[Graphic Header] A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
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[graphic] Introduction

[photo] West Main St. in Pipestone
Courtesy of Lorraine Draper

The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, the Pipestone Heritage Preservation Commission, Pipestone County Museum, Jasper Area Historical Society, Pipestone National Monument, the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office, the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), and the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC) extend their invitation to you to explore Pipestone, Minnesota, featuring historic places in Pipestone County. This area, located in the south west corner of Minnesota, reflects a rich history of American Indian quarrying, prosperity brought by the railroad and mining enterprises, and a distinctive natural landscape. This latest National Register of Historic Places Travel itinerary highlights 30 historic places that illustrate the history of this extraordinary region, including architecturally stunning buildings constructed with beautiful local red stone, exemplary civic buildings, and land still sacred to American Indians. The importance of the city of Pipestone was recently recognized by the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota in May 2001 when it was designated as one of the ten most endangered historic properties in the state.

American Indian pipemaker at the Pipestone National Monument
NPS Department of Tourism
The city and county of Pipestone are named after the soft red stone called catlinite or pipestone, which was essential to the area's development. American Indians quarried in the beds of red-colored claystone and shale in the general vicinity of what is today the Pipestone National Monument, since 1200 A.D. The claystone, soft and easily carved, was used to make the ceremonial pipes which were an integral part of American Indian religious and civic ceremonies. The French were the first Europeans to explore Minnesota and record descriptions of the red stone found in pipes and other items the American Indians traded. The region passed from French to American control in 1803 with the sale of the Louisiana Territory, and Lewis and Clark noted the pipestone quarry in their journals detailing their exploration of the American west. Fur trader Philander Prescott wrote another account of the area in 1831. Five years later, artist and writer George Catlin traveled through the region. He sketched the landscape surrounding the quarries, recorded local Sioux legends, and collected stone samples. Catlin's sketches and accounts interested many others in the site. The famous American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was inspired to write of the region in his well known poem, "The Song of Hiawatha" (completed in 1855). The city of Pipestone, Minnesota, county seat of Pipestone County, was first established in 1873 by Charles Bennet and David Sweet.

Historic view of Pipestone's Main St., c.1904
Courtesy of Pipestone County Historical Society

This travel itinerary features all historic sites in Pipestone County listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Pipestone National Monument, created by an act of Congress in 1937, preserves the mile-long quarry line for continued use by members of all American Indian tribes and nations in its natural prairie setting. Numerous buildings constructed with local Sioux quartzite contribute to the rich architectural heritage of the Pipestone Commercial Historic District. Pipestone City Hall, one of the most architecturally distinctive buildings in the district, is today the Pipestone County Museum. Sandstone relief sculptures, often called gargoyles, enliven the Moore Block, constructed in 1896. The Syndicate Block occupies a very prominent corner within the Pipestone Commercial Historic District and is the largest and oldest building constructed of Sioux quartzite within the district. Once housing the post office and a meat market (1910-1964), the Syndicate Block is an outstanding example of Pipestone's beautifully crafted buildings. The Calumet Hotel, a three-story Sioux quartzite building constructed in 1888, provided space for both the hotel and the First National Bank. Its light pink quartzite exterior, mined in the quarries near Jasper, Minnesota, contrasts with the darker red stone that dominates the architecture of Pipestone. The Ihlen Mercantile Company, constructed in 1885 by John Olson, was the first business establishment in Ihlen. In the community of Jasper, just 12 miles southwest of Pipestone, the streetscape is characterized by the prominent use of Jasper Sioux quartzite. The John Rowe House, a simple bungalow like those found across the country, is unusual because it is sheathed in locally quarried stone. The nearby Jasper Stone Company and Quarry, still in operation, provides stone that is greatly sought after still because of its hardness, elegance and permanent color.

Pipestone, Minnesota, offers numerous ways to discover the historic places that played important roles in Pipestone's past. Each property features a brief description of the place's significance, color, and where available, historic photographs, and public accessibility information. At the bottom of each page the visitor will find a navigation bar containing links to three essays that explain more about Pipestone County History, Downtown Revitalization, and Pipestone: The Rock. These essays provide historic background, or "contexts," for many of the places included in the itinerary. The itinerary can be viewed online, or printed out if you plan to visit Pipestone, Minnesota, in person.

Historic image of block in the smaller town of Jasper, early 1900s
Courtesy of Pipestone County Museum
Created through a partnership between the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places, the Pipestone Heritage Preservation Commission, Pipestone County Museum, Jasper Area Historical Society, Pipestone National Monument, the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office, NCSHPO, and NAPC, Pipestone, Minnesota is an example of a new and exciting cooperative project. As part of the Department of the Interior's strategy to revitalize communities by promoting public awareness of history and encouraging tourists to visit historic places throughout the nation, the National Register of Historic Places is cooperating with communities, regions and Heritage Areas throughout the United States to create online travel itineraries. Using places listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the itineraries help potential visitors plan their next trip by highlighting the amazing diversity of the country's historic places and supplying accessibility information for each featured site. In the Learn More section, the itineraries link to regional and local web sites that provide visitors with further information regarding cultural events, special activities, lodging and dining possibilities as well as histories of the region, should they want to explore further.

Pipestone, Minnesota is the ninth of more than 30 organizations working directly with the National Register of Historic Places to create travel itineraries. Additional itineraries will debut online in the future. The National Register of Historic Places, the Pipestone Heritage Preservation Commission, Pipestone County Museum, Jasper Area Historical Society and Pipestone National Monument hope you enjoy this virtual travel itinerary of Pipestone's historic places. If you have comments or questions please just click on the provided e-mail address, "comments or questions" located at the bottom of each page.


[graphic] Link to essay on Pipestone County History [graphic] Link to essay on Downtown Revitalization[graphic] Link to essay on Pipestone: The Rock

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