Shoreview eyes new park, historical village


Solomon Gustavo • The Lepak/Larson House is the oldest farmhouse in Shoreview and sits on city-owned grounds that could be turned into a park and historical village curated by the city and the Shoreview Historical Society.

Solomon Gustavo • The restoration of the Guerin Texaco Station that once stood at the intersection of Rice Street and North Owasso Boulevard in the 1920s is next to the Lepak/Larson House and could factor into the city’s plans for turning the city-owned grounds into a park and historical village.

Dating back to the late 19th century, the historic Lepak/Larson House is the oldest farmhouse in Shoreview. 

It sits on city-owned land, lush green space right next to the Lake Johanna Fire Department and across the street from Turtle Lake and Turtle Lake Elementary School. 

“In my mind, [the historical house] is more than just a storage place for historical documents,” said Shoreview Mayor Sandy Martin — to her and the city, the entire grounds are brimming with potential. 

All that potential attached to land that the city doesn’t have to acquire has it, the Shoreview Historical Society and a new city history intern brainstorming what to do with it. 

Though the project is in its very early stages, said City Manager Terry Schwerm, and there’s no names attached to it, added Martin, the collaborative group has rallied around the idea of creating a historical village or park. 

Beyond the Lepak/Larson House, there is also the restoration of the Guerin Texaco Station that stands nearby the home, which could be incorporated into the historical village or park. The station was located at the intersection of Rice Street and North Owasso Boulevard in the 1920s. 

The historical house has been renovated over the years and is structurally sound, said Martin, adding there used to be a barn next to it, and, if the city wants, there is the space to replicate it.  

 

A house into a home 

Shoreview Historical Society President Jacci Krebsbach said a goal for the Lepak/Larson House is to renovate the lower level into a three-room “time-warp” to one specific era. The lower level would be designed so that visiting it would be like walking through the house on a random day in the 1890s or 1920s. 

What era, or even if this specific time-warp ambition will happen, is still up in the air, said Krebsbach. Most of that will be determined by the city-hired intern.

On the upper-level, the historical society plans on setting up offices and storage space to file documents, some of which are piled up in the basements of historical society members like herself, Krebsbach said. 

The historical society doesn’t really have a “visible presence” in the city, said Krebsbach. 

It has a tent with historical timelines of Shoreview at the Slice of Shoreview Days each year, periodically hosts tours of the Lepak/Larson House and occasionally has programs at the Shoreview Library — the Lepak/Larson House could be the historical society’s first home.

Schwerm said the city will revisit the project near the end of the summer or early fall. By that time, said Krebsbach, the historical society and city history intern should have an idea of what to do with the Lepak/Larson House and grounds. 

 

– Solomon Gustavo can be reached at sgustavo@lillienews.com or 651-748-7815.

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