Friends of Linden Hill celebrate a decade of preserving local history

The Weyerhaeuser mansion was built in 1898 and was the home of Charles A. Weyerhaeuser, his wife Frances Maud Moon and their children for many years. Now a museum, members of the Friends of Linden Hill are celebrating 10 years of preserving its history, as well as the Musser mansion and caring for the grounds.

Reminiscing about what has been accomplished in the last decade, the members of “Friends of Linden Hill” are amazed, said Board Member Pat Sharon.

The Friends of Linden Hill, a non-profit organization, welcomes the community to join the celebration of its 10th anniversary.

“The Board wanted to give back to the community by offering different opportunities to visit and enjoy Linden Hill,” Sharon said.

Wednesday, at 6 p.m., visitors will be able to enjoy “Log Jam,” a family-friendly concert featuring “Easy Street and Friends.”

“There will be different genres of music like rock and roll, folk, blues and country,” Sharon said.

Monday, July 17, from 5 p.m. to dusk, the Friends of Linden Hill will hold a “Family Picnic on the Lawn.” Visitors may bring a blanket and drop in at any time. The Friends of Linden Hill will serve lemonade and old-fashioned cookies.

“It is going to be an old-fashioned picnic with old-fashioned kids’ games,” Sharon said.

At the event, Sharon will tell the history of each game and there will also be an opportunity set up for visitors to pose with various vintage items and take photos.

The following evening, Tuesday, July 18, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. “Le Artiste of the Hill” will be held where adults may enjoy a piano concert in the music room inside the Musser mansion.

Since seating is limited, those who plan to attend are asked to reply to Linden Hill by calling (320) 616-5580 or emailing [email protected]

All events are free. Linden Hill is located at 608 Highland Avenue in Little Falls.

The Weyerhaeuser and Musser mansions at Linden Hill were built simultaneously in 1898, by the local contractor A.D. Harrison and the architect Clarence H. Johnston.

When members of the Friends of Linden Hill planned how they wanted to celebrate their 10th anniversary, they wanted to do so in a way that portrayed what the Weyerhaeuser and Musser families considered important. A lot of the inspiration came from various photos and other facts its members knew of the two families.

“They were very family-oriented and had many picnics for others on the grounds. Music was a huge part of their lives, too,” Sharon said.

The large music room in the Musser mansion wasn’t added until 1930.

“Sarah Walker Musser wanted a music room, but her husband, Drew, was very frugal. When he was away on a business trip for three months, she had it built anyway,” Sharon said.

In 1920, after the Pine Tree Lumber Company in Little Falls closed, the Weyerhaeusers turned over their estate to the Mussers for a nickel and moved to St. Paul for another lumber business opportunity.

The Mussers’ daughter, Laura Jane, later inherited the estate and made it clear before she died in 1989 that she wanted Linden Hill to be used for public purposes.

“In her will, she left both mansions and some money for the care for them in her Laura Jane Trust,” Sharon said.

In 1991, Musser’s trust gifted the city of Little Falls the Linden Hill grounds and all its contents. For quite some time it was cared for through an elder hostel program, but when it became evident that Linden Hill wasn’t self-sufficient, the city considered selling the grounds and the artifacts.

“Several area residents wanted to preserve the site and its history for future generations, so Friends of Linden Hill was formed,” Sharon said.

Since then, the organization has accomplished much. Not only does the organization cover all costs involved with operating the museum and historical event center, volunteers have also spent countless hours cleaning and organizing the grounds and the mansions.

“Ten years later, we’re still finding new artifacts that belonged to either the Weyerhaeusers or the Mussers. Without the city we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to take care of this beautiful place and its artifacts,” Sharon said.

Recently volunteers discovered several pieces of silver that were part of a very large collection — candlesticks, wine goblets, vases, trays, tea sets, cake plates, silverware and more.

Sharon said the two mansions alone have eight attics. Each artifact discovered is cleaned, preserved, categorized and packed away properly.

“We try to categorize it in a way so the next generation can pick up where we left off and hope they will take it to the next step, whatever that may be,” Sharon said.