3 Bluegrass Bands Playing Outdoors Under the Eaves of the Historic George Stoppel Barn.
To bring awareness to the historic significance and preservation of the 1860s George Stoppel Farmstead, and to usher in autumn, the History Center of Olmsted County is putting on Bluegrass and Bites: Hootenanny at the History Center. Enjoy a crisp fall afternoon listening to blazing banjos, fiery fiddles, and melodic mandolins play old-timey country tunes while grazing on bites from Taco Jed and Foragers. The bands will be playing on the grounds of the historic George Stoppel Farmstead. While music plays, take a peek in the barn and the caverns and check out the vintage farm equipment displayed on the grounds. Ticket price includes admission to the History Center museum.
Music begins at noon with Root River Jam, an Americana Roots band based in Southeastern Minnesota. Their original music includes styles from folk, country, rock, blues, Celtic, and jazz. Up next are the Double Down Daredevils, a 6-piece bluegrass band playing bluegrass and Americana music with a special emphasis on 2, 3 and 4 part vocal harmonies. They're a kind of "Bluegrass Boys meets The Oak Ridge Boys" group. Closing out the jam is a duo from the High 48s, joined by the incomparable Becky Schlegel.
The audience can enjoy this outdoor event while following our pandemic protocol. All family/friend groups will be seated at picnic tables dispersed at least six feet apart. Wear a mask when not eating or drinking. Hand sanitizing stations will be provided.
To help ensure social distancing, in case of inclement weather the event will be held one week later on Saturday, September 19th at the same time and location. All tickets will be honored at that time. Tickets are available at Olmstedhistory.com.
About the George Stoppel Farmstead.
Hailing from Germany, brothers Joseph and George Stoppel made their way to the United States in the 1840s. In 1856, they and their families migrated to Minnesota and settled side-by-side on land in Rochester Township. George bought his 160-acre plot of land for $200. During their first winter on the land, a hand-dug cave provided shelter for the newly arrived Stoppels. They expanded the caverns, quarrying stone for building material for their home and farm buildings and later using them for storing perishable food items. Around 1861, George and his family moved into the ashlar limestone house that you see here today. Just behind the house is a unique utility area made up of a two-and-half story smokehouse, living quarters for hired hands, a workshop area, a wood shed, a privy, and a general storage building with bell tower.
The barn is the central structure of any farm and the Stoppel Barn may pre-date the stone house. It was built with a limestone masonry foundation and a wood frame covered with vertical board and batton siding. Positioned just to the northeast of the house, this barn provided space for the farm's livestock in the lower level while a drive into hay-mow made easy storage for animal fodder and bedding above.
The Future of the George Stoppel Farmstead.
A key feature of the History Center’s strategic plan is Upholding Our Legacy. Central to that promise is preserving and activating the George Stoppel Farmstead. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the property is our most significant and remains remarkably intact. Throughout the years, the History Center has reroofed the house and barn, replaced windows, repaired and painted wood construction, and in 2019 had a stone mason repair the southeast corner of the barn.
The stone house, bank barn, smokehouse, caves, and landscape offer opportunities to tell the stories of early Olmsted County settlers and farmsteads; immigration and ethnic traditions in architecture and building trades; and agricultural changes in a rapidly developing county. The significance of the site is clear, and the History Center board, staff, and volunteers are committed to preserving the Stoppel Farmstead and sharing the stories it tells.