Restoration work for the barn is moving in the right direction.  We have had our meeting with SHPO, and the meeting with the contractors.  Building supplies have been ordered.  Discussion about where to put the web cams has been completed.  Now, it is real.  With reality comes the knowledge that building permits, Conditional Use Permits and building inspections are needed to have the public visit the property.  Each task comes with a multitude of bureaucracy.   With that said, everyone has been very helpful; it just takes forever to navigate through each organization.  None of this is taught in Grad School.  Let me walk you through each of the documents we need, to allow the public to visit.

The Conditional Use Permit pertains to zoning and allows the CCHS to use the farm for public visits.  Currently, the farm is zoned agriculture.  To get a CUP is a multi-staged task.  First step was meeting with the Laketown Township board.  They had concerns about the amount of traffic that would travel Parley Lake Road, once we put in a driveway to the farm off of Parley Lake.  Building a new driveway will happen, but not in the immediate future, as care of the buildings comes first.  After meeting with Laketown Township, Carver County Planning was contacted.  We missed the cut off for the County meeting by three days, which means the earliest meeting date is March 25.  After this meeting, it will go before the board.  If all goes well, we will have permission to have the public on the property by early May!  Just in time for the summer season.

A building permit was not needed in the past for the barn as it wasn’t going to be used for public use.  Now it will be, so engineering and architectural reports are needed to get a building permit.  Thankfully we have those, so the permit is obtainable.  However like everything else, it is fill out the forms, and include duplicates of plans and mail it all in then wait.  With SHPO involved, any changes will have to be to cleared through them.  The only change from barn use to a public use may be the addition of handicapped accessibility. The building will only be used seasonally, and does not nor will not have utilities.

The other buildings will need an structural report from an engineer before the county inspector will clear the building for the public.  It doesn’t matter the building is solid or not.  The reason for this is that when a building changes use, especially when it will be used for public use, it must be inspected for structural soundness.  What this means for the farm, is that it will be years before some of the buildings can be used, unless some wonderful engineer, steps up to the plate and offers to do the work for free.

So much to do and so little time.  It will all get done.  Just don’t expect it all to be done in a couple of years.




The signed contract for the Legacy money was received last week.  One more step toward the start of the restoration work for the north barn.  This week the contractors; Hansen HomeTech, Creature Works, Historic Structural supervisor Todd Grover and the CCHS Executive Director Wendy Petersen Biorn will attend a phone conference with the State Historic Preservation Office,  (SHPO).  In this conference, we discuss the overall plan, and the five project Milestones that need to be met, as the project progresses.

March 7th through the 11th, volunteers will arrive on the farm to start the clean up around the north barn.  If you are interested in helping clean things up, contact Heidi Gould at the CCHS.  952-442-4234

The U of M has at least three classes working on projects in association with the farm.  The classes are part of Carver County’s Resilient Communities Project. The projects being worked on by the U of M include:

Joseph Pnewski who is working on a base line archaeology project for his Masters degree.  He is planning on running an archaeological field school at the Peterson Farm from May 23rd through June 10th. It is likely that he will be only there for the first two weeks (May 23rd through June 3rd) and on a different location for the final week, but he wanted to give us a full range of dates just in case things change.

A U of M class that is working toward updating the Andrew Peterson National Register Nomination.

A landscape architecture class that is looking at either finding the best place for the parking lot and/or access via Parley Lake Road or designing way finding signs for the property.


A Scandinavian class that will look at how to draw more tourism to the site.

In addition to the U of M classes, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, (PAM), will be holding public historic preservation classes at the farm.  Their classes focus on teaching people how to preserve plaster and windows in old houses.

The list continues to grow.  It is with great excitement that we look forward to the coming months.




Preservation Alliance of Minnesota plans restoration classes at farm

The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota recently visited the AP farm with the purpose of determining if they could hold classes at the farm, to teach people how to preserve old plaster and windows.  We will win by having professionals working on the house.  They found that the plaster in the house contained horse hair, which means the plaster is original, 152 years old.  It is very good condition- under about 6 layers of wall paper.

A number of wooden storm and screen windows were found.  They will be measured and documented with the hope that we can return them to their original locations.

On another topic, the University of Minnesota Resilient Communities project sent three more classes our direction.  One is in Scandinavian tourism/literature.  They just happened to be reading the Moberg Immigrant books. The professor wasn’t aware of the connection with Andrew Peterson, until she met us.  We were invited to speak to the class about how the students might help us increase Scandinavian tourism to the farm.  The class will be taking a trip to the farm in the next few weeks.

A conference call connected us to a second class.  They will be working to determine the optimal location for a driveway off of Parley Lake Road, and a location for a parking lot.  we would like to be able to give visitors the experience of walking down the driveway, but a driveway to the south would mean putting in a second driveway near the north property border.  Rolling land, causes a challenge when looking for a location for a parking lot.

A project is being undertaken by another student who is making the farm the focus of his Masters Thesis for Archaeology.

Stay tuned, soon we will be starting work on the north barn.

Merry Christmas from Sweden

The following link was sent to us from the Swedish Andrew Peterson Society.  The video is about their CD tour to the US this last fall.  The video includes music from the Andrew Peterson the Musical CD.  If you like the music, the CD is available at the CCHS.

We won the grant!

I just found out today that we won a Legacy grant for $182,223 to complete the restoration of the North Peterson Barn.  You will be able to watch the work being completed via our website, and will be welcome to come out to watch in person.  Work will start around the end of January or when we receive notification that work can begin.  This historic building was build in the 1880s.

A better Christmas present, you could not ask for.

Property title received

Yesterday was a wonderful day.  We received the title work for the property.  After a copy is made, it will go directly into our safety deposit box.  We now have proof that we own 12.17 acres of the Historic Andrew Peterson Farmstead.  Peterson’s original property consisted of a total 160 acres. While 12.17 acres sounds very small in comparison, we feel very blessed.  It is also an amount of property we feel we can properly take care of.

Waiting has and probably will continue to be part of the restoration process of the farm.  We are waiting today to see if the Legacy grant written to finish the North Barn was accepted.  I have been told that the letters were sent yesterday.  But, nothing was received in the mail today. So we continue to wait…..

AP house work continues

The work on the interior of the AP house is continuing.  The sheet rock which was already in place in the living room and the small downstairs room off the kitchen are being finished.  It was decided to finish the process, to make the space livable for the care taker.  A plumber, electrician, and sheet rocker have all helped complete the process which had already been started when the CCHS took possession of the property.  A refrigerator, and garden tractor have all been donated.  New stove, washer and dryer were delivered last week.

It has been very interesting seeing the layers of wall paper and the red and orange shag carpeting.  Just like a time line in history, they will tell us about how the house was used.  All processes are being documented for a later time when we will be able to fully research and better document the building as a whole.

The U of M structural reports of the house and the 1917 barn will be complete in early January.

An Grand opening of the property will occur in the spring.  More photos will be added, in the next week.


photos of interior work

Caretaker ready to move in

This week, a caretaker will be moving into the old Andrew Peterson house.  TJ Malaskee is an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society- Mill City Museum,  and former Kelley Farm interpreter.  Plan are to open the property for tours in the spring.  Stay tuned for more about TJ in the next few weeks.

U of M blogs about the Peterson Farm

The CCHS applied for a large Legacy grant for the final restoration for the north Peterson barn.  The initial  grant was applied for last summer. After a review and rewrite the final grant was submitted in the fall.  The CCHS Executive Director then testified before the deciding board several weeks ago.  The results will be released in December.  Cross you fingers and toes, as the barn can’t last much longer.  If approved, the grant will fully restore the barn and will use some new technology, which will allow everyone to watch the restoration from anywhere in the world!

The University of Minnesota Resilient Communities Project students are blogging about us. click on the link and read about the latest.