Grimes House


4200 W 44th Street
Edina, MN 55424


Jonathan Taylor and Elizabeth (Eliza) Gordon Grimes were the first settlers in the Edina Mills district, establishing their 16-acre ‘Lake Calhoun Nursery' in 1858. Grimes' homestead included a small house and apple orchards where they experimented with many different plants.
Grimes House
Jonathan Grimes purchased the Edina Mill in 1859, and improved it with a new dam and spillway, before selling it eight years later. During the early years of the Civil War, the mill ran 24-hours-a-day to meet the required amount delivered to the army at Fort Snelling.

The Lake Calhoun Nursery brought the Catalpa tree to Minnesota, and in no time, that became an important greenery source for Minneapolis, supplying trees that still shade and border Hennepin, Lyndale and University avenues. Because of Jonathan Grimes' reputation in the area, he was given the honor of serving as the first president of the Minnesota State Horticulture Society. Jonathan Grimes was also known for his beliefs in abolitionism and pacifism. While this set him apart from his conservative neighbors, it endeared him to nearby Quaker families.

When Eliza died in 1902 and Jonathan in 1903, their children gradually sold parcels of the original farm. Much of this was platted from Edina's present-day neighborhood of Morningside, which celebrated its Centennial in 2005.

Historical Significance

The Grimes House, built in 1869, is a product of mid-nineteenth century American pattern book architecture, probably inspired by Andrew Jackson Downing's The Architecture of Country Houses (1850). The oldest house standing in Edina, it is a rare, well-preserved example of cottage architecture from the early settlement period. Contextually, it relates to the themes of agriculture and rural life, and it is also historically significant for its association with Jonathan Taylor Grimes (1818 - 1903), an early settler and pioneer horticulturist.

Architectural Significance

The historic Jonathan Taylor Grimes House is a 1 and 1/2 story frame cottage with a compound plan, clapboard siding, intersecting gable roofs, dormers, a bay window and a shallow front porch. The house displays Gothic Revival style detailing in the form of its steeply pitched roof, gabled wall dormers, and lancet second-floor windows. The shallow portico and wide eaves with their scroll-cut brackets are an Italian Villa (Italianate) stylistic detail.

National Register of Historic Places

The Jonathan Grimes house was added to the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places in 1975; recognizing the notoriety of Jonathan Grimes in the Edina Community, as well as the home's historic status as one of the few remaining Gothic Revival styles remaining in the Minneapolis - St. Paul metropolitan area.

Heritage Landmark Designation

Originally included in the City's heritage preservation overlay district in 1976, the Jonathan Grimes home was again re-designated an Edina Heritage Landmark in 2003 to comply with the updated zoning ordinance addressing landmark designations This designation honors Jonathan Grimes as an early settler and pioneer horticulturist; and celebrates Grimes' home as a rare, well-preserved example of Gothic Revival architecture from the early settlement period. The landmark designation is supported by a plan of treatment as a guide for the future.