Historical Highlights

History 1

Historic Property Name:
Hunt House, Lewis P. Hunt and Lisbeth (Putnam) Hunt

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places


History 5

In 1886, the home was purchased by Lewis P. and Lisbeth (Putnam) Hunt. The Hunt’s constructed the turret or “tower” with spiral staircase, front entryway and parlor with bay window. The Hunt’s also enlarged the dining room and added a porch to the back.

In 1887 Lewis P. Hunt became sole owner of the Free Press in Mankato, which in 1887 became a daily newspaper with Hunt as Editor and General Manager. Hunt owned the Mankato Free Press through 1906. Hunt owned the Editorial Association in 1889 and was Postmaster of Mankato in 1883 and 1897.

In 1908, the Hunts sold the home and moved to Alaska to run a canning factory with several people from Mankato.

Lisbeth “Lizzie” Hunt was one of the founders of the Mankato Art History Club, organized in 1896, which is still active today. She also encouraged arts in the public schools and was a member of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society. According to an article published in the 1946 Mankato Free Press by Lucy Pope Taylor, who grew up across the street from the Hunts, Lizzie was a business woman, as the general contractor for the construction of four houses in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. She was often seen wearing an old felt hat and overcoat of her husband’s during the day and wore a black lace or velvet dress with diamond earrings during the evening.

History 6


In 1911, George and Agnes Atchison bought the former Hunt house. George was in real estate and served as a member of the City Council as well as several terms as the Director of the Chamber of Commerce. He founded the Mankato Fair Association and was a member of the State Fair Board. They owned the home until 1934 and after the home was vacant for several years.


In 1938, Henry and Betty Webb rented the house and then purchased it. From 1940-2015, for the next 75 years, the home remained in the Webb-Hanson family. Betty had a beauty shop in the parlor of the home called, “Moulin Rouge Beauty Shop” that her daughter Cecilia Hanson continued operating. Cecelia is well-remembered by many in Mankato who got their hair done in the historic home’s parlor. Four Generations of the Webb-Hanson family lived in the home during this period.


In 2015, the home was purchased by Mankato developers, who wanted to tear down the home to create an apartment building. The City of Mankato denied this request due to the home’s historical significance in the community and the home sat empty until 2018, when Chris Crowell purchased it.


In 2018, Chris Crowell and Kristin Fisher purchased the home with the intention to restore it to its original beauty and open a Bed & Breakfast with 3 guest rooms, called Moulin Rouge House B&B, named after the original Moulin Rouge Beauty Shop.

History 7

Architectural Highlights

  • Spiral staircase inside the turret with curved railing and large circular window with multi-colored stained-glass triangles
  • Decorative inlaid wood floors in the 2 entryways, living room and 2nd floor landing that are unique to the Victorian Era
  • Stamped metal ceiling tiles in the living room
  • 2 fireplaces
  • Stained glass window in the dining room that was missing and we replaced with another historic stained glass window that local artist, Tom Hall, rebuilt.
  • Each guest room has an en-suite bathroom for guest privacy. Each of the 5 bathrooms are all brand new, with ceramic and marble tile and new fixtures. Thanks to The Tile Guys here in Mankato for the beautiful tile work.
  • Brick Turret or “Tower” with a conical cap, a cornice with modillions and a band of checkerboard brickwork beneath the cornice.
  • The Tower is highlighted with an unusual circular window with colored glass triangles. It is framed by bracketed surround to accent its uniqueness.
  • Limestone walkway, in the front of the bay window that we recently replicated to its original design
  • The Front porch features decorative turned columns, brackets, dentils, modillions at the corner and a frieze with an inlaid cement floor. The porch roof was falling down and rotting when we purchased the home and we rebuilt the frame, put new roofing on, replicated and replaced rotting wood columns and accents, painted with accent colors of green, gold and red
  • Prominent Bay Window in the front of the home featuring a leaded glass window, that Lewis Hunt brought to Mankato in 1893 from the Columbian Exposition at The Chicago World’s Fair, where it was built into the French Pavilion. We restored the window by removing the curved glass and rebuilding the rotting frame and taking out the decorative leaded glass window and having it rebuilt with new lead by local artist, Tom Hall.
  • Side porch from the front to the rear of the home featuring ornate fretwork “stick and ball” design from the Victorian Era.
  • The peaks of the house have decorative siding that we painted in red and gold accent colors to highlight their unique design.
  • The backyard of the home was overgrown with bushes and weeds. We cleared it and added a brick paver patio, garden beds, limestone walkway and tarred parking lot for guest parking. Instead of tarring the driveway, we decided to keep the historic integrity by doing pavers with grass planted in the middle.

Restoration Gallery

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