Mayowood Historic District (Rochester)

By the 1920s, the Mayowood estate, owned by Dr. Charlie Mayo and his wife Edith, covered 3,000 acres and included a man-made lake, gardens, a wildlife preserve, a horse track, nine active farms, and numerous other buildings and landscape elements. At the heart of the estate was the Mayo family’s residence, a forty-room house designed around Dr. Charlie’s innovative ideas and completed in 1911. In the late 1960s, the mansion was given to the History Center of Olmsted County with the provision that it be operated as a museum to interpret the lifestyle of Dr. Charlie Mayo’s family. The mansion was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, and resources on the surrounding 120 acres contribute to a National Register-listed historic district that was designated in 1982. The district properties have multiple owners, both public and private, but a sense of the historic estate’s size is evident in the dragon-tooth stone walls that span the district and the WPA-era bridge and dam that define the western edge. Divergent interests threaten the area’s historic fabric and character; a comprehensive plan to preserve and maintain the district’s integrity is needed.

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