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Bottineau House, Bottineau Library
In Minnesota’s early territorial era, Pierre Bottineau “was a rock star” guide.
All kinds of prominent people turned to Bottineau to lead expeditions in the 1800s, according to Bill Walker, cultural resources program coordinator for the Three Rivers Park District.
“He was someone you hired if you wanted to plot a new townsite, somewhere off the grid,” he said.
Bottineau had a hand in founding a number of communities. As such, his name can be found in a number of places, on everything from the library in northeast Minneapolis to a planned transitway. “He appears to have been everywhere in his lifetime,” Walker said.
That’s why his 1854 house is of interest, he said.
Last Saturday, Bottineau’s newly renovated house, located at the Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove, opened to the public as a museum.
The house, which has been moved five times, was probably the first wood frame structure in the north metro, Walker said.
It took many years and the construction of a highway to get to this point. In the past, the house, which historians rediscovered in the 1970s, had served as farm storage and a granary. “The newest public history site is probably also the oldest,” Walker said.
Bottineau was never home long, so instead of period furnishings, the place is filled with interpretive exhibits.
Soon, the museum hopes to start up related outdoor activities, so people can learn by doing.
Anna Pratt is a Minneapolis freelance writer.