Crews install second, taller metal fence around Minneapolis historic home following 3 fires

Section by section, crews put up a second, taller metal fence around the 173-year-old John H. Stevens House in Minnehaha Regional Park on Wednesday afternoon. 

The historic home is considered to be the birthplace of both Minneapolis and Hennepin County but has been the site of three separate fires since August. The latest blaze broke out early Saturday morning while the home was still under construction from fires on August 30th and September 20th. The September 20th fire was ruled as arson after evidence of an accelerant was found. 

"This is not a coincidence. This is three fires, in my mind, logically set," said Arnie Lemke, who stopped by the scene while touring the park. 

He believes the house holds an important place in the city's history, and that may have been a motive for the fires. 

"Apparently, there are some that don't like what has happened...what has developed here and would like to see something else here," said Lemke. 

Built in 1849, the historic building was home to one of the city's earliest settlers. It was moved to the park about 40 years ago and now serves as a museum. 

On Saturday, FOX 9 spoke with a local historian about the significance of the home. 

"It's a complicated story that the house could be telling both sides of that," said Minneapolis historian Karen E. Cooper, "it holds that story about how we got started as a city...there are some alternate ways to look at that because this was Dakota land and because those people were chased out of their land. They were thrown out of their land. They were literally not allowed to live here," said Cooper. 

FOX 9 has learned Minneapolis Park Police have taken over the investigation into the fires as of Tuesday night. No one is in custody in connection with the arson fire at this time.