Just west of the metro off Highway 212 is the village of Carver. It was an early river town, founded in 1852 by a Scandinavian settler because of its proximity to the junction of the Minnesota River and Carver Creek. Named after Johnathon Carver, a British explorer who came to Minnesota in 1766 and spent time with the Dakota near the Minnesota River. It became a prosperous river town, and later a prominent railroad town.

Though times are quieter now, there are several blocks of historic buildings in Carver’s center, and in 1980 all the original buildings were added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, you can take a self-guided walking tour and see history, including the Presbyterian Church above that was built in 1913.

Photo by Amy Rea

Ms. Mac’s Antiques, an occasional shop (as are several in Carver), originally started life as a commercial building around 1880, eventually morphing into a saloon, then a grocery store, barbershop, and cafe. The building also houses Farm Girl Junk, which sells vintage decor and repurposed furnishings.

Photo by Amy Rea

 

Carver Flowers was built in 1870 as a hardware and farm implement store that stayed in business for nearly a century.

Photo by Amy Rea

Rosehips & Willow, an occasional shop featuring vintage furniture, home decor, and gifts, now occupies a former bank built in 1908.

Photo by Amy Rea

Appropriately, Lisa’s Place Bar & Grill is an incarnation of its original function: The John Leonard Saloon, built in 1887 by Swedish immigrant John Leonard. It also has the distinction of having been the workplace of one Andrew Tapper, the only person in Carver County history to be hanged, for murder.

Photo by Amy Rea

Lisa’s also has an appropriate tribute to the wild river life on its side.

Photo by Amy Rea

And who could possibly resist this occasional vintage candy and toy store, housed in the former Minnesota Valley Oil Company Gas Station, built in 1925?

But it’s not just historic business buildings. There are numerous residences that have the plaque of honor from the National Register of Historic Places, some like this simple cottage:

Photo by Amy Rea

And some like this grander home:

Photo by Amy Rea

Or something in between.

Photo by Amy Rea

Check the individual retailer’s websites for information on open hours. You can also download the guided tour information here.

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.

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