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Work done on Hay Creek historical landmark

About 80 Cordes descendants attended the Oct. 1 cleanup day at the Old Stone House in Hay Creek Township.

Descendants of Franz and Meta Cordes participated in a brush cleanup day at their 1875 homestead followed by a potluck lunch at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Hay Creek.

Last fall, family members cleared the area near the Old Stone House. This year, numerous foundations were uncovered, including the barn, silo, granary and several other outbuildings.

Immigrating from Hanover, Germany, Franz and Meta (Mehrkens) Cordes with their three daughters arrived by ship in New York City on May 2, 1865, after a six-week trip. As was common at that time, they likely arrived in Minnesota by train and steamboat, eventually settling near Hay Creek.

Although it is not clear from the immigration records when Franz's mother arrived, she lived with the family in Hay Creek.

In 1875, the Cordes family built a two-story stone house in what is now the R.J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood Forest in Hay Creek. The area is used extensively by both equestrian and hiking enthusiasts.

The oldest of the three girls, Mary, married Henry Ruebke. Catherine married A.H. Dicke. The youngest, Metta, married the Rev. Carl Engel.

Upon the death of Franz and his wife, Catherine and her husband moved to the stone house assuming the responsibilities of the farm and Catherine's grandmother.

After the Dicke's moved from the property, it was owned by Hermann Ehlen. Other families who have lived there since include the Rigelmans, Steeles and Bucks.

Descendants include the Dicke, Albright, Meyer, Schafer, Voth, Gadient, Teats, Clements, Borgen, Nelson, Baker, Kohn, Eden, Hadler, Alms, Domagala, Augustin, Rohe, Aslakson, Schrader, Gjesvang, Kirtz, Seitzer, Klair, Gerdes, Ziegler, Hetchel, Isler, Janhsen, McMurtrey, Minke, Mock, Natwick, Rummel, Schroeder, Bern, Fitschen, Kohrs, Luhman, Horn, Plath, Swanson, Krie, Rummel, Langer, Dupre, Lemler, Larson, Organ, Kroll, Vera, Tomforde, Fredrickson, Weerts, Burce, Minks, Fisher, Bacon, Bahlman, Prahl, Bastron, Sommers, Trittin, Warren, Beck, Young, Bernhardt, Fritz, Herder, Harder, Mark, Berlin, Albrecht, Westervelt, Toejes, Westberg, Zigneigo, Martinson, Demmer, Zimmerman, Bernel, Fitzer, Bauck, Moses, Jonas, Engel, Ruebke, Broten, Smith, Thoreson, Bang, Irey, Nagel, Johnson and Carder families. Many of them still live in the area.

The house has stone walls, about a foot thick, plastered on both the interior and exterior. It is not known where the stone came from; however, the history of Goodhue County reports a quarry in Hay Creek.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Cordes descendants hope that hikers will enjoy and respect the property for its historical significance in this area.