Saturday, March 02, 2024
Dakota County Historical Society
To preserve, interpret and promote the history of Dakota County.

The summer home of the first conductor of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, Emil Oberhoffer, stands overlooking Orchard Lake on Judicial Road in Lakeville. The house, built from 1914 to 1918, has a number of well-known names associated with it. First is Oberhoffer, musician and founder of the Minneapolis Symphony, who directed the symphony’s first concert on November 5, 1903, and remained director for the next nineteen years. Oberhoffer spent at least six months of the year in the house (known as “The Towers”) from the time of its completion in 1918 until his death in 1933. While there, story has it, he loved to don old clothes, build cement walks, and work in his garden, which covered almost half an acre. He did his own plumbing, and built an electric plant to light the house, the batteries salvaged from an American Navy destroyer.

Architect Paul Haugen designed the house. Haugen worked for the nationally famous firm of Purcell and Elmslie, which to this day is considered Minnesota’s leading interpreter of the Prairie Style.

In the late 1940s the house was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Herman Berg, parents of world-renowned golfing star Patty Berg. Patty’s mother was also a golfer; in 1948 she held the state women’s amateur title. During the Bergs’ residency, the tower, previously used by Oberhoffer as his study, became the trophy room.

Visit one of these Dakota County Historic Sites