Hennepin History Museum (then Hennepin County Historical Society) moved to its current location near 24th & 3rd in 1958. The grand building was originally built as a private residence. Milling magnate George H. Christian started building it as his home in 1917 but died before it was completed.
Ultimately it was his daughter-in-law, Carolyn Christian, who completed it and moved in 1920. She stayed until the late 1950s, when the construction of the new Fair Oaks Motel at the corner of 24th & 3rd convinced her to decamp to her summer home on Lake Minnetonka.
This photograph, likely taken in the 1960s, dates from after the building became a museum; tucked under the traditional tree are historical items from the museum’s permanent collections. While the building has operated as a museum for 59 years, traces of the family home can still be seen. The bookshelf behind the tree has since been removed and turned into a doorway, but visitors today will still recognize the elaborately carved Indiana limestone fireplace to the right of the tree.
Photograph from Hennepin History Museum’s collection. Learn more about the museum and its offerings at hennepinhistory.org or 870-1329.