The historic John H. Stevens House, credited as the birthplace of Minneapolis, caught fire early Saturday for the third time in just over a month.
Minneapolis Fire Department Assistant Chief Melanie Rucker said crews responded a little before 4 a.m. Saturday to find "heavy fire" rising from the rear corner of the building. Crews cut through a fence and boarding to douse the blaze, which burned the building's first and second floors as well as the roof near the chimney.
"Fire crews were able to extinguish the exterior and the interior fire with extensive overhaul. No injuries reported," Rucker's statement said. "The fire has been reported to the Minneapolis Park Board. The building has been reboarded up."
The building first caught fire in late August. Crews responded that day to find flames on the back side of the building burning through a first-floor wall, dousing the fire before it spread.
Less than a month later, the building's back side caught fire again. Firefighters extinguished that blaze before it spread past the porch.
The Stevens House was built from 1849 to 1850 on land near where the Minneapolis post office now stands. It soon became a meeting place for early settlers, who went on to found Hennepin County. The city's Park Board took ownership of the house later that century and moved it to Minnehaha Park.
"May lightnings never strike, or fire consume you," Alderman Fred Snyder said after the house arrived at Minnehaha Park. "May the wet and soggy hand of time deal lightly with you. May the elements beat gently on your hollow walls."
Time has not been kind to the renowned structure.
A Star Tribune review of the building found paint cracking along the surface and rot eating away at some posts, siding and trim. The Park Board approved around $93,000 to repair the house in 2021, but previously said it didn't plan to fix the surface until 2023 — after crews have finished fixing urgent repairs for the Godfrey and Longfellow houses.
The causes of all three fires remain under investigation.