Philander Prescott House

You can read about the history and designation of the Philander Prescott House historic landmark.






Address: 4458-60 Snelling Avenue South

Original Address: 4440 Minnehaha Avenue South (moved in 1910)

Neighborhood: Hiawatha

Construction Date: 1852

Contractor: Willis G. Moffet

Architect: Willis G. Moffet

Architectural Style: Greek Revival

Historic Use: Private Residence

Current Use: Demolished in 1980

Date of Local Designation: 1975

Date of National Register Designation: 1975, delisted in 1986

Area(s) of Significance: Significant Person

Period of Significance: 1852

Historic Profile: Philander Prescott, who played a significant role in the settlement of the Upper Midwest, was one of Minnesota’s most significant pioneers. Prescott arrived in Minnesota in 1819 as a sutler’s assistant, and was one of the first white civilians to reside in present-day Minneapolis. Prescott’s first role in Minnesota was to provide supplies to the troops that were building Fort Snelling. As a trader for the Columbia Fur Company, Prescott played an active role in establishing and settling Minnesota. He developed a close connection with the Dakota, learning their language and marrying the daughter of a Souix chief. He was named the superintendent of farming for the Souix settlement near Lake Calhoun under Major Taliferro, Indian agent at Fort Snelling. Prescott also founded the town of Prescott, Wisconsin, where he maintained a trading post for many years. Prescott eventually obtained one of the first land claims in Minneapolis, and constructed the Philander Prescott house in 1852, at 4440 Minnehaha Avenue. The home was moved in 1910 to 4458-60 Snelling Avenue. As an interpreter for various Indian agents, Prescott participated in the negotiation of several treaties between the US Government and the Dakota. The last position held by Prescott was interpreter at the Yellow Medicine Agency, along the Minnesota River. Prescott was killed in the US-Dakota War of 1862, while traveling to Fort Ridgley to seek shelter. In the 1970s, the vacant, deteriorated home was purchased by the Minneapolis Department of Public Works to allow for the expansion of a maintenance facility. Demolition was delayed for several years while the City searched for partners to help fund relocation and restoration of the building. During this period, the home suffered several small fires, and no funding to relocate the home was found. The home was demolished in 1980.

Photo Credits:

1975, CPED Staff

1910, water color painting of Philander Prescott, courtesy of Mrs. Eli Pettijolm

Works Cited:

"National Register of Historic Preservation – Nomination Form," March 1975.

CPED Files

Updated: April 2015

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