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Plummer House, Rochester

#7 of 36 in Things to do in Rochester
Historic Site · Tourist Spot
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The Plummer House is the former residence of Dr. Henry Stanley Plummer and Daisy Berkman Plummer. Located in Rochester, Minnesota and originally called Quarry Hill, the English Tudor mansion stood on a 65-acre (26 ha) estate which included a greenhouse, water tower, garage, and gazebo. The house is also called Henry S. Plummer House.

Dr. Plummer, a Mayo Clinic partner and founder, worked very closely with Ellerby and Round, the architects of record, on the design of the house. The house includes many innovations that were quite novel for their time, including a central vacuum system, underground sprinkler system, intercommunications system, dumbwaiter, security system, electricity and gas lighting, the first gas furnace in the city, garage door openers, heated pool, water tower, and two caves going into the house and the water tower. The 5 story home is over 300 feet (91 m) long, with 49 rooms including 10 bathrooms, 9 bedrooms, a 3rd floor ballroom, pipe organ, and 5 fireplaces. This translates to 11,000 square feet of living space and over 20,000 square feet total, including the basement and attached garage and greenhouse. There is a 220 ft long by 18 ft wide underground passageway connecting the main house to the caretakers cottage at the bottom of the hill.

After the death of Dr. Plummer in 1936, his wife, Daisy Berkman Plummer, and their two children, continued to live in the home until 1969. In 1971, Daisy Plummer and family gave the house with all its furnishings to the Rochester Art Center with the understanding that it would be operated as a Center for the Arts, to be used for music recitals and dance performances, as well as a setting for artists to create and show their work. The Plummer House was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

Today, Rochester Park and Rec maintains the building, and 11 acres (4.5 ha) of original estate, as a private rental facility. In the summer, the beautiful gardens make the Plummer House a popular venue for weddings. Visible from much of south west Rochester, the Plummer House and its water tower mark the summit of a Rochester neighborhood nicknamed Pill Hill, so called because it typically houses many Mayo doctors.
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  • We were walking around the SW historical area and saw signs for the Plummer House. He were curious so we followed the signs to the house. We were pleasantly surprised. It is a beautiful stone and... 
    We were walking around the SW historical area and saw signs for the Plummer House. He were curious so we followed the signs to the house. We were pleasantly surprised. It is a beautiful stone and...  more »
  • Went exploring the area a found this gem. You can walk/explore the garden for free at whatever times it's open. (Note: no restroom available). The gardens are beautiful to walk through. Would be a great place for photo shoots or picnic. I was a little sad when I tried to find old photos of what some of the structures might have looked like or even what they were. Wish we would have been there on a day they did the house tour, but another time
  • Coming to the Plummer House was always such a lovely experience when I resided in Rochester, MN. The grounds are so beautiful, and no matter the time of year, it was always a privilege to have the opportunity to walk around and explore this place. I've visited during all four seasons of the year, and even on the coldest Minnesota day, it is still so pretty (particularly with fresh snow on the ground)! It’s a really wonderful look at the history of the town, but also serves as great spot for a picnic or stroll if you just want to be outdoors. I never did have the opportunity to tour the house, but I'm confident it's worth the trip for that as well! If you’re in the area to visit (or if you reside in town and are looking for a new place to adventure to), check this place out!

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