Counties with the oldest homes in Minnesota

Written by:
August 27, 2022
Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

Counties with the oldest homes in Minnesota

There's an undeniable charm that comes with pre-World War II American architecture, characterized by high ceilings, crown molding, hardwood floors, and ornate details. In fact, 12.8% of all housing units in America were built in 1939 or before, showing the popularity of the preservation of these units. Owning a piece of history can sometimes come with a cost: Many old homes come with asbestos, lead piping, knob-and-tube wiring, and other outdated building styles that can rack up a hefty price tag to modernize. However, with more and more modernized pre-war homes on the market, generally located just outside bustling downtown metros, investing in property that has withstood the test of time is an attractive prospect.

Stacker compiled a list of the counties in Minnesota with the oldest homes using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by median year the structure was built according to 2020 5-year estimates. Ties broken by the highest percentage of homes built before 1939.

The country's domestic architecture is perhaps best characterized by a rugged individualism as opposed to the hybridization of disparate architectural elements. As Maya Angelou once perceptively observed, "the ache for home lives in all of us," a phrase that has meant very different things to different people.

Modest or palatial, there is no shortage of noteworthy homes in the U.S. Log cabins constructed by industrious pioneers have dotted the landscape alongside traditional Native American dwellings ever since immigrant Swedes introduced them to the New World in 1638. The unprecedented personal fortunes amassed by the so-called "Robber Barons" at the close of the 19th century gave way to the construction of a staggering number of Gilded Age estates.

The ravages of time spared neither the sumptuous nor the humble. Stately mansions, often prohibitively costly to maintain in the modern era, were frequently neglected; simple structures were forgotten, discarded by their owners, and damaged by natural elements. However, the tireless efforts of architectural preservationists and local historical societies have saved many of these homes from demolition, leading to their inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and thereby safeguarding them for future generations.

Keep reading to learn more about which counties in Minnesota have the oldest homes.

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Le Sueur County

- Median year homes built: 1975
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.8% (2,788 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 22.1% (2,823 homes)
- Total homes built: 12,788
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Andrew Filer (afiler) // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Mahnomen County

- Median year homes built: 1974
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 15.0% (417 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.5% (429 homes)
- Total homes built: 2,771
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Tony Webster // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Carlton County

- Median year homes built: 1974
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 17.6% (2,835 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 17.8% (2,878 homes)
- Total homes built: 16,148
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Wadena County

- Median year homes built: 1974
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 17.9% (1,285 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.4% (1,102 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,165
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Elkman // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Meeker County

- Median year homes built: 1974
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 19.8% (2,167 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 17.1% (1,872 homes)
- Total homes built: 10,951

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Todd County

- Median year homes built: 1974
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.0% (2,794 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 21.6% (2,870 homes)
- Total homes built: 13,282
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Goodhue County

- Median year homes built: 1974
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 24.8% (5,127 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 17.3% (3,586 homes)
- Total homes built: 20,678
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Myotus // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Steele County

- Median year homes built: 1972
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.4% (3,525 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 16.2% (2,547 homes)
- Total homes built: 15,710
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Pope County

- Median year homes built: 1972
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 24.1% (1,603 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 19.2% (1,279 homes)
- Total homes built: 6,652
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Ed Lombard // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Koochiching County

- Median year homes built: 1971
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 12.3% (973 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.4% (988 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,936

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Checubus // Shutterstock

#40. Hennepin County

- Median year homes built: 1971
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.6% (100,115 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 14.6% (78,961 homes)
- Total homes built: 539,223
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Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Pennington County

- Median year homes built: 1971
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.5% (1,415 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.4% (1,016 homes)
- Total homes built: 6,587
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Winona County

- Median year homes built: 1971
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.3% (6,437 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.0% (3,186 homes)
- Total homes built: 21,258
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Tony Webster // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Lyon County

- Median year homes built: 1970
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.6% (2,324 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 11.3% (1,279 homes)
- Total homes built: 11,302
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Marshall County

- Median year homes built: 1970
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.9% (1,052 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 11.3% (543 homes)
- Total homes built: 4,797

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Myotus // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Polk County

- Median year homes built: 1970
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.4% (3,357 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 14.2% (2,140 homes)
- Total homes built: 15,020
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Houston County

- Median year homes built: 1970
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.9% (2,273 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 13.1% (1,148 homes)
- Total homes built: 8,762
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Gobonobo // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Grant County

