Memorial Day Kicks Off the Season at Historic Sibley House Site
Sibley House Historic Site will be open weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and also features several special events this summer.
Visitors will get three chances to step back into the past this Memorial Day weekend as the Sibley House Historic Site officially opens its summer season.
The historic site preserves the 1838 home of Henry Sibley and the America Fur Company post of Mendota. It features four limestone buildings built between 1825 and 1853, including the home and office of Minnesota’s first governor, Henry Hastings Sibley.
Memorial Day weekend hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Monday and from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The Sibley House Historic Site is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday through the summer. Guided tours leave from the Dupuis House on the on the corner of D Street and Hwy 13. Led by Minnesota Historical Society staff, the tours run every half hour.
“I think what people like is that they get an actual idea of what was going on in that era,” said site supervisor Ted Bores.
Visitors tour the Henry Hastings Sibley House (the first part of which was built in 1838), the Jean Baptiste Faribault House (1840) and the cold store for the fur company (1843). Visitors learn how the American Fur Company operated a regional trading site with the Dakota at the site. A map guides tourists to three other extant historical structures on the site, as well as the locations of nine demolished structures.
Cost of the tour is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and college students, $4 for children ages 6-17 and free for children age 5 and under and Minnesota Historical Society members.
After recent budget cuts the last few years, the Sibley House Historic Site is generally now open only summer weekends, for a few other special events and for group tours by special arrangement. So far, the 2011 summer hours at Sibley House have escaped further cuts by the state budget ax.
“We’re still waiting for the budget to be finalized,” said Bores.
A full schedule of special events is still slated for this summer, including:
- River history dog walks June 18, July 16 and Aug. 20, each starting at 10:30 a.m. Led by tour guides, the dog walks (dogs are optional) explore the river’s histories and the early fur trade.
- City of Mendota walking tours June 19, July 17 and Aug. 21, which begin at 1 p.m. This is a 90-minute tour of the historic town of Mendota.
- A celebration honoring French Canadian and Metis heritage June 23. The event features music, costumes and dance. A free outdoor concert will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
- Children Days from 1 to 4 p.m. July 9 and 10. This popular event gives children a chance to dig in simulated archaeology pits and discover artifacts from the past.
- Harvest Weekend Sept 3-5, including Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5. Held jointly with Fort Snelling, this event gives visitors a chance to see period foods, cooking demonstrations, historic games, crafts and other frontier demonstrations.