Ard Godfrey House now open for the season

Jackie Renzetti

Though it may not match the glamour of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts or the Science Museum of Minnesota, there’s yet another source of educational enrichment in town that quietly opens for the season this Saturday: The Ard Godfrey House.


On June 7th, the historic house will open again for summer tours each Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. through the end of August.

According to the National Park Society, it is the oldest wooden framed house in Minneapolis, and if that doesn’t excite you, also note that tour admission is free.

Long before the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis renovated it and opened it for public in 1979, the house belonged to Ard Godfrey (surprise!) and his family from 1848-1853. NPS writes that Godfrey supervised the first dam and sawmill for St. Anthony Falls. Here’s what actually may surprise you: Minneapolis likely wouldn’t exist as it does today without those dam creators like Godfrey. The St. Anthony Falls dam powered sawmills and flour mills, which then led to the economic success that helped Minneapolis grow.

His wife, Harriet Godfrey, is credited with introducing dandelions to Minnesota after planting seeds from Maine. Thus, the house hosts a Dandelion Day celebration every May.

When you think of it that way, the Ard Godfrey House is a monument to a Minneapolis power couple — of sorts.