Cultural Arts Coordinator Jay Ludwig

Bloomington yesterday: Gideon and Agnes Pond House fireside

Hearth, home and harvest — the scene portrayed at the Gideon Pond house brings history to life along the river bluff in Bloomington. Cultural Arts Coordinator Jay Ludwig, above, wears a formal “Sunday-best” costume from the mid-1800s as he stands in front of the fireplace. 

Fall decorations and framed portraits evoke family gatherings and Thanksgiving celebrations. Gideon Pond is in the far-right picture, his second spouse Agnes in the middle and his brother Samuel to the left. 

The Pond brothers were missionaries. They had a genuine respect for Chief Cloud Man and the Dakota people, learned the Native language and wrote a book about the experience.

Gideon and Agnes lived in the Pond House and ran a 160-acre farm. “Our lives were as busy as lives could be,” Agnes wrote. As a mother to 16 children in a blended family, she knew. 

Relationships between white settlers and Native people living in Bloomington are highlighted in tours and programming at the Pond House. It’s an opportunity to learn how original white settlers interacted with Native Americans so many years ago.