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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - The future of a piece of Olmsted County history is now in the hands of a Rochester businessman.

The Olmsted County Board Tuesday approved the transfer of the historic Biermann House to Joe Powers, ending a process that began in 2018. That’s when the county board approved a proposal from Powers to take ownership of the deteriorating house and property located near the Mayowood mansion. It was facing possible demolition at the time.

But before the deed transfer could take place, the county had to acquire another piece of property because federal and state funds were used to purchase the Biermann site. That search ended with the purchase of the Fisherman’s Inn site which will be turned into a park.

Biermann House Rochester
Biermann House Rochester (photo courtesy of Olmsted County)

Powers has reimbursed the county for the $50,000 it spent formalizing the title transfer.

The initial proposal from Powers was to renovate the house and convert it into a two or three-unit apartment complex. He now says “there’s a good chance I’ll live there.” Powers says the house “needs a tremendous amount of work” before he can move in.  He plans to work with experts to figure out how the house can be restored and made livable without affecting its historical character.

The house was built in the 1860s by a farmer who later sold it to Adolph Biermann. He owned the property until 1907 when he sold it to Charles and William Mayo. The county acquired the property in 1979.

Olmsted County document
Olmsted County document

Here is an excerpt from a forgottenminnesota.com story about the house:

In 1907, Biermann sold his 340-acre farm to William and Charles Mayo for $20,000. He moved a few miles east to a smaller farm where he lived until his death in 1914. The Mayo brothers were likely familiar with the Biermann property because of its popularity as a private picnic spot for Rochester’s young social elite. They intended on using the farm as a summer residence because of its picturesque landscape and proximity to the Zumbro River. Charles--known colloquially as Dr. Charlie--and his family often stayed at the Biermann house before building a weekend retreat adjacent to the home. The family then constructed Mayowood on top of the hill and moved into the sprawling mansion in the 1920s.

Read more about the history of the Biermann House here.

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