The Hubbard House played a very significant role in the social life of Mankato and the pleasant ambiance provided by the Hubbards continues to delight visitors of this elegant residence.
The Hubbard House represents one of the finest examples of the classic Victorian style that once graced South Broad Street, Mankato's "silk stocking district." The Hubbard House has survived in its original form, having only been occupied by the Hubbard family for 67 years before the Blue Earth County Historical Society (BECHS) took over preservation in 1938. R.D. Hubbard built this house in three stages during 1871, 1888 and 1905, and about a quarter of the Hubbard family's original furniture can still be found in the home today. The remainder of the furnishings are antiques dating from the contemporary 1900s and have been donated by generous patrons of BECHS.
Built in the French Second Empire style, the Hubbard House is constructed of brick and wood on a basement of cut stone. The main house is two and a half stories with a mansard roof of colored slate, with the 1888 construction adding another one and a half stories to the house. Built in 1890, the carriage house is a brick structure of two stories that was originally located on the far side of Glenwood Creek, but in 1977 was relocated inside the Palmer Centennial Garden area next to the Hubbard House. This structure still houses many antique vehicles.
Saving the turn-of-the-century landmark from a wrecker's ball, in 1938 BECHS purchased the Hubbard House from Mary Esther, the youngest of Hubbard's daughters. BECHS deeded the property to the City of Mankato, which assumed all maintenance costs, while BECHS operated the museum and maintained the artifacts from the house. All of the fourteen rooms are open to the public and equipped with handicapped-accessible conveniences.
The Hubbard House's interior combines beauty and innovative utility which R. D. Hubbard considered so important. Hubbard installed a central heating system and a Boyington furnace in his house at the time it was built in 1871. The house features four bathrooms, which was during an era when bathrooms were not very common. In the pantry and kitchen one sees the original gas pipes and turn cocks from the pre-electricity days of house lighting.
While the library has had its original cotton wall coverings preserved, much of the wallpapers in the house are replicas located by designer Linda Nussbaumer to exemplify interior design of the 1900 period. For example, the silk damask wall coverings found in the parlor are imported from Paris, and they contain the same color and pattern as original silk wall hangings of the house in 1905. Each of the three fireplaces on the first floor are formed in a distinctive style using imported Spanish and Italian marble and Brazilian onyx. The elegance and craftsmanship of the oak staircase speaks for itself, replacing an iron spiral staircase in 1888.
To learn more about the Hubbard Family, click here.