Posts Tagged ‘neoclassical’

The Vasa Children’s Home

Friday, June 2nd, 2017
Vasa Children's Home

15251 Old Childrens Home Road, Vasa Township, MN

When Hans Mattson immigrated from Sweden and founded “Mattson’s Settement” in 1853, along with other Swedish farmers, little did he know how his small town would hold so much hope for others. (He himself would become the Minnesota Secretary of State, serve in the Civil War, and become the United States Consul General of India). A decade later, after Reverend Eric Norelius founded the local Lutheran church, the true calling of the town began to unfold with the creation of what would become the first private children’s home in Minnesota.

In 1865 Reverend Norelius learned of four children in St. Paul, recently immigrated from Sweden, that were orphaned and in need of care. Norelius brought them to Vasa and housed them in the basement of the Lutheran church. Not being adequate for long term living, he was able to purchase 10 acres of land a few years later near the church, and in 1869, built a small house for the children. This was the first of four homes to be used for orphans on the present day land. In 1876, a second larger house was built, but it was destroyed by a tornado in 1879. The third home, built with-in the year, was destroyed by fire in 1899 when a young child was playing with matches in a clothes closet. The Neo-classical styled home seen today was built in 1899, soon after the fire, and is the final remaining home built on this location. It ceased being a children’s home when a new facility was built outside of Red Wing in 1926, but through it’s years has witnessed and cared for hundreds of children.

The Original School House

The home sat vacant for nearly 40 years, until a couple bought the home in 1968 and began restoring the property. It currently is comprised of 2 parcels totaling 34 acres of woods, pasture, and tillable land. Further improvements have been made by subsequent owners since then, including the grounds, expansive gardens, the addition of a guest house, and more. Today, this historic home stands as a testament to the hard work of many to preserve it for future generations. A few other structures that still stand and are original to the property include a small school house, barn and silo, and caretaker’s cottage. There are several building ruins on the site, too.

Barn and Silo

One of the original barns and silo still standing.

The home was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places, along with the Vasa Township Historic District, in 1975.

It is currently For Sale with more photos and a 3-D interactive tour at the Property Website.

The second children's home built on site.
Second Children's Home destroyed by tornado in 1879.
Fourth children's home, circa 1900.
Fourth children's home showing an additional building, circa 1900
Photo of fourth home circa 1907 with school house in back of photo.
Fourth home with children, windmill can be seen in back of photo.