Dakota County Historical Society
To preserve, interpret and promote the history of Dakota County.

Location: 707 East First Street
The Hastings Foundry/Star Iron Works, a long, low stone building, is a survivor from a time when industries lined the Hastings river front. Except for the removal of a tall brick smokestack and a rear section of the building in the early 1900s, it looks much the same as it did when A. R. Morrell, an ironsmith from Vermont, built it in 1859. It is one of the earliest industrial buildings standing in the state.
According to the National Register nomination, the first Minnesota-made steam engine was built in this shop in 1860. The shop also manufactured the engine and other iron work for the steamboat “Stella Whipple” in 1861. In 1862 the building was sold to Col. John L. Thorne and soon after gutted by a fire, causing $40,000 in damage. Although it was rebuilt, Thorne’s business suffered during the Civil War, and the building was sold again in 1866 to a stock company, with John H. Rehse, president. Rehse incorporated the Star Iron Works in 1867, which occupied the structure until it failed, leaving the building idle.
In 1875, Andrew Warsop, a local blacksmith, purchased the building and divided it into three sections, a machine shop, foundry and engine room. Metal support posts for the famous Hastings Spiral B ridge were produced here as well as six engines for elevators on the Hastings and Dakota Railroad.
Harris K. Stroud bought the building around 1900 and formed the Stroud Humphrey Manufacturing Company in 1905. An inventor, Stroud built a number of automobiles in his Hastings shop and received the first auto license issued in Minnesota in 1906. The Stroud-Humphrey Company specialized in gas, steam and electric engines, primarily for river boats and launches. The Stroud-Humphrey Company closed in 1919 and since that time the building has had many owners.

Additional Information:
In 1875, Andrew Warsop, a local blacksmith, purchased the building and divided it into three sections, a machine shop, foundry and engine room. Metal support posts for the famous Hastings Spiral B ridge were produced here as well as six engines for elevators on the Hastings and Dakota Railroad. Harris K. Stroud bought the building around 1900 and formed the Stroud Humphrey Manufacturing Company in 1905. An inventor, Stroud built a number of automobiles in his Hastings shop and received the first auto license issued in Minnesota in 1906. The Stroud-Humphrey Company specialized in gas, steam and electric engines, primarily for river boats and launches. The Stroud-Humphrey Company closed in 1919 and since that time the building has had many owners.

Visit one of these Dakota County Historic Sites