About the House

The Comstocks' home was more than a house. It was a symbol of prosperity for the burgeoning town of Moorhead.

Comstock realized the importance of location when it came to his new home. It had to be outside of the Red River's flood plain, and it also had to be far away from the infamous saloon district known far and wide for its lawlessness. With those things in mind, construction of the house began in July 1882 on the third block of the expanding Highland Addition.

The architectural firm Kees and Fisk of Minneapolis and Moorhead designed the home in the popular style of the time, blending Queen Anne elements with those of English designer Charles Locke Eastlake. The 11-room, two-story home is characterized by a profusion of spindle work porches, high patterned chimneys, and poly-chromed siding and trim. The property included an ice house, tool room, food storage room, and a barn for the family’s three horses and three carriages.

At $45,000, Comstock's house was the most expensive and lavish building on the block. Everything inside — lumber, brick, glass — all had to be of the highest quality or it would be removed at the cost of the contractor.

Each room contained a different species of wood, as well as different wallpaper, all chosen with an immense amount of care. The home itself was filled with Asian-themed motifs, landscape paintings, and several maps showcasing Comstock's love of cartography. Doors and windows are made of solid oak, and the stairway banister and three first-floor mantelpieces are butternut. The home features unique details in each room, such as the parquet border in the dining room floor and the intricately carved door knobs.

Solomon Comstock spent 51 years in the house, and his wife Sarah spent 59. Their children continued to live in the home until donating it to the Minnesota Historical Society in 1965.

Throughout the years, the interior of the home remained almost unaltered, with the exception of the bathrooms. In 1974, the Comstock Historic House Society formed to assist in the restoration of the home back to its 1883 appearance. The home opened to tours in 1980.