Sherburne History Center

Sherburne History Center
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Friday, May 21, 2021

National Register Sites in Sherburne County

View of Fox House in its original condition

With May being National Historic Preservation Month, it seems appropriate to talk about one of the five National Register sites in Sherburne County.  The most obscure and underappreciated of the sites must be the Herbert Maximillian Fox House.  So, we need to look at this structure to appreciate the impact and influence the site provides. 

 The original owner and builder of the Fox House remains unknown.  Before Herbert Fox, Ole Martinson purchased an 80-acre parcel along the St Francis River.  He later sold the parcel to Samuel P. Glidden, who in turn sold it to Fox.  With these transactions, the farm site grew to 160 acres.  Sometime before Fox purchased the property, Glidden or Martinson built the house.

The house construction makes the site unique.  All of the original slates on the house were vertical, and load bearing.  There remains very little horizontal construction in the original house.  This type of construction, for a time, signaled a New England influence.  The Fox House maybe the only example of this construction in Minnesota. 

Fox House post move to SHC

Originally located on property of the Sherburne Wildlife Refuge, to save the house, it was moved to the site of the Sherburne History Center.  When SHC moved to its present location, the Fox House was also moved.  In spite of these disruptions, the integrity of the original structure remained intact.  Efforts to preserve this unique construction caused the renovators to envelope the house with horizontal wood slats.  Select locations around the house provide insight to the original construction. 

Today, the house remains on the property of the Sherburne History Center, continuing to document the influence of New England emigration to Minnesota.  Providing yet another example of the importance of Historic Preservation and reasons to commemorate National Historic Preservation Month. 

As a minor footnote, the other four National Register sites in Sherburne County are: The Elkhi Stadium in Elk River, the 1920 water tower in Elk river, the Oliver Kelley Farm in Elk River, and the Minnesota State Reformatory for Men Historic District near St Cloud.

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