In 1853, Peter Miller Gideon and his wife, Wealthy, arrived in Minnesota from Ohio and settled on the shores of Lake Minnetonka. Long interested in fruitgrowing, Peter Gideon determined to satisfy the craving of pioneer families for apples and other fruits although all previous efforts to grow them had failed.[Seal of the Natural Resources Fund]
In 1854, he recorded that he planted one bushel of apple seed and a peck of peach seed. For fourteen years he planted, seeded, and grafted more than 10,000 apple, cherry, peach, pear, plum, and quince trees; but hard winters, blight, grasshopper plagues, and other reverses prevailed. Each year he had to start anew.
From one seed he obtained from Maine, a seedling grew that withstood the hard Minnesota winters and produced in 1868 the celebrated Wealthy apple, which was named for his wife and hailed as the "best apple produced since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden." From this flourished the Northwest's fruitgrowing industries.
His steadfastness and perseverance applied also to his outspoken, often inflexible, views on social issues. He condemned slavery and abuse of Indians, supported women's rights, and fought for the "advancement of moral refinement."
Within view of this monument, which is on the southeast corner of the original homestead, is the Gideon home, now more than 100 years old, and the site of the original orchards.
[Seal of The Minnesota Historical Society]
Erected by the Minnesota Historical Society