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Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Layman’

P.T. Barnum Circus”' elephants, tigers, tents, and Tom Thumb, amidst urban, pioneer, frugal splendor “paints” image of the Layman Family and their Cedar Avenue homestead

P.T. Barnum Circus”' elephants, tigers, tents, and Tom Thumb, amidst urban, pioneer, frugal splendor “paints” image of the Layman Family and their Cedar Avenue homestead

by Sue Hunter Weir When Martin and Elizabeth Layman arrived in Minnesota in 1852-53, they set up housekeeping in a log cabin. It was a tight fit. They had ten children at the time and three more after they arrived. In 1857, Martin Layman built what is believed to be the sixth permanent house in what later became Minneapolis. There is no question that the Laymans worked hard, and they certainly prospered. In addition to owning the cemetery, they had a large farm where they grew fruit and vegetables. They sold their surplus food as well as wheat and oats that they grew. They sold the hay that they mowed and gathered in the cemetery. The sons hired out to work on other farms during the harvest season. They raised their own farm animals and sheared sheep for their neighbors. If there was work to be done, the Laymans could be counted on to do it. In 1876, the Martin and Elizabeth Layman built their dream house directly across the street from the cemetery”'s gates near what is now the intersection of Cedar Avenue and Lake Street. And, what a house it was. Their four-story house had marble fireplaces in every bedroom. It had indoor plumbing, a real luxury at the time. The hand-carved stair railing in the front hall reportedly cost $500.00. Peter Clausen, a well-known local fresco artist, painted the figures of four women on the ceiling of the reception hall; each figure represented a different season of the year. A chandelier that had five kerosene lanterns lighted the hall. The house”'s exterior was graced with a cupola, a wrought-iron enclosed widow”'s walk, and numerous gabled windows. Yet, there is evidence of the Layman”'s thriftiness, as well. The fence in the foreground of the photo has advertising for Edwards”' Monitor Liniment painted on it. Whether the Laymans used salvaged wood for their fence or charged a fee to have the ad placed there is not known. They had a windmill to pump water out of the ground for use in the [...]

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