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Plummer House, Rochester

#7 of 33 in Things to do in Rochester
Historic Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
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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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
134 reviews
  • 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 »
  • What a beautiful place. The landscaping was amazing. The gardens cool and inviting. How awesome that Rochester has maintained this jewel.  more »
  • This is a beautiful historic building and grounds that is open to the public. It's nice to just stroll around the yard in the spring and summer and enjoy the many flowers planted there by parks and rec. Renting the building and grounds for private events is a nice option for the public despite its limited capacity.
  • They have a restaurant im told, i just walked the grounds right after they closed, but people go here for wedding pictures, they have 2 fountains and more flowers than you can shake a stick at. Some old grounds, pretty cool, lots of steps, steps of stone, its all the way at the top up a big ole hill. I thought it was a groovy place, and i would still like to try the restaurant.

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