The Eugene J. Carpenter house had fallen into disrepair before John Kistler of Minnesota discovered it as his next passion project. The historic home featured 17,000 square feet of property, which includes 5,000 square feet of its vintage carriage house. Much of the property was either unfinished or unfit for prospective buyers before John Kistler found it, but his dedicated work and his vision for its future has seen the Carpenter house restored to its former glory.
John Kistler of Minnesota has for years been an ally to the historic properties around his home state and has lent his talent for restoration projects for years, helping housing marvels avoid demolition. He and others working to preserve historical landmarks partner with public agencies, businesses, municipal organizations and more to keep properties from falling into neglect. Without their effort, grand historical homes like the Eugene J. Carpenter house would be lost to time and the elements.
Eugene Carpenter was a Minneapolis lumberman who served as vice chairman of the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, which eventually established the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The Carpenter house showcases the Georgian Revival style of architecture and was designed for Eugene and his family by the prominent Minneapolis architect Edwin Hewitt over a hundred years ago.
Originally constructed in 1906, John Kistler affirms the house remained in the Carpenter family until 1946. Since then, it has passed through the hands of several owners who’ve left their marks on the property, many of which demean the original character of the house. In 1977, the house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places for its rich history and iconic representation of the Georgian Revival style. Within the last ten years or more it served mainly as an office space before owners attempted to divide up its sections and sell the property as a single-family home.
John Kistler of Minnesota had bigger plans for the property than its division or sale to any single owner, however. He laid out a plan to convert the home into a bed and breakfast, which would help to bring in a profit for continual upkeep while honoring the original architecture and allowing visitors to admire its beauty during their stay. To restore it to its original glory, John Kistler helped craft plans to rebuild the porch that had been torn down, repaint the home, and conduct extensive woodwork and rockwork around the property.
Today, visitors from around the world can commend and appreciate the work of John Kistler of Minnesota and the Minneapolis-based Adsit Architecture and Planning – as well as the restored architecture of Edwin Hewitt – at the 300 Clifton B&B.
Historic preservation is a weighty task that requires teams of dedicated people to keep old homes, historic areas of town, and monuments from falling into disrepair. Home improvement and restoration expert John Kistler shares his understanding of historic preservation in the hopes that it will inspire new projects across the country.
Citizens like John Kistler are involved in historic preservation efforts to conserve and protect what remains of historic buildings, landscapes, and other items that carry great significance. Without their help and dedication, historic objects are left to the elements and can be privately owned, which means they are capable of being damaged, altered, or demolished without repercussion.
John Kistler and other historical conservationists work in partnership with businesses, local organizations, property owners, and public agencies to locate or label historic properties and objects. Their combined efforts preserve meaningful national landmarks that may have otherwise been lost to time.
Historic preservation hasn’t always been at the forefront of society’s concerns and didn’t come into mainstream attention in America until the mid-19th century. One of the first major preservation efforts was the Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh, New York. In fact, it was the first ever historic property in America that was designated and kept up as a historic site by the state.
Since then, people all over the country have recognized historic landmarks in their cities and local communities, joining organizations that fight the degradation of their sacred monuments.
Some people don’t understand the importance of preservation, but John Kistler has plenty to say on the subject. When asked why he thinks people get involved in historic preservation in the first place, he replied:
“Historic preservation is a way to promote the unique character of an area while protecting what may be a major piece of history. People realize that without their help, these national and local treasures will disappear and may be forgotten forever. They preserve historic sites to keep these places alive both in reality and in our memories.”
The mission of many historic preservationists is to preserve significant locations in time as best they can, and in doing so protect cultural representations that may pass from history books. They accomplish preservation by donating time, money, and resources to maintaining landmarks and inspiring the community to get involved. In a way, historic preservation helps protect the heart of communities as new buildings go up, new people settle in the area, and lifestyles change.
“Those looking to get involved,” says John Kistler, “can find projects across the country from places like the National Park Service. The site includes activities at all levels of preservation, from donations and physical restoration projects to neighborhood surveys and documentation efforts.”
Because historic preservation requires help from both public and private entities, John Kistler hopes that sharing his passion with others will inspire more people to protect the rich history of their own communities.
Minneapolis, MN is the largest city in the state of Minnesota and has a long history of ownership that extends back centuries. Residents like John Kistler and local supporters treasure the city because of its colorful past and the monumental events that secured its place in American geography, history, and industry.
The city of Minneapolis is situated on both sides of the Mississippi River, lying west of St. Paul and just miles from the Canadian border. Residents of the area, such as John Kistler, and Minneapolis enthusiasts appreciate the city for its rich history that extends back hundreds of years into the past.
“Minneapolis is so much more than half of the Twin Cities,” says John Kistler. “It has a wild history behind it. Minneapolis was initially claimed by the French nearly a hundred years before America was even born.”
The territory that we know today as Minneapolis was visited on a French expedition in the late 1600s. A priest that accompanied the sailors on their journey to the New World explored the area and came upon the Mississippi’s only waterfall, naming it Saint Anthony Falls after his patron saint. It was the expedition of this priest and the fellow men of his voyage that led the French to believe the Minneapolis area belonged to them.
The Spanish then laid claim to the area before it went back to the French, and then to the revolutionaries where it persisted as a municipal tug-of-war. It was only later negotiated into a sale that America secured through the Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon Bonaparte.
John Kistler from Minnesota notes that the Americans truly established their presence in the area by building the famous Fort Snelling in the early 1800s. Fort Snelling extended the United States jurisdiction over the area and served to ease concerns about any British nearby. The soldiers that camped at Fort Snelling required food and supplies and looked to the surrounding nature to establish things like roads, vegetable gardens, wheat and hay fields, and acreage where they raised cattle. Three years after the Fort was constructed, the men of the area built a lumber mill and a grist mill on the river’s falls to keep the fort consistently stocked with supplies.
“From the soldiers cultivating the land for Fort Snelling you have the beginnings of civilized life in the area which would later become the Minneapolis and St. Paul districts,” says John Kistler.
A few decades after Fort Snelling was established, President Millard Fillmore reduced the Fort Snelling reservation and opened the area up to more settlers. The settlers kept coming until a sizeable amount saw it fit to name the area, and they called it Minneapolis, or the “city of waters.”
John Kistler notes that the mid-1800s ushered in the first bridge in the area (built over the Mississippi) to allow for more and improved traffic in and out of the Minneapolis. Shortly after, The Minnesota Legislature incorporated the University of Minnesota, which saw a rocky start before a final reopening in 1869. Today, the university is a highly-respected institution with tens of thousands of students studying there each year.
John Kistler and others remark on their city’s turbulent beginnings and claim to see the history written plain and simple in the architecture, land, and people of present-day Minneapolis.