In this article we shall be talking about the various landmarks within the city of Mendota Heights, as well as those landmarks that are just nearby. Now, without further ado, let us begin.
Of course, we shall start off with the famous Fort Snelling, which was originally known as Fort Saint Anthony. It is a United States military fortification located at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers in Hennepin County, Minnesota. The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, a National Park Service unit, includes historic Fort Snelling.
The fort is located in Fort Snelling Unorganized Territory in Hennepin County, Minnesota, named after the fortification. The Minnesota Historical Society now runs the fort, located atop a bluff along the river. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources runs Fort Snelling State Park, protecting the land at the bottom of the bluff. Fort Snelling once encompassed both parcels.
The fort is designated as a National Historic Landmark and has been named a “national treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Sibley Historic Site is the site of Henry Hastings Sibley’s home, who was the regional manager of the American Fur Company and Minnesota’s first governor. It is one of the 26 historical sites that are operated by the Minnesota Historical Society. Located in what is now the city of Mendota, the site consists of four limestone buildings and a large lawn area. Three of the buildings are open for touring, including a fur company cold store from 1843 and the 1840 home of fur trader and hotelier Jean-Baptiste Faribault.
The Sibley House, considered the oldest private residence in Minnesota, was built between 1835 and 1836 by a team of over 100 white and Dakota laborers, directed by John Mueller. It was made of limestone blocks cut from a nearby quarry. Sibley lived here as a bachelor for eight years, until his marriage to Sarah Jane Steele. After his marriage, Sibley turned the business office into a parlor, and an addition was built for a kitchen, dining room, two more rooms on the second floor, and an office on the east side. It was in this office that plans were drawn up for the Minnesota Territory, and it became the temporary territorial headquarters in May 1840, when Governor Alexander Ramsey was a guest of Sibley.
Adjoining the Sibley estate is the site of the historic home of Jean Baptiste Faribault, built in 1839. This Colonial house is built of local yellow sandstone with a red sandstone front. Faribault left the house after the death of his wife in 1847, and his grandson George Faribault conducted a hotel in the historic house. River travelers, priests, teachers, explorers, and government representatives all made stays at the inn.
On the southeast corner of the historic site is the Dupuis House, built in 1854 for fur trader Hypolite Dupuis, who also served as private secretary to General Sibley for many years. This house is built of brick from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1869 the house was sold to Tim Fee and remained in the Fee family until it was purchased by the Minnesota DAR in 1924.