Minnesota History: Building A Legacy

Updated HSR for Probstfield House

  • Project Overview
  • Project Details

Project Overview

Recipient: Probstfield Farm Living History Foundation, Inc.

The Historic Structures Report has allowed the community to move forward in the restoration process.   A house restoration committee of people of various backgrounds was created to decide how to restore the house and are gathering quotes from contractors who can do the work and getting their opinions on how to restore the house.

The Probstfield House is one of the oldest family homes in the Red River Valley and would be lost within a few years if not preserved and restored. The grant will be used to conduct an update to a 2003 Historic Structures Report. The 2003 report helped identify and fix the most urgent problems at that time, but in lifting the house and pouring a new foundation, four additions to the home were lost because they were too deteriorated to be lifted. As these additions were the most recent additions to the home, the remaining structure lends itself more easily to restoration to a late 19th century home.

Once restored, this cabin will be the centerpiece of a 118 acre living history farm located just north of the city limits of Fargo-Moorhead.  

This home was built by Randolph Probstfield, an important agricultural pioneer and political leader who is credited with being the first settler of Clay County.  The Probstfield family and this farm are central to the history of the pioneer and settlement periods of the Red River Valley.  

The Probstfield Family, called "Moorhead's First Family" on their gravestone, operated this farm for three generations until the land was donated to the Probstfield Farm Living History Foundation, a non-profit formed to educate the public about our area's agricultural heritage through the example of this historic family and farm.  

In conjunction with the newly renovated barn, tool sheds, and river-adjacent property, the farmstead provides a link to the origins of agriculture, agricultural history and culture in Northern Minnesota. 

Project Details

To update the 2003 Historic Structures Report to provide more specific guidance on the restoration of the Randolph M. Probstfield House, listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Fund Availability:

11/01/2011 -

Legal Citation / Subdivision
Laws of Minnesota for 2011 Chapter 6, Article 4, Subdivision 5, Statewide Historic and Cultural Grants.

Appropriation Language
Statewide Historic and Cultural Grants. $5,250,000 the first year and $5,250,000 the second year are for history programs and projects operated or conducted by or through local, county, regional, or other historical or cultural organizations; or for activities to preserve significant historic and cultural resources.

Funding Amount: $3,600

Subject: Historic Preservation

Administering Agency

Minnesota Historical Society

Board Members:

Minnesota Historical Society Governing Board:
William R. Stoeri, President
Ram Gada, Vice President
Paul Verret, Vice President
D. Stephen Elliott, Secretary
Missy Staples Thompson, Treasurer
Suzanne Blue
Brenda J. Child
Judith S. Corson
Mark Davis
D. Stephen Elliott
Ram Gada
Phyllis Rawls Goff
William D. Green
David R. Hakensen
James T. Hale
Ruth S. Huss
Martha Kaemmer
Dennis L. Lamkin
David M. Larson
Charles Mahar
Dean M. Nelson
Elizabeth M. Nordlie
Peter Reis
Simon Stevens
Susan Kenny Stevens
William R. Stoeri
Edward C. Stringer
Karen Wilson Thissen
Missy Staples Thompson
Paul Verret
Eleanor Winston

Ex-Officio:
Mark Dayton, Governor
Yvonne Prettner Solon, Lieutenant Governor
Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State
Lori Swanson, Attorney General
Rebecca Otto, State Auditor

Advisory Group Members:

Historic Resources Advisory Committee

Mark Peterson, Winona (Chair)
- Executive Director, Winona County Historical Society
- Governor's appointee to Minnesota Sesquicentennial and Minnesota Humanities Commissions
- Qualified in history, historic preservation and history museum administration

Leanne Brown, Eden Prairie
- Director of Development, Carver County Library/Library Foundation
- Formerly, Executive Director, Carver County Historical Society
- Qualified in history, project management and museum studies

Jack Byers, Minneapolis
- Manager, Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development Department (CPED)
- Manages CPED's Preservation and Design Section
- Qualified in historic preservation, architecture, urban geography and planning

Tamara Edevold, Bagley
- Executive Director, Clearwater County Historical Society
- Active in Minnesota's Historic Northwest, regional historical organization
- Qualified in history, archaeology, anthropology and history museum administration

Ram Gada, Eden Prairie
- Engineer
- Active in the documentation of Minnesota's East Indian community
- State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB), former member
- Qualified in engineering, energy consulting and grants administration

William Latady, Tower
- Bois Forte Deputy Tribal Historic Preservation Officer
- Curator, Bois Forte Heritage Museum
- Qualified in archaeology, anthropology, historic preservation and history museum administration

Benjamin Vander Kooi, Luverne
- Attorney practicing as Vander Kooi Law Offices, P.A., in Luverne, MN
- Active in Vote Yes! Campaign
- Past chair, MN State Arts Board
- Advisor, National Trust for Historic Preservation
- Qualified in historic preservation, nonprofit and grants administration

Brenda Child, Minneapolis
- Chair, Department of American Indian Studies, University of Minnesota
- Enrolled member, Red Lake Nation
- Qualified in history, American Studies and American Indian Studies

Nicole Foss, Bemidji
- Executive Director, Beltrami County Historical Society, Bemidji, MN
- Qualified in anthropology, historical archaeology, library and museum fields

Kris Kiesling, Roseville
- Director of Archives and Special Collections at University of MN Libraries
- State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) member
- Qualified in library and archives, digital services and history

Jan Louwagie, Marshall
- Coordinator, Southwest Minnesota Regional Research Center, Southwest Minnesota State University
- Founding member of Society for the Study of Local and Regional History
- Former member of State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB)
- Qualified in history and archival administration

Ann Meline, Saint Cloud
- Deputy Director, Stearns History Museum, St. Cloud
- Formerly Assistant Director/Public Programs managing Exhibits, Collections and Education Departments
- Former grant reviewer for Institute of Museum and Library Services
- Qualified in history, nonprofit and museum administration

Peter Reis, White Bear Lake
- President, White Bear Lake Area Historical Society
- Chair, Minnesota Historical Society's Grants Review Committee
- Qualified in history and nonprofit and grants administration

William Stoeri, Minneapolis
- Ex-officio member (president of the MHS Board)

Missy Staples Thompson, Saint Paul
- Ex-officio member (treasurer of the MHS Board)

Quick Facts

Project Type: Grants

Recipient: Probstfield Farm Living History Foundation, Inc.

Funding Amount: $3,600

Source: Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund

Appropriation Years: 2012

Activity Type: Grants/Contracts

Counties Impacted: Clay

MN Senate District: 9

MN House District: 9A

This site is updated regularly with descriptions and data related to Legacy projects funded through the Minnesota Historical Society by the Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (ACHF).
Further information about the use and impact of all Legacy Funds can be found on the Minnesota Legislative Coordinating Commission's Minnesota's Legacy site.