A Chaska resident has given a modern makeover to a community that was once on the cutting edge of suburban living.
Painters put the finishing touches on one of Chaska’s most well-known landmarks just in time for the Ryder Cup golf tournament at Hazeltine National Golf Club — the Jonathan community silo. Todd Dexter, a local graphic designer, gave the dated landmark a face-lift to better represent the changing face of the community.
The Jonathan community, built in 1960, was the first planned enclave in Minnesota and one of the earliest in the nation. The community was the brainchild of former state Sen. Henry T. McKnight and was named after explorer Jonathan Carver, the county’s namesake.
The Jonathan community was designed to be a new town within a town, said Heidi Gould, Carver County Historical Society curator of education and exhibits. Rather than bulldozing through the land to create the new town, the community was built with nature in mind. Forests and marshlands surround homes with 10 miles of walking trails weaving behind backyards. About 8,000 residents live in 3,000 homes in 23 different neighborhoods designated by numbers.
Dexter’s design was selected by the Jonathan Association out of about 50 entries. The Arts Consortium of Carver County held a competition to find a local artist who could give the silo a more modern look. Dexter’s logo was selected out of three finalists.
Dexter, a Jonathan resident of 12 years, gave the silo a contemporary look. He said he was gratified to have it completed in time for the Ryder Cup.
“It is the first big monument you see,” Dexter said. “To be the one who designed it for the next 20 years is really cool.”
His design will also be added to a picnic shelter by Lake Grace.
“I wanted to respect the heritage and the history that Jonathan has,” Dexter said.
First painted in 1991, the silo’s color had faded and the dome was in need of repair. The new graphic incorporates the city of Chaska into the logo, whereas the previous one suggested that the community was its own town.
While the original design showcased stalks of wheat, the new one is simpler with two straws of wheat and a much more vibrant barn-red color.
“They knew it was time to update it because wheat and rural does not reflect the community anymore,” said Barb Hone, president of the Arts Consortium of Carver County.
Jonathan residents voted on the final three designs for the silo. The winner won a cash prize of $1,500. The association ran into some bumps along the way with the city of Chaska. The city rejected the first color choice of the barn because it was a little too red, said Judith Bostrom, architectural review chairwoman of the Jonathan Association.
The silo stands on the corner of Hundertmark Road and Hwy. 41, on what was once the Christian Bender farm and homestead dating back to 1854. McKnight bought the property from Bender in 1963. Standing alone, the silo marks the entrance to the Jonathan community, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year.
“We are glad the way it worked out that a local Jonathan resident was able to be involved,” Bostrom said. “And all of the residents were able to weigh in on it.”