Dr. Charles H. Mayo, a cofounder of the internationally known Mayo Clinic, created the Mayowood Estate in Rochester, Minnesota between 1911 and 1938.
The centerpiece of the estate is the thirty-eight-room Historic Mayowood Mansion and surrounding ornamental gardens. In 1965 the Mayo family donated the home and ten acres to the Olmsted County Historical Society. Two years later, due to its architectural and historical prominence, Historic Mayowood Mansion was declared a Minnesota Historic Site by a legislative act and in 1970 the mansion and landscape were listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Since undertaking ownership, the Society has operated Historic Mayowood Mansion as a historic house museum. The mansion has been maintained as it was when last occupied by Doctor and Mrs. Charles W. Mayo and is used to interpret the lives of this famous medical family.
The Historic Mayowood Gardens
Situated on a wooded hillside overlooking the Zumbro River Valley in the rolling hills of Southeastern Minnesota, Historic Mayowood Mansion was once the center of a 3,000 acre estate. The original plot of land was purchased by Dr. and Mrs. Charles H. Mayo at the turn of the century. Because of Dr. Mayo’s intense interest in various phases of agriculture, additional land was added for farming as well as to conserve the natural scenic beauty of the area.
Construction of the house was started in 1910 and completed in 1911. Much of the architectural design was the work of Dr. Mayo himself. The home was constructed of stone, reinforced concrete and tile. The Zumbro River was dammed to form a lake and to generate electricity for Historic Mayowood Mansion. European and Japanese influenced gardens surrounding the Mansion included features .such as a graduated system of eight ponds, a tempietto, pergola, teahouse, various statues and sculptures, “dragon tooth” limestone walls, and a system of concrete and stone steps and walkways. Mayo’s home reflected the ideas of the Country Life Movement as it pertained to the 20th Century estate design.
The History Center of Olmsted County acknowledges and thanks the Olmsted County Master Gardeners for their dedication and their volunteer service to maintain the gardens and keep them available so that they may be enjoyed by all visitors to the estate.