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Fire damages historic Stevens House at Minnehaha park in Minneapolis for second time in a month


For the second time in less than a month, the house known as “the Birthplace of Minneapolis” was damaged by fire.

Crews went to the historic John H. Stevens House at about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday and found smoke coming from the rear of the two-story wooden structure, Minneapolis Fire Department spokeswoman Melanie Rucker said.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze before it spread beyond the porch, Rucker said, and no one was hurt.

Tuesday’s fire came just weeks after a more significant fire damaged the landmark on the south end of Minnehaha Regional Park. In the Aug. 30 fire, flames burned through a first-floor wall but were largely contained to one room. The house, however, sustained extensive smoke, fire and water damage, Rucker said at the time.

Officials have not determined the cause of either fire, Rucker said Tuesday.

The Stevens House was built between 1849 and 1850 on land near where the Minneapolis post office now stands. Early settlers met there to found Hennepin County, select Minneapolis as its county seat and create the city’s first school district. Federal judges presided over territorial courts in the house where John H. Stevens, the “Father of Minneapolis” once lived with his wife, Helen, the “Mother of Minneapolis,” and their six children.

The Minneapolis Park Board took ownership of the house in the mid- to late-19th century — the exact date is unknown — and moved it to Minnehaha Park.



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