The Sperry House was built in 1893 on Albert H. and Jennie Sperry’s farm. A.H. Sperry, born 1840, lived here until his death in 1917. He was a pioneer settler, soldier during and after the Dakota Conflict of 1862, farmer, and businessman. Jennie Wilson Sperry, teacher and housewife, lived here into the 1920s and in other Willmar residences until her death, at age 92 in 1953.
The Historical Society has maintained the house since 1970 after the death of Bryan, the Sperry’s youngest son who resided here. The downstairs rooms were partially restored and opened to the public in 1976, with Grace Sperry Redfield, Albert and Jennie’s daughter, serving as hostess.
As a museum showing turn-of-the-century home life in Kandiyohi County, the house showcases selected items from the museum collections. A few pieces – the bedroom set, sewing rocker, china, doll buggy, and some other items – were originally in the Sperry family. The furniture and other items in the house, except for a few pieces, were selected from the Society’s museum collection. The portrait of Wm. Jennings Bryan in the hall is also original; Bryan Sperry was named after him. The Sperry House features original carved oak woodwork and stained glass windows. The walls were re-papered appropriately for the era, and the parlor and dining room floors sanded and refinished. The dining room fireplace was uncovered from under layers of plaster.
The year 2003, the 110th anniversary of the house, marked a “new beginning” for the building, as a five-year restoration project began. The asphalt roof was replaced with cedar; as it was in 1893, and the project continued with tuck pointing, sidewalks, porch restoration and other improvements. The City of Willmar, donations, and fundraisers fund the restoration.
We are pleased to welcome you to the Sperry House and share this glimpse into turn-of-the-20th century life in our county! Sperry House is open by appointment only, please contact KCHS at (320) 235-1881 to schedule your tour today!