Alexander Faribault's Photo

Alexander Faribault's story: 1855
Before the story
After the story
In his tracks
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Mary Whipple's_story: 1862
Before the Story
After the Story
In her tracks


Taopi's story: 1864
Before the story
After the story
In his tracks


Bishop Henry Whipple's story: 1867
Before the story
After the story
In his tracks


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Alexander Faribault
In His Tracks

You’ll be following in Alexander Faribault’s tracks almost anywhere you go in Faribault. As one of the town’s original proprietors (owners), he probably knew every nook and cranny of the town’s plat (map of lots) and its surroundings. He also donated land for many church and school sites in town. Here are some places that are especially interesting for people following In His Tracks.

Site of the Alexander Faribault Trading Post and Log House

Is this where the trading post stood? Is this where the trading post stood? Some researchers have suggested that the trading post used to stand at the northwest end of the Division Street viaduct (to left in photo). The Alexander Faribault house is in the upper right in this photo. There have been many changes to this area since Alexander Faribault built his post. The Straight River used to flow very close to where 1st Ave NE is today. The path of the river was changed in 1901 to make room for train tracks. The soggy land where the old river channel was has been filled in. The bridge and road embankments have been built up. All of this means that the trading post actually may have been almost on the original river bank, probably just beyond the flood plain.

For almost 20 years, a cluster of buildings adjacent to a Wahpekute village was occupied during the trading season by Alexander, and served as a stopping place for traders and travelers. The trading post was sold to Peter Bush, a blacksmith, and became a hotel for early travelers. This was also the area in which the first Breck School was opened.

 

Alexander Faribault House
12 1st Ave. NE

The Faribault family frame house. The Faribault family frame house. This house, built in 1853, is located near what is now a busy intersection in downtown Faribault.

 

An 1869 view of Faribault.
An 1869 view of Faribault. Can you located the Faribault House? There is no river crossing where the viaduct stands today, but you may recognize the triangle of land now located just east of Buckham Memorial Library. For a larger view of this map, visit the Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

As you can read in Alexander Faribault’s Story, Alexander built this house in 1853. It is one of the oldest frame houses still standing in the state. Its construction made it sturdy and spacious, and it was also very stylish. Alexander shared his house with the community. Sometimes church services were held there, and it served as a post office and polling place (a place where people could vote).

There are several interesting stories about the house. One is that Alexander had the lumber to build the house hauled from St. Paul. When the load proved to be too heavy to haul all at once, some of the lumber was left by the side of the trail. Unfortunately, a prairie fire swept through the area before it could be retrieved, and that portion of the lumber burned.

Alexander moved to a new home on the bluffs above the town in 1856, and the Faribault House deteriorated. In the 1950s, the Faribault House was restored with the help of students from Faribault High School and St. Olaf College. Although there have been many changes to the house inside and out, you can still tour the house and stand on the front porch, imagining what Alexander might have seen in 1853.

 

City Parks

Prince of Peace Park. Prince of Peace Park. This park, donated by Alexander Faribault, is located just east of Buckham Memorial Library. You can find the triangle of land on the 1869 bird's eye map above. Alexander also donated land for Central Park.

Alexander Faribault arranged for or donated land to be used as parks for the citizens of Faribault. Central Park was included on the original town plat, and served as the site of many community gatherings. “Faribault Park” was the original name for the small triangle of land near the Buckham Memorial library, on which the Price of Peace statue now stands.

Faribault Family Plot
Calvary Cemetery

Alexander Faribault was very poor when he died in 1882. Alexander Faribault was very poor when he died in 1882. This family marker and a headstone were placed here many years after his death.

The Faribault family plot is the last resting place of possibly more than 50 individuals from the Faribault family, and may include other Dakota relatives and friends as well. In addition to Alexander, his wife, and children, some relatives originally interred near the Faribault House in Mendota may have been relocated to Calvary Cemetery when the railroad line was laid through Mendota (immediately behind the house) in 1865.

Alexander Faribault's last resting place in Calvary Cemetery has a view of the bluffs that inspired him to settle in the area. Alexander Faribault's last resting place in Calvary Cemetery has a view of the bluffs that inspired him to settle in the area. This view also includes some of the other older grave markers at the cemetery. It is notable that Calvary Cemetery was way beyond the outskirts of town when Alexander was buried there, and yet today is bordered by cornfields.

 

The Bea Duncan Memorial Fountain
Heritage Park

This fountain, created by sculptor Ivan Whillock, features the figures of Alexander Faribault and a Dakota trading partner. This fountain, created by sculptor Ivan Whillock, features the figures of Alexander Faribault and a Dakota trading partner. It is located in Faribault close to the Straight River, and not far from the site of Alexander’s trading post and the Alexander Faribault House.

 

You can gather more information about Alexander Faribault by reading Alexander's Story, and learn about his life Before and After the story.

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