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Mansion on the Souris - The Dakotah Rose

by Linda Aksomitis

Dakatoh Rose has a ring of dignity to the name, even elegance. I anticipated a quiet bed and breakfast on a back street, small and cozy, a haven from North Dakota's winter winds. While I'd driven through Minot at least a hundred times or more on my way to somewhere else, my stops had all been along the main highway for a few hours of sleep on a demanding drive. So, this time, I'd decided to stop awhile and smell the roses, even if it was November.

After fighting icy highways for two hundred miles, it was a relief to arrive in Minot. While it would have been nice just to pull into my usual economy hotel and skip driving through the city, the Dakotah Rose was near the airport where I had a flight scheduled at eleven the next morning, so what I drove that night I'd save the next morning.

Even in the shadows of street lights, the Dakotah Rose was an impressive sight. In fact, it was far from small! Instead it towered over the immense yard, its 8,000 square feet spread out through three stories and a lower level. Stomping through the snow up to the front veranda, my excitement at the opportunity to explore the mansion grew.

Shelly Pederson, who along with her husband, Pete, owns and operates the Dakotah Rose, met me at the door with a smile. Sensing my exhaustion she quickly led me to my room, saving our visit for morning. Following her up the stairs, my first impressions were of fine golden wood and elegant décor.

The Dakotah Rose is the former home of Dr. Andrew Carr, Sr. A pioneer in North Dakota, Andrew Carr graduated from medical school in 1888 and established a general practice in the Northwood area. He was one of about two hundred physicians in the state at that time, and organized the Inter-County Medical Society in 1899. In 1903, he completed training as a specialist in Otolaryngology (head and neck surgery) and took up residency in Minot as one of the State's earliest specialists.

That same year Dr. Carr contracted with architect William Zimmerman to build his home. While Dr. Carr waited for the completion of the structure in 1906, he and his wife Addie lived in what later became the coach house. Both Dr. and Mrs. Carr made important and lasting contributions to the city of Minot during their 45 years of residency.

The house is a blend of design from two periods: the Victorian era and Classicism. While wrapped in a huge porch or veranda, the exterior design is Classical with its gables, Palladian-like arrangement of the facade gable windows, while paneled and modillioned soffits all reflect an evolution of Victorian flamboyance. Surrounded by beautiful oak, maple and fir trees, along with lilac bushes, the house is nestled on the banks of a gradual bend of the Souris River.

Inside, the house has the shape of a two and a half story rectangle, which resulted in the beautiful long hallway I encountered when I reached the upstairs. Since it was a weekday in November I was the only guest, so Shelly encouraged me to satisfy my curiosity and explore!

My room was the feature room, with its king sized bed and white sheer bedspread. Done in burgundy, rose and green, it was a room that certainly appealed to my feminine instincts. The patterned rug was warm under my feet, while the loveseat provided a great place to curl up and read — either the book I'd brought or a nice selection of provided magazines. My bathroom, sharing the same décor, was enormous and offered the best in modern conveniences.

Shelly had thought of everything. A tray on the antique dresser featured a jug of ice water with lemon, and a selection of dainties to tempt my sweet tooth. Beside the tray was an oldfashioned diary. Opening it, I discovered entries spanning the last year from others who'd enjoyed the ambience of my room. From newlyweds to a couple celebrating a thirtieth wedding anniversary, their comments of enjoying the serenity of the surroundings echoed my own.

Energized by the walnut square and glass of water, I went exploring. The rooms, I discovered, each had a character of their own. Many of the beds were the metal frames I remembered from my grandmother's home, covered with intricately designed hand-crafted quilts, which were a work of art in themselves. All of the furniture was from the period, from dressers and bureaus to writing desks. What stood out for me, however, was Shelly's attention to detail, such as crocheted runners that decorated the wooden surfaces.

At the end of the hallway I found the staircase to the upper level, plus the butler's staircase to the kitchens below. As a child I'd always dreamed of fancy ballrooms and I could hardly wait to see where the Carr family had entertained Minot's most prominent families close to a century earlier. Gazing out over the maple-floored expanse I imagined women in long skirts waltzing gracefully in the arms of their partners. Getting back to present-day, I decided the ballroom would be ideal for a group visiting the Dakotah Rose.

The next morning, after a restful sleep, I insisted Shelly join me for a cup of her excellent coffee. While I worked my way through a tasty sticky bun, we talked about the challenges of creating such an exquisite experience for visitors as the Dakotah Rose.

"We tried to keep the Victorian interior style," said Shelly."Buying some of the furniture and collecting family pieces. Our guests love it. We have many calls from people wishing the tearoom was open to the public, so they could show friends and relatives the house, but we need to keep it by private appointments only right now."

Shelly explained the dining area seated quite a few guests at a combination of the large, original wooden dining room table and small round tables. She pointed out the butler's bell, a round protrusion in the intricately patterned oak floor, under the table where I sat. Decades previously, Doctor Carr could use his toes to summon a butler with a decanter of hot coffee or the next course of his dinner.

Before long I realized I'd been chatting with Shelly for an hour, and it was time to head to the airport for my flight to Texas. With one more quick look at the entrance way and formal area of the home, I grabbed my bags to head out. Mind you, after hearing about the Norsk Hostfest, North America's largest Scandinavian Festival held in Minot each fall, I was ready to reserve my room for another visit. Indeed, it may seem strange, but one of the high points of my trip to Texas was the Dakotah Rose in Minot, North Dakota.

Pete and Shelly Pederson
510 4th Avenue NW
Minot, ND 58703
Phone: (701) 838-3548