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Minnesota's Own

Minnesota's Own

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Preserving Our Grand Homes

Author Larry Millett, Photography by Matt Schmitt

Minnesota Historical Society Press (November 1, 2014)


Larry Millett and photographer Matt Schmitt invite us into twenty-two lovingly preserved homes from across the state through over two hundred color photographs and Millett’s captivating stories of their construction, original owners, and restoration.


Stripped of its original Tiffany light fixtures, lamps, and stained-glass panels, a Lowry Hill mansion was returned to its original grandeur after an owner bought back many of these furnishings. A family in Winona has spent three decades slowly uncovering a landmark Victorian’s hidden beauty. Minneapolis graphic designers have meticulously restored a Frank Lloyd Wright gem, even fabricating never-before-built cabinets, furniture, and rugs Wright originally designed for the home.

In Lost Twin Cities and Once There Were Castles, Larry Millett retrieved Twin Cities architecture vanished in time, giving us a view into buildings and homes lost to demolition, accident, and neglect. In Minnesota’s Own, he and photographer Matt Schmitt invite us into homes from across the state that have been lovingly preserved, saved so that they can remain jewels among the state’s living architecture.

From Duluth to Bemidji, Red Wing to the Twin Cities, Millett and Schmitt travel throughout Minnesota, highlighting homes designed by architects such as Edwin Lundie, Frank Lloyd Wright, and William Purcell and George Elmslie and with sumptuous ornamentation by local craftspeople including interior decorator John Bradstreet and woodcarver Johannes Kirchmayer. Homes originally owned by Daytons, Hills, and Ramseys find themselves in new hands that have taken great care in their upkeep and preservation.

Minnesota’s Own welcomes readers into twenty-two of these homes through over two hundred color photographs and Millett’s captivating stories of their construction, original owners, and restorations.

This book is generously funded by the Jeffris Family Foundation of Janesville, Wisconsin, which is committed to funding projects that preserve cultural history in the Midwest through the preservation of regionally and nationally important buildings and decorative arts projects.

Author information

Larry Millett is an architectural historian and award-winning writer whose books include Lost Twin Cities, AIA Guide to the Twin Cities, and Twin Cities Then and Now.

St. Paul native Matt Schmitt has enjoyed a three-decade career in advertising, commercial, and architectural photography.

Reviews and news

Advance Praise:

“Beautiful homes are the product of amazing craftspeople brought into sweet harmony by a talented architect, all in service to enlightened clients. Just such beauty is brilliantly captured on the pages of Minnesota’s Own through the seductive power of photography by Matt Schmitt and the informative writing of Larry Millett. Together they expose the hidden gems across Minnesota and treat us to the splendor of our forefathers’ craft.”
Dale Mulfinger, principal emeritus, SALA Architects, and author of The Architecture of Edwin Lundie

Minnesota’s Own is a picture book of the highest order with beautiful and luscious images that speak compellingly for themselves. But it is more than eye candy. It tells the stories of how twenty-two great Minnesota houses came to be and how they have been preserved. It weaves together the aspirations, egos, and ambitions of the owners, architects, and craftsmen who commissioned, designed, built, and later preserved them. The memories of historic figures, great ambitions, economic boom and bust, and personal tragedy echo in the descriptions, drawings, and images of these houses as lovingly presented by Larry Millett and Matt Schmitt.”
Thomas Meyer, founding principal, MSR Architects

“This rich and sumptuous book is a real feast for the eyes. The combination of Larry Millett’s witty and informative text and Matt Schmitt’s beautiful photographs has resulted in one of the finest books yet produced on Minnesota’s exquisite residential architecture.”
Alan K. Lathrop, director emeritus, Northwest Architectural Archives

In the Media:

Feature: Star Tribune interview with Larry Millett

MPR interview & slide show
Pioneer Press
Bemidji Pioneer
LaCrosse Tribune
Stillwater Current
Rochester Post Bulletin
Winona Daily News


  • 320 pages
  • 75 b&w and 200 color photographs, 44 architectural illus., map, index, bibliography
  • 11 x 10 inches
  • ISBN: 9780873519298

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