Ramsey County History – Fall 2012: “Hands-On Historian: Ethel Hall Stewart and Preserving the Gibbs Farm”

Steven C. Trimble

Hands-On Historian: Ethel Hall Stewart and Preserving the Gibbs Farm
Author: Steven C. Trimble

On an October day in 1954, the Gibbs Farm Museum opened to the public, thanks to the efforts of Ethel Hall Stewart. Stewart’s love of history and belief in hands-on education was the impetus for the preservation of the farm and the blossoming of the current day Gibbs Farm. Moving to St. Paul as a child, Stewart grew up in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood and, later, returned as an adult with her husband and family, where she became deeply involved in local church activities and in community history. Following the death of the last Gibbs family member in 1942, the Gibbs farm was sold to the University of Minnesota. Over the next several years, Stewart was able to negotiate a land swap that allowed the newly organized Ramsey County Historical Society (RCHS) to take ownership of the farm in 1949. With financial help from Ramsey County and other benefactors, Stewart and other supporters of the RCHS took five years to restore the Gibbs farmhouse and ready it to open as a museum.
PDF of Trimble article