A toast to history

There is now a working bar in the kitchen of Minnesota’s first territorial governor, Alexander Ramsey.


The house where Alexander Ramsey lived when he first became a U.S. senator is now home to the occasional happy hour.

Photo courtesy of the Minn. Historical Society

As MPR’s Rupa Shenoy reports, History Happy Hour is part of the Minnesota Historical Society’s latest strategy to attract more visitors to historic sites.

Historical society program director Jayne Becker says Ramsey’s wife, Anna, threw lavish parties and concerts, making the home a center of society in the years after the Civil War. Becker hopes to continue in that tradition.

“To walk in the door and hear, already, laughing, or hear talking, or clapping, it’s just a way of stepping back in time and maybe actually getting a truer picture of what life was actually like when Alexander Ramsey and his wife lived here,” Becker said.

The Ramsey family gave the mansion to the Minnesota Historical Society in the 1960s. Until about two-and-a-half years ago, the society had two full-time staff members working here. Budget cuts forced the Historical society down to one part-time staffer. The Ramsey House reduced its public hours.

The happy hour events could bring in money that would open the house again full-time, Becker said.

Tickets are $20 and come with two drinks. You can find out more about History Happy Hour here.

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