
The Benton County Historical Society bought the historic home in November 2019 and has been slowly renovating it. Phase one, which is the main floor, is primarily done.
Ostby says the preservation work has included taking down some of the sheetrock to show the exposed granite walls. Eventually, the stucco on the exterior of the home will also come down.
They have also refinished the originally 1873 floors and the original staircase.
There were 10 bathrooms in the home, but now they are down to eight.
Additions were made to the house in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and in 1990s.
All totaled there are 9,400 square feet of space for the historical society.
The house, which is now the main office of the Benton County Historical Society, is open to the public free of charge Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Their old offices are in the process of being sold.
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