The Ard Godfrey house, which is the oldest house still standing in Minneapolis, was originally on the Ox Cart Trail.

The Godfrey House, on Chute Square, was built in 1848 or 1849, making it the oldest remaining house in Minneapolis, according to the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board. It originally stood near the corner of Main Street and Second Avenue, during the heyday of the Ox Cart Trail. The house was moved four times before arriving at its present location, in 1909.

Ard Godfrey helped Franklin Steele build the first commercial sawmill near the falls. Mrs. Godfrey was active in the St. Anthony business community. The ox cart caravans must have rolled right past their home.

Since the early 1800s the Métis used the Ox Cart Trail to transport furs and buffalo hides south and supplies north, but by the time the railroad reached Pembina the buffalo herds had dwindled and moved west. Soon, logs from the north woods clogged the Mississippi River on their way to sawmills powered by St. Anthony Falls. Farmers on the northern plains, where buffalo herds once thrived, started growing grain, which they could ship south on the railroad. Soon mills powered by St. Anthony Falls were grinding grain into flour along the river bank near the falls.

The growth of the settlement of St. Anthony, on the east bank next to the falls, was fueled by the sawmills and flour mills near the falls. In 1872, St. Anthony was annexed by Minneapolis, across the river.



Commentary: Ard Godfrey House

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Michael Rainville autobiographical

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The Ard Godfrey House, operated by The Woman's Club of Minneapolis, is open to the public Saturdays and Sundays in June, July and August, 1:00 – 4:00 pm.