The Oldest Building — The Grant House, Rush City, Minnesota – The North Star Reports – by Mackenzie Sherrill. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal
The Grant House in Rush City, Minnesota was built in the year 1880 in the heart of what was then a flourishing milling town. Rush City was growing due to the completion of the railroads that covered Minnesota from the Twin Cities all the way to Duluth. As more and more people traveled the railroads for trade and farming, they would often stop in Rush City to eat and sleep since this was the halfway point along their route. For this very reason, Russell H. Grant, second cousin of President Ulysses S. Grant, decided to build the Grant House to serve as the central building of the town where people gathered to eat, rest, and relax during their travels. The president himself was said to be a popular visitor at the Grant House, as he was often in the area for trout fishing on the Sunrise River.
After a fire destroyed much of the original hotel and restaurant in 1895, Russell Grant decided to build a more solid foundation upon the original foundation which had survived the flames of the fire. The new structure of the building included 16-inch thick bricks and some of the original woodwork, which can still be seen in the Grant House today. Then in the fall of 1896, Russell Grant sold the Grant House, and ownership of the building has been since passed to several different people, the latest being Barbara Johnson, who purchased the Grant House in 2012. I went to the Grant House on Sunday morning and spoke with Barbara, who was both very knowledgeable, and also quite excited to share information with me after informing her that my research was for a history class I was currently taking in college.
Growing up in Rush City, I heard many stories about the building from people in the community, but never really had read or done any research on the Grant House for myself. It has been one of the buildings in my town that has always been in business, despite the hard economic times many have recently been experiencing. The endurance and strength of the building holds such significance to both my community and me. It is not only a symbol of why our community was started in the first place, but also a symbol of the town’s historic value. Today, it continues to be a place where the residents of the surrounding communities can come to have a nice meal, and even stay the night if they chose to do so. As my research came to an end, I concluded that buildings hold a very important significance as a place where people can gather and talk about their days or share stories and pieces of history that can be passed down from one generation to the next.
[From Professor Liang’s Spring 2015 World History II class]
The Oldest Building. World History students at our host institution, The College of St. Scholastica, were given the assignment to find out about the oldest building in their hometown. The structures students ranged from the modest to grand, and while some were well-documented, the history of most was hard to find. Through their research students found valuable local resources as they found out more about the development of their hometowns. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.
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The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Norway, northeastern China, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.
Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.
(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu