Olness House – “A Friend’s House” (Moorhead)

Just north of Moorhead, off U.S. Route 75, is the Queen Anne style house built for John Olness in 1902. As a leading merchant and land speculator, Olness desired a house to reflect his high standings, in contrast to the more vernacular structures in the area. In 1980, the house was listed in the National Register of Historic Places for both its association with Olness and its architectural significance. Two years ago, the house became the poster child for flooding in the Red River valley, as a photograph of volunteers building a sandbag dyke around the house’s perimeter made the national news. While the house itself was spared significant damage, the numerous outbuildings were not so fortunate—a cottage, chapel, barn, and gazebo, which the property owners operate as a special events venue, were badly flooded. Due to its rural location, there are no comprehensive infrastructure improvement plans for the property, and the owners have been left to battle three major floods in as many years largely on their own. More resources are needed to help maintain and safeguard this historic house against further flood damage.

To learn more about the Olness House, visit: http://afriendshouse.info/Historical_Landmark.html

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