This building was built in 1903 by Dennis Gibson. It was originally located on Highway 3 in Rosemount and was only ever used as a barbershop. It was moved to Dakota City in 1994. The beveled mirrors behind the barber chairs and the carved woodwork are original to the building. The hand carved wooden barber chair is over 100 years old and was donated by a former Farmington barber. The other chairs are over 50 years old.
The barbershop was primarily used for shaves and haircuts. Straight edge razors were used for shaves while hand clippers and scissors were used for haircuts. In the early 1800’s, barbers also let blood. The origin of the barber pole goes back to the days of bloodletting. The red and white stripes represent the bandage with which the barber wrapped his patient after bloodletting.
Many barbershops had back rooms with bathtubs. Some men used these bathtubs before or after they had their shave and haircut. Shops made scrub brushes, combs, tooth powder, aftershave, and curling irons available to their customers. Dakota City’s bathtub is over 100 years old.
The back room of this barbershop houses dentistry equipment. It was common in the early 1800’s and before for the barber to also be the dentist. This barber/dentist would have been good for pulling teeth rather than fixing them. By 1900, however, dentistry had emerged as its own profession. The University of Minnesota established a College of Dentistry in 1888. Dentists received a college education and they were able to do much more than pull teeth. In 1900, there were 5 dentists in Dakota County – 1 in Farmington, 1 in Rosemount, and 3 in Hastings.