Located in the small town of Le Sueur, Minnesota is a very small house that drivers could easily travel by without knowing it’s historical significance. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, as well as a Minnesota historical site, this Gothic style home was hand-built in 1859 by Dr. William Worrell Mayo.
Dr. Mayo arrived in the United States in 1845 from England, settling in New York where he worked as a pharmacist. He then moved to Layfayette, Indiana where he earned his medical degree in 1850 from the Indiana Medical College. (He earned a second medical degree in 1854 from the University of Missouri.) After living in Indiana for a time, he found his way to Minnesota after being plagued by malaria outbreaks. He eventually settled in Le Sueur after serving as the first county commissioner of St. Louis County. Having built the home himself, he lived here with his family, setting up his first medical practice in a room upstairs. It was in 1864 that he moved his family to the town of Rochester, Minnesota where he served as the examining surgeon for the Minnesota Civil War draft board. It was with his two sons, William and Charles, that St. Mary’s hospital was created, known today as the Mayo Clinic.
As for the small little house in Le Sueur, it wasn’t finished housing future nationally known individuals. Carson Cosgrove and his family moved into the home in 1874, with three generations living there through the 1920s. In 1903, Cosgrove conducted the organizational meeting for the Minnesota Valley Canning Company, later serving as the head of the company. We know this company today as the Green Giant Company.
Fun Fact: The door to his home office is five feet seven inches in height – forcing his taller patients to stoop, but just what the doctor needed for his own five-foot-four-inch frame.
If you would like to learn more about the history of the Mayo family, please visit the Mayo Clinic History and Heritage site.