The Harris House was built in 1892 by Monroe and Orinda Harris, the great-grandparents of the people who donated the house to Dakota City in 1998. There were four square walls in the original house with a lean-to, or summer kitchen, added in 1915. The house was in the family for 131 years with family members living in it nearly the entire time, with the exception of a short time in the 1970’s when it was rented out.
The Harris’ had ten children, eight lived to adulthood. The eight children and their parents lived in the house when it was first built. There were 3 bedrooms upstairs and one downstairs. The remainder of the house consisted of a living room and kitchen, common of farmhouses of the day. The kitchen would have been the most used room of the house. The basement was a dugout type with stone walls and a dirt floor. This type of basement was often called a fruit cellar.
The house was heated by woodstoves with registers in the ceiling to allow heat into the upper level. Kerosene lamps were used for lighting the house. There was no indoor plumbing. However a pump was installed by the kitchen sink so that water was available in the house. The house was originally painted white. The hand pump on the side of the house is not in working order. It is the same type and style of those used when the house was built. The house was originally located between Pilot Knob Road and Flagstaff on 170th Street in Farmington. It was located across from what is North Trail School today.
A family of 10 lived in the Harris house.