Minnesota History: Building A Legacy

Saving the Probstfield House

Randolph and Catherine Probstfield, 1861

Randolph and Catherine Probstfield, 1861.

The Probstfield House, the oldest home in Minnesota’s Red River Valley, is in dire straits. “Architects and builders tell us the home is within a few years of being a total loss,” said Markus Krueger of the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County.

The home, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in the late 1860s by Randolph Probstfield, a farmer, political leader and one of Clay County’s first pioneers. The Probstfields, dubbed “Moorhead’s First Family,” farmed their land for three generations before donating it and their home to the Probstfield Farm Living History Foundation.

Krueger said the first step in restoring the Probstfield House is updating its Historic Structures Report, now being done with $3,600 from the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants Program.

Once restored, Krueger said the home will be the centerpiece of a 118-acre living history farm that will preserve and tell the story of the Red River Valley’s agricultural heritage. “The Probstfield family was both ordinary and extraordinary,” Krueger said.

“They were of modest means, yet they were important community leaders. They are examples of average people who built Minnesota by hand.”
~ Markus Krueger, Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County