Reporting Gordy Leach
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The city of Otsego is digging into its past this weekend, looking for artifacts as they deconstruct the McDonald house, which is believed to be the first house built by a white settler in the area more than 120 years ago.
The city is deconstructing the house because the county road in front the house will be expanded to a four-lane roadway. The expansion looks to cover the land where the house currently stands.
According to Dr. Richard Rothaus of Trefoil Cultural and Environmental, a European settler named John McDonald built the house’s frame around 1880. Rothaus thinks that McDonald was probably the first European to settle in Wright County.
The house’s frame is built with huge planks that are 10-feet long and 16-inches wide. On the property, researchers found old cigar cans, buttons and bits of “interesting trash.”
Rothaus said when McDonald settled there were Native Americans belonging to the Dakota and Ojibwa tribes roaming what would be Wright County.
Dan Licht, of the City of Otsego, said that McDonlad had a general store and a saw mill. Licht said he contributed to the community of the first plotted land in Wright County.
When you move a house in order to preserve it, it loses its historical integrity, Licht said.
To read a study of the McDonald house, click here.