Welcome to the Sibley House Historic Site! This area had long been the center of travel and trade for the Dakota when it became the center for American Fur Company operations on the Upper Mississippi. It was also home to Minnesota's first governor, Henry Sibley.
The stone houses you see below are the remnants of the vibrant operation of the fur trade centered here from the late 1700s to the 1850s. When 23-year-old Henry Sibley arrived to take over operations in 1834, he came roughly to this point.
Sibley later wrote: "When I reached the brink of the hill overlooking the surrounding country, I was struck with the picturesque beauty of the scene. From that outlook the course of the Mississippi River from the north, suddenly turning eastward to where St. Paul now stands, the Minnesota River from the west, the principal tributary of the main stream and at the junction, rose the military post of Fort Snelling perched upon a high and commanding point, with its stone walls, and blockhouses, bidding defiance to any attempt at capture."
The brick Dupuis House to your right was built in 1854 and today is the visitor center for the site. Feel free to tour the grounds on your own to learn more about early Mendota and the Sibley House Historic Site.
The site remained an active part of the fur trade until the 1850s, when treaties led to the removal of Dakota to reservations along the Minnesota River in western Minnesota. The site was used for various purposes through the 19th century, but eventually fell into disrepair. In 1910, the Daughters of the American Revolution opened the Sibley House as the first historic site in the state. Today it is operated by the Minnesota Historical Society.
Historic Fort Snelling
Minnesota Historical Society
Sibley House Historic Site
All images are from the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society