Archive for the ‘Farmhouse’ Category

Daniel F Akin House in Farmington

Monday, January 6th, 2020
Daniel F. Akin House

19185 Akin Road, Farmington

This gorgeous yellow hued field stone house was built between 1856-1860 by Daniel F. Akin and is a fine example of the early Italian Villa style in Minnesota and could have been adapted from Andrew Jackson Downing 1850s architecture book. It’s quite large for a local farmhouse in a rural community and is beautifully built of local field stone with 24 inch think walls. Since 1885, its location has been used for local weather observations.

Akin was born in 1828 in New York and moved to Minnesota in 1856. A graduate of Yale University, Akin worked as a land surveyor until he transitioned into agriculture. Soon his interest turned to scientific farming, as new technologies were discovered. He served as president of the county agricultural society in the 1870s and was one of the first apple growers in Dakota County.  Akin also loved meteorology and climatology, conducting weather observations for the Army Signal Corps. When the National Weather Bureau was established in 1891, he continued documenting his observations with the bureau. After his death in 1909, his son and grandson continued the tradition with local observations. (His grandson reported weather results for 60 years!)

The Day – Lewis House in Hastings

Friday, April 12th, 2019
200-202 E 7th Street, Hastings

At the corner of 7th and Sibley in Hastings sits a piece of local history that has a mysterious beginning. The Day-Lewis House reportedly dates back to around 1860 when it was built in a simple Greek Revival – Farmhouse Vernacular style. The fact that the home remains in a mostly unaltered exterior state is phenomenal, especially with its 6-over-6 double hung windows.

Benjamin Day hailed from the state of Maine, relocating to Hastings in 1856 and opening up a carpentry shop downtown. Though he purchased the lot the home sits on that same year, he never built a home there, but instead sold the lot to William Lewis in 1857. One would think that the home was then built on the lot, since historians believe the home was constructed around 1860, but records show no home was present until at least after 1867 (see map below).

1867 Bird’s Eye View Map of Hastings showing a vacant lot

Records show that the Lewis family also purchased the lot behind the home in 1867, thus giving the impression that he was preparing to build on the land. Knowing local history, it could be reasoned that no building happened on the land earlier due to the financial crises of 1857-1859, and then the beginning of the Civil War. It could then be guessed that the home arrived shortly thereafter 1867, either built as-is or being moved from another location in Hastings or the defunct settlement of Nininger (Nininger suffered greatly during the financial crisis and was largely abandoned by 1867). OR…the historians have the date of construction wrong and it actually was built circa 1868.

Having reviewed the pages of the original abstract, no mortgage was taken out on the lot by Lewis (which would indicate a home stood there), and according to an article about a previous owner, it was discovered that the house had no footings about 20 years ago when he decided to jack the house and install a basement. The only thing holding up the home was dirt, or a small stone foundation. If only more records existed to tell us how this home came to be! So for now, the home is keeping its original origin and year of construction a mystery…but we can still at least appreciate its will to survive.

An older photo of the home

As for William Lewis, he lived in the home with his family until his death in 1872 and it remained in the family until 1887. It has gone back and forth as a duplex or single family home, and is currently For Sale.

More photos of the home can be viewed HERE