After fighting in the Civil War, Philip