In front of you stands the Faribault House, built by long-time fur trader Jean-Baptiste in 1839. Faribault was originally from the Montreal area, and had been associated with the British and American fur traders since the late 1790s. He built this spacious home for his wife, Pelagie, and their children. In 1853, after Pelagie died, he and his son Alexander moved to what is now the town of Faribault
After Jean-Baptiste left, a series of owners tried to make a living as hoteliers. By the 1860s the once-thriving town of Mendota was losing ground to the rapidly growing Minneapolis and St. Paul. Once demand for temporary lodging fell off, the home became a farmhouse.
By 1900 the Sibley and Faribault homes were shells of their former glory. Both were used as warehouses for onions and potatoes, and a railroad spur was built right to the front of the house to facilitate loading and unloading. Originally restored by the Works progress Administration in the 1930s, the Faribault House was acquired by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1935.
The Faribault House became home to the substantial DAR collection of Indian artifacts and served as a museum of relics. Today it is restored to the 1840s and houses an exhibit on the history of the site after the Civil War.
Just up the hill to the west is St. Peter's Catholic Church, the oldest parish in the state. Father Lucien Galtier arrived in the area in 1840, and by 1842 he built a chapel just west of the Faribault House. In 1853 Father Augustine Ravoux built a new chapel, which still stands today.
Historic Fort Snelling
Minnesota Historical Society
Sibley House Historic Site
All images are from the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society