Counties with the oldest homes in Minnesota

Written by:
September 12, 2021
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history can sometimes come with a cost: Many old homes come with asbestos, lead piping, knob-and-tube wiring, and other outdated building styles that can rack up a hefty price tag to modernize.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, with ties broken by the most homes 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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Gobonobo // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Grant County

- Median year homes built: 1968
--- #696 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.3%
--- #468 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 3,302
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Wilkin County

- Median year homes built: 1967
--- #674 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.1%
--- #864 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 3,117
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Gobonobo // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Stevens County

- Median year homes built: 1966
--- #617 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.1%
--- #805 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 4,214
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Myotus // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Kittson County

- Median year homes built: 1966
--- #611 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 23.6%
--- #720 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,610
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Mulad // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Ramsey County

- Median year homes built: 1964
--- #520 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.8%
--- #592 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 219,977
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Murray County

- Median year homes built: 1963
--- #470 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 27.8%
--- #506 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 4,627
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Lincoln County

- Median year homes built: 1963
--- #462 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.8%
--- #321 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 3,135
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Fillmore County

- Median year homes built: 1963
--- #456 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 36.0%
--- #183 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 9,965
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Nobles County

- Median year homes built: 1962
--- #440 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 24.1%
--- #688 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 8,659
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Mathieu Nicklay // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Norman County

- Median year homes built: 1962
--- #423 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.1%
--- #394 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 3,429
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Elkman // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Sibley County

- Median year homes built: 1962
--- #415 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.6%
--- #283 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 6,602
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Canva

#19. St. Louis County

- Median year homes built: 1961
--- #380 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 27.9%
--- #493 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 104,654
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Traverse County

- Median year homes built: 1961
--- #373 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.3%
--- #384 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,065
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Brown County

- Median year homes built: 1961
--- #370 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.7%
--- #365 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 11,729
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Chippewa County

- Median year homes built: 1959
--- #304 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.8%
--- #546 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 5,713
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Pipestone County

- Median year homes built: 1959
--- #300 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.8%
--- #446 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 4,500
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Freeborn County

- Median year homes built: 1958
--- #268 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.0%
--- #488 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 14,357
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Rock County

- Median year homes built: 1958
--- #262 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.0%
--- #354 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 4,267
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Swift County

- Median year homes built: 1958
--- #261 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.0%
--- #353 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 4,843
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Big Stone County

- Median year homes built: 1958
--- #259 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.7%
--- #322 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 3,152
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David Daniel // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Cottonwood County

- Median year homes built: 1957
--- #232 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.1%
--- #436 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 5,423
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McGhiever // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Redwood County

- Median year homes built: 1957
--- #224 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.2%
--- #302 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 7,327
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Jackson County

- Median year homes built: 1957
--- #222 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.6%
--- #284 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 5,077
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Darb02 // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Mower County

- Median year homes built: 1956
--- #199 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.6%
--- #558 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 17,071
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Tony Webster // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Renville County

- Median year homes built: 1956
--- #178 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 36.1%
--- #175 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 7,353
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Martin County

- Median year homes built: 1955
--- #163 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.2%
--- #345 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 9,981
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Jatakuck // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Watonwan County

- Median year homes built: 1953
--- #105 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 37.1%
--- #152 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 5,056
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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Yellow Medicine County

- Median year homes built: 1953
--- #104 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 38.3%
--- #129 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 4,767
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Faribault County

- Median year homes built: 1952
--- #86 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 37.7%
--- #141 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 7,043
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Jet Lowe // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Lac qui Parle County

- Median year homes built: 1950
--- #50 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 40.4%
--- #83 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 3,672

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