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Justus Ramsey House to be rebuilt in the Transportation Museum, proposes new bill

New bill proposes to preserve the Justus Ramsey House, one of Minnesota’s oldest houses
New bill proposes to preserve the Justus Ramsey House, one of Minnesota’s oldest houses 02:04

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A push to preserve one of the oldest houses in the state is in full swing.

A bill has been proposed to move the Justus Ramsey house in St. Paul to preserve it's historic relevance to the state of Minnesota, especially the African American Community.

The bill, titled HF 3517, is asking for $500,000 dollars to move Justice Ramsey House to the Minnesota Transportation Museum.  

"This is history that we are preserving in the state of Minnesota," said State Representative Samakab Hussein. "Before even Rondo, when African Americans come to St. Paul Justus Ramsey House used to be the hub for our community."

The 171-year-old stone building has been at the center of a preservation battle for years.

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The building is connected to the city's early Black community, dating back to Minnesota's territorial days. 

"This is really St. Paul's history, it's a bigger picture it talks about how black people came here whether they came off the railroad or if they came off the river early on, and they were successful hard-working people who lived here and eventually has businesses and were successful," said Frank White.

Community stakeholders believe saving this building is important to teach the next generation about the state's African American history. Especially the time before St. Paul's Rondo neighborhood got split by Interstate 94.

"Our narratives can no longer be absent and we have rich narratives as resilient people," said Dr. Robin Hickman-Winfield.

"If you don't tell the story it is lost forever, and a library is not built, and that's what we are trying to do here today. We're trying to build the library of the city of St. Paul and the state of Minnesota with the many volumes of the untold story of the African-American presence in the state of Minnesota," said Marvin Anderson.

The stone building was taken down brick-by-brick, and if the bill passes it would be re-constructed on site at the Minnesota Transportation Museum.

"This bill, which is more than just a bill, it is vision, it is history, it is a part of real people's lives that has not been told," said Ramsey County Commissioner Rena Moran.

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