405 East Sixth Street
Blue Earth, MN 56013
507-526-5421
Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays from
10 to 12 and 1 to 3 or by special appointment.

Wakefield House

A local newspaper article dated March 31, 1949, states:
   "During the past week the Faribault County Historical Society purchased the historical home of one of Minnesota's early Lieutenant Governors, to become a permanent county museum.  
The home was built by James B. Wakefield and is located at 405 E. 6th Street in Blue Earth.  The nine room house is about 80 years old, but is in excellent condition.
   The aim of the society is to locate and preserve relics, documents and various other articles of historical interest.
   In addition to furnishing the building and landscaping the grounds, the society plans to establish a file for each village and township of the county for the purpose of preserving histories of individual, families, churches and organizations for future reference."

Many years have passed by since then but the beautiful Wakefield House has become the Office for the society and keeps within its walls a multitude of items that preserve the history of Faribault County. Many visitors have moseyed around the house admiring its beauty and the items in it with the words, "My Grandma had one of those!" spoken frequently.  

James B. Wakefield was born in Connecticut in 1825 coming to Minnesota at the age of 29 with friends, Mr. Constans, Mr. Spencer & Mr. Hibler.  Venturing south in the year 1856 he stayed with Moses Sailor for a bit then proceeded to St. Paul to the Territorial Legislature.  He was appointed Chairman of County Commissioners by the Territorial Governor.  In October of that year the City of Blue Earth was staked out and soon came the first store, hotel, mail delivery, etc.  An Act of Legislature also organized Faribault County and held its first county election that year.  Mr. Wakefield was elected Register of Deeds. This was only the beginning of his political career as he labored nearly 25 years in the House of Representatives-Minnesota holding numerous positions then serving as a member of the U.S. Congress until his retirement in 1886.

Wakefield was married in 1864 to Nancy Rinehart and three years later built the Wakefield House.  It was in the Italianate style and the bricks used in its construction were locally made.  Nancy died in 1888 after a long illness.  She was 69 years old.  

James was married again in 1907 to Lydia Phelps Noble but she died just one year later.  James B. Wakefield died on August 25th, 1910, at the age of 82.  He and Lydia are buried at Paynesville, Ohio.