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Identifying Minnesota's Historic Agricultural Landscapes
Phase II Report
Prepared by Mead & Hunt, Inc.
June 1998

Dandyl landscape

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction

  2. Methodology Used for Previous Rural Surveys

  3. Methodology Used for Current Survey

  4. Survey Results

  5. Recommendations


1.  Introduction

National Register Bulletin 30 defines a rural historic landscape as:
...a geographical area that historically has been used by people, or shaped or modified by human activity, occupancy, or intervention, and that possesses a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of areas of land use, vegetation, buildings, structures, roads and waterways, and natural features.
Recognizing that no rural historic landscapes had been systematically documented in Minnesota, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) initiated a project in 1997 to identify and document one or two model agricultural historic landscapes. Funding for the project was approved by the Minnesota Legislature [1997 Laws, Ch. 216, Sec. 15, Subd. 5 (b)] as recommended by the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. The area of study focused on the high development growth corridor within the St. Cloud–Twin Cities–Rochester growth corridor. After completing preliminary work to identify possible landscapes, the SHPO hired historic preservation staff from Mead & Hunt, Inc., to identify four rural areas for further investigation.

Phase I of the project concentrated on four selected areas:

  • Study Area 1 - Northwest Hennepin County/Eastern Wright County
  • Study Area 2 - Carver County
  • Study Area 3 - Southeastern Stearns County/Northwestern Wright County
  • Study Area 4 - Eastern Rice County/Western Goodhue County

After conducting a windshield survey, Mead & Hunt identified eight landscapes that had some potential to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). For each landscape, they completed an Evaluation of Rural Historic Landscapes form to categorize remaining historic features and apparent development threats. Based on their analysis of the integrity of the eight landscapes, they recommended two areas for further analysis – the Sogn Valley of Goodhue County and Southwest Carver County. In Phase II, they conducted historical research and extensive field investigations of the two areas.

This Phase II report addresses two project goals:

  • To present a methodology for identifying and evaluating rural historic landscapes in Minnesota.

  • To recommend whether the study areas in eastern Rice and western Goodhue Counties and Southwest Carver County can qualify for the National Register of Historic Places as rural historic landscapes.

To meet these goals, the Phase II report has four main components:

  • Methodology Used for Previous Rural Surveys - Describes a review of the literature on rural historic landscapes.

  • Methodology Used for Current Survey - Presents the approach taken for the Minnesota rural historic landscapes project.

  • Survey Results - Details the results of the fieldwork and research into the two study areas.

  • Recommendations - Presents the findings about the potential of the two rural historic landscapes to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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