Early Minnesota Building Tycoon – Oliver R. Mather


Oliver R. Mather built most of the early Minnesota institutions, which were huge complexes of brick buildings, such as the St. Peter Insane Asylum, the Rochester Insane Asylum, the Fergus Falls Insane Asylum, and the Red Wing Reform School. He started at the bottom, making bricks by hand, and worked his way up to the top of his profession, becoming a master builder. He knew he could maximize his earning potential if he supplied all of the materials and employed all of the workers on a project. Luckily, the Mankato, Minnesota area furnished him all he needed. There he found excellent beds of clay for brick, a limitless region of quarries for stone, as well as sand, lime, and concrete. Men of the trades arrived in Mankato, and were put to work by Mather as carpenters, and stone and brick masons. With Oliver R. Mather at the head, many large buildings across the upper Midwest were constructed by his teams.

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