The mansions at Linden Hill in Little Falls were built 115 years ago. To celebrate this anniversary, the Friends of Linden Hill (FOLH) will plant linden trees during a dedication ceremony at the mansions, Thursday, at 6:30 p.m. A short program will begin the evening, with the planting done by students from the Little Falls Community High School and the FOLH Garden Committee. Refreshments will follow.
Linden Hill, the neighboring residences of Charles A. Weyerhaeuser (green house) and Richard “Drew” Musser (white house), are a direct physical expression of the lumbering era in Minnesota. The houses are situated on a nine-acre wooded site along the Mississippi River. They lie atop a small bluff overlooking the east bank of the river, with native trees that played such an important part of the local area and Minnesota’s history. The Ojibwe people called the area Kakabikans (Kick-a-bi-cans), meaning “the place of the little-squarely-cut-off-rock.”
Both homes were designed by Clarence H. Johnston*, the most significant architectural figure in Minnesota of his time. The homes were built in the shingle style, constructed simultaneously in 1898 by skilled laborers and craftsmen.
Using predominantly Minnesota materials, they constructed the Weyerhaeuser and Musser mansions under the direction of local contractor A.D. Harrison. Both homes were relatively compact when constructed, but have since been enlarged with additions that were made in keeping with the materials, styling and proportions of the original homes.
As the Weyerhaeuser home was being completed, Charles married Frances Maud Moon, Dec. 14, 1898, in Duluth and brought his bride to their newly-finished home “Homeland” after their honeymoon in Europe. R. Drew Musser lived as a bachelor for about five years in his large white house until 1903 when he married Sarah “Sally” Walker Musser.
The estate was not known as “Linden Hill” until 1920, when Charles sold his share of the estate, and adjacent land, to his good friends Drew and Sally, when he and Maud moved to their home on Summit Avenue in St. Paul. Reportedly, the transaction was completed with a nickel and a handshake. Drew and Sally called the estate Linden Hill, because of the many linden trees planted on the property.
The Weyerhaeuser and Musser homes are on the National Register of Historic Places.
*Clarence Johnston also designed the Congdon Mansion in Duluth.