A Home full of History
It’s 1892. Reportedly, the “American frontier” no longer exists, the so-called Gilded Age is waning, and Queen Victoria’s reign is near its end. The robber barons—American capitalism personified—are asserting power and prestige throughout the U.S. as the Morgans, Rockefellers, and Carnegies accumulate wealth and capital.
There on the edge of the Big Woods in Minnesota, the town of Faribault has already tapped into the abundance of trees and farmland that keeps its mills turning out a seemingly endless supply of lumber and flour. As in the East, the power and wealth of Faribault have settled into the hands of a relatively few influential businessmen—the town’s “Captains of Industry” as dubbed later by the Faribault Journal in 1903.
John Hutchinson, Jr.
One man in particular, John Hutchinson, Jr., a Civil War veteran, and partner in both the Faribault Furniture Company and the Faribault Roller Mills, has the “strong business sense and untiring industry” to leave his father’s farm near Dundas, Minn. Like his peers throughout the U.S., Mr. Hutchinson's financial success and acumen provide the means to have a grand Queen Anne Victorian home built for his growing family on the corner of 2nd and Maple, a mere three blocks west of bustling downtown Faribault.
And what a home it is...
Situated on a high lot among many of Faribault’s oldest and most prestigious homes, the three-story octagonal turret is impossible to miss as guests approach. The day’s news or perhaps even a little gossip is exchanged between friends and neighbors on the expansive wrap-around front porch. While in the living room featuring a wood-burning fireplace and ornate trim work, visitors enjoy rare Victorian furnishings and displays. Are those the “Captains” in the spacious dining room and parlor sipping brandy and debating politics?
An End to An Era
The Honorable John Hutchinson Jr. lost his second wife, Eunice, to Bright’s disease a few years after moving into their Faribault “dream home”. Fortunately, there was plenty of room for Thomas (Eunice’s only surviving child) and Mr. Hutchinson’s two surviving daughters, MayBelle and Luella, from his first marriage with Lucy who passed away in 1876. Even for the well-to-do in Faribault, life was precious and survival was a daily chore, even for the affluent with means. In 1902, at age 62, John married his third wife, Anna, and his sixth child, Henry, was born.
It is said that all good things must come to an end. In 1915, in declining health, Master Hutchinson, Anna, and their young son moved to California leaving their majestic home behind. At 75 years old, Master Hutchinson passed away on November 10, 1915.
A New Beginning
On the other hand, the life of the fabulous Queen Anne was only just beginning. In October 1915, 23 short years after its construction, a local doctor and inventor, Dr. Stephen B. Haessly, and his wife, Effie, purchased the home from John Hutchinson. They raised their two boys, Stuart and Burdett, before re-configuring the floor plan of the old Victorian to generate some extra income in the 1930s and the Depression years.
"Doc," as Haessly was known around town, was a partner with Drs. Trager and Hanson in a medical clinic on the north end of Central Avenue in downtown Faribault. It is reported that the trio broke up the partnership in 1917 to go “over there” and fight in World War I. After the “boys” finished the job in Europe," Drs. Haessly, Trager, and Hanson picked up where they left off and returned to their medical practice as partners.
Sadly, "Doc" Haessly passed away in 1942 and did not live to see his son, Burt, serve in the military as an aide to Presidents Truman and Eisenhower. Effie, however, remained in that big old Queen Anne (with a couple of renters) until 1969. If you do the math, she lived in the big ‘ole Victorian for 54 years before selling it to Winston and Rosemary Johnson.
Stewards of Hutch House
The Johnsons clearly appreciated the treasure they had acquired. Throughout the 1970’s, they painstakingly scrutinized every aspect of the main floor restoration. Working off old photos, the mantel in the living room and fretwork in the doorways were recreated to their original Victorian styling. It is said that Winn and Rosemary were true Faribault socialites and enjoyed hosting glorious parties in the Old Lady.
Marilyn Coughlin, just the fourth owner, was the first to share the trappings of the “Doll House” (as some locals refer to it) as a Bed & Breakfast. In 1987, Marilyn and her daughter, Christine, greeted their first guests and the Inn stayed open for about three years before the Malone family obtained the house as a single-family home. In 1999, Steven Usdansky and Janet Smith, the sixth owners, acquired the house and gave it the Painted Lady look (Periwinkle blue with pink trim) as it is seen today.
A Fresh Start
The history of the Hutchinson House was made great again by Tami and Doug Schluter. It’s a matter of gratitude to think about the home history from the first lady Eunice Spicer in 1892, (Mr. Hutchinson's wife), who grew up in the Spicer Castle on Green Lake to Tami and Doug who updated, restored, and revitalized the Historic Hutchinson House B&B.
Changing with the Times
The Victorians, of course, were not especially known for their practicality but this “Queen” is an exception. Olena and Dana Anderson made sure of that when they bought the home in 2019. Master Hutchinson could never imagine that his pride n’ joy would eventually boast eight bathrooms and a TV in every guestroom. Changing with the times, the whole house was fitted with central air-conditioning and wireless internet for those “techies” who can’t quite let go.
Meet Emily and Josh Anderson, the newest owners, operators, and occupants of the Historic Hutch House (and no relation to Olena and Dana Anderson). And by owners, we really mean stewards. That's because this beautiful home, which has stood tall for the better part of 130 years, is not merely personal property. It is a treasure that is built to be shared with anyone who is looking to experience living history blended with contemporary design and comfort. A legacy of hospitality and generosity started generations before us and it's a tradition we plan to continue for years to come.