- Median year homes built: 1970
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 27.4% (906 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.9% (525 homes)
- Total homes built: 3,308
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Lake County

- Median year homes built: 1969
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 15.2% (1,197 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 16.6% (1,309 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,890
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Waseca County

- Median year homes built: 1969
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.4% (2,014 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 11.6% (923 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,933

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Red Lake County

- Median year homes built: 1969
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.0% (562 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 13.1% (254 homes)
- Total homes built: 1,940
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Gobonobo // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Stevens County

- Median year homes built: 1968
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.9% (930 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.8% (546 homes)
- Total homes built: 4,252
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Wilkin County

- Median year homes built: 1966
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 23.6% (741 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.4% (483 homes)
- Total homes built: 3,142
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Nobles County

- Median year homes built: 1964
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.0% (2,172 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.4% (729 homes)
- Total homes built: 8,679
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Mulad // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Ramsey County

- Median year homes built: 1964
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.7% (56,909 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 9.5% (21,033 homes)
- Total homes built: 221,092

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Murray County

- Median year homes built: 1964
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.0% (1,303 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 11.6% (538 homes)
- Total homes built: 4,657
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Myotus // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Kittson County

- Median year homes built: 1963
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 24.6% (643 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.3% (165 homes)
- Total homes built: 2,613
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Lincoln County

- Median year homes built: 1963
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.5% (960 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 11.7% (370 homes)
- Total homes built: 3,150
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Fillmore County

- Median year homes built: 1963
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 34.9% (3,489 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 18.4% (1,841 homes)
- Total homes built: 10,002
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Canva

#21. St. Louis County

- Median year homes built: 1962
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.6% (30,012 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.4% (13,037 homes)
- Total homes built: 105,010

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Mathieu Nicklay // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Norman County

- Median year homes built: 1962
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.8% (1,022 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.7% (300 homes)
- Total homes built: 3,434
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Elkman // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Sibley County

- Median year homes built: 1962
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.0% (2,050 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.9% (849 homes)
- Total homes built: 6,606
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Pipestone County

- Median year homes built: 1960
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.6% (1,284 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 9.0% (405 homes)
- Total homes built: 4,491
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Big Stone County

- Median year homes built: 1960
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.1% (941 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.9% (278 homes)
- Total homes built: 3,124
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Brown County

- Median year homes built: 1960
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.3% (3,683 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 10.7% (1,257 homes)
- Total homes built: 11,750

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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Traverse County

- Median year homes built: 1960
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.2% (674 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 9.7% (203 homes)
- Total homes built: 2,091
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Freeborn County

- Median year homes built: 1959
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 27.0% (3,875 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.6% (1,231 homes)
- Total homes built: 14,371
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Chippewa County

- Median year homes built: 1958
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.6% (1,513 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.9% (507 homes)
- Total homes built: 5,681
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Swift County

- Median year homes built: 1958
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.8% (1,393 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 9.5% (458 homes)
- Total homes built: 4,830
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Rock County

- Median year homes built: 1958
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.6% (1,273 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 10.9% (470 homes)
- Total homes built: 4,296

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David Daniel // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Cottonwood County

- Median year homes built: 1957
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.6% (1,606 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.7% (363 homes)
- Total homes built: 5,418
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Redwood County

- Median year homes built: 1957
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.4% (2,381 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.1% (596 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,344
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Jackson County

- Median year homes built: 1957
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 34.1% (1,730 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 7.7% (390 homes)
- Total homes built: 5,068
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Darb02 // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Mower County

- Median year homes built: 1956
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.1% (4,459 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 11.0% (1,878 homes)
- Total homes built: 17,100
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Martin County

- Median year homes built: 1956
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.3% (3,117 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 7.6% (753 homes)
- Total homes built: 9,953

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Tony Webster // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Renville County

- Median year homes built: 1956
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 37.1% (2,720 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 7.9% (578 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,334
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Jatakuck // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Watonwan County

- Median year homes built: 1955
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.9% (1,812 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.5% (428 homes)
- Total homes built: 5,054
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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Yellow Medicine County

- Median year homes built: 1955
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 36.3% (1,730 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 7.1% (339 homes)
- Total homes built: 4,763
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Faribault County

- Median year homes built: 1952
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 37.1% (2,611 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 4.6% (326 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,034
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Jet Lowe // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Lac qui Parle County

- Median year homes built: 1950
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 40.7% (1,498 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 5.5% (201 homes)
- Total homes built: 3,680

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