New Home Building

At Kootenia we are proud to build in Rapp Farm, a serene and beautiful neighborhood in the deeply historic Minnesota city of North Oaks. Breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and rolling terrain fill its 120-acres. Ideal for families, Rapp Farm is immersed in one of the most highly accredited cities in all of Minnesota. To understand how North Oaks came to be, it’s important to understand its history, which takes us all the way back to the 1870’s.

The story of how North Oaks became what it is today is a result of 3 separate ventures, all occurring on the land that is now the city of North Oaks. The first begins with Charles D. Gilfillan, a pioneer farmer, lawmaker and state senator. In 1876 Gilfillan had purchased the land around Wilkinson, Deep, Charley and Pleasant Lakes to use as a source of water for residents in the city of St. Paul. Gilfillan fought a long struggle to secure water for the city of St. Paul, and was instrumental in the planning and construction of the St. Paul waterworks system.

In 1883 the second venture began, when Gilfillan sold 3,300 acres to railroad tycoon James J. Hill. Upon selling the property to Hill, Gilfallan also placed the right to access the lakes on the deed. Hill named the property North Oaks Farm, and in the following years purchased farms adjacent to the area, increasing land ownership to over 5,000 acres. On these farms Hill worked on breeding and farming animals, developed crops, and diversified farming and soil conservation. Hill theorized that farmers and railroads needed each other to prosper. He used his understanding of farming and the farm itself to support and encourage immigrant farmers recently settling along the Great Northern Railroad that he was building from St. Paul all the way to the West Coast.  Farmers needed the railroad to get supplies and send their product to market. His thought was, if farmers prospered, so would the railroads.

The third venture didn’t begin until the 1950s. Louis W. Hill Jr., Grandson of James J. Hill’s, wanted to build a unique residential community with an emphasis on retaining the natural environment. He founded the North Oaks Company in 1950, which marked the beginning of transitioning the North Oaks Farm into a carefully planned residential development. Today three of the forty farm buildings remain on the land: the granary, the blacksmith shop and the creamery.

After hearing the historical context of the city of North Oaks it’s easy to understand why it has remained so breathtakingly beautiful. Combine the gorgeous surroundings with the talents of Kootenia Homes. We are committed to building you the home of your dreams. Consider one in the Rapp Farm neighborhood of the extraordinary city of North Oaks.