Your trip to Pipestone won't be complete without a visit to our Downtown Historic District. A trip down Main Street will take you to the heart of the district.
History of Historic District
The Pipestone Commercial Historic District is comprised of approximately 30 commercial buildings located in a two-block area of downtown Pipestone. The town was first platted from 1873 to 1874. Pipestone experienced a boom from 1883 to 1884--the result of the establishment of railroad service to the area and successful land promotional efforts by the South Minnesota Land Company. The character of the district is derived from the exclusive use of Sioux quartzite as a building material in 17 of the buildings, making it the largest concentration of Sioux quartzite buildings in the state. The majority of these buildings were built in the 1890s and visually relate to each other in height, scale and vernacular style, sharing a common texture and color of building materials.
The most visually prominent building is the Calumet Hotel, a four-story Richardsonian Romanesque structure which occupies the main intersection in the downtown. Pipestone City Hall also illustrates the Richardsonian Romanesque style; the Neoclassical style is represented in the two buildings constructed for the First National Bank at 101 W. Main Street and 113 W. Main Street; the Italianate style can be seen at the Syndicate Block . Three of the buildings in the district are embellished with relief sculpture carved by local skilled craftsmen. The key to the beauty of Pipestone's buildings is how the stone is cut, dressed and arranged in the building walls. The masons used rough-faced stone, clearly marked joints, and arranged blocks in a variety of patterns and colors. The color variety of the historic district was produced by a blending lighter Sioux quartzite from the Jasper quarries with darker Sioux quartzite from the Pipestone quarries. Many of the early business establishments constructed during the 1880s and 1890s were built of Sioux quartzite. These are the buildings which comprise the district today and continue to serve commercial purposes.
In the late 1970s, these unique buildings were recognized by their designation as a historic district on the National Register. It was one of the first to be designated as a district and its boundaries have been further enlarged by local designation of sites.
You are invited to enjoy these buildings. More information and guided tours are available at the Pipestone County Museum, located at 113 South Hiawatha. Walking-tour brochures are also available.