Friday, March 14, 2014

Chaska, Minnesota

 Last weekend I was in the area of the small town of Chaska, Minnesota.  I read that it had a museum as well as a well-preserved historic district, so I thought it was worth a visit.  Sadly, the museum wasn't open on Saturdays so I was unable to see it or to buy a guide. I had a bit of a look around with a map of the historic buildings on my phone, but I know I missed things.

The town grew up in the mid 1800s around brick manufacturing.  While most towns of this era were built of timber from the Big Woods of Minnesota, Chaska was built of the local yellow brick.  That's probably why so many of the buildings are standing today -- they didn't succumb to fires.  The Herald newspaper building above was built in 1871.
This 1902 beauty, on the square around the central park, is for sale.  Only $400,000 and the inside is as elegant as the outside.

 Moravian settlers built several churches in the area, beginning in 1858.  This one faces City Square Park.
One of the brick manufacturers built row houses for his workers and their families.  Row houses are commonly found in big cities.  These are unusual because they were built in a very small and rural town.

Chaska had several flour mills, most water powered, but this one, built in 1900, was steam-powered.  Today it has been converted to a restaurant, shops, and a sports bar.

Sadly, many of the historic buildings are empty of tenants. This sign looks out on the empty street from a block of closed businesses.

The museum is fundraising by selling bricks made from the Chaska clay deposit.
The lack of a map and the treacherous walking conditions (snow had not been plowed but left to pack down, melt, and refreeze into ice) meant that I missed interesting buildings.  Maybe I'll have to go back someday.


  1. Small, historic towns are the best for exploring. You should return after the snow melts. Isn't it crazy that real estate prices very considerably across the country? That house would bring at least a million here.

  2. It' a nice small city and historic one. The building which comes from 1902 is very lovely but too expensive. It looks like many houses in European syle

  3. It is interesting to see some of the history from your part of the world. Assume it isn't that close to where you live as it was a first visit for you. Hope it's not the last and you manage to return to continue your exploring.

  4. I echo the above commenter...this was interesting! :)

  5. Oh that's sad you missed the museum on the weekend, but you sure found some interesting photos to take and facts to share.

  6. I think Chaska deserves another visit; perhaps in the spring. Love that grand old house.

  7. Enjoyed this visit very much, C

    ALOHA from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral

    =^..^= <3

  8. That looks a lovely house from the outside, snow making it so picturesque. Wonder what it's like inside.

  9. I love the yellow bricks, haven't seen that much in the USA. Sad so many buildings are for sale and empty.

  10. You will have to go back when it is warmer and the sidewalks are cleared off, it looks lonely there:(

  11. I love visiting these types of small towns in the US. I enjoyed the virtual tour, thank you.

  12. Thank you for stopping by my blog....I see Far Side commented so that must be "our common thread"...I love her blog. I don't remember how I came across her though but after several years I've adopted her as the long lost sister I never had! LOL!
    I enjoyed your photos and history of the town. I love visiting the smaller, out of the way places as each town,each person has a history and they are all fascinating, I think.
    I'm retired too and am from the Midwest originally and hope to get back there eventually. I'll be back to visit you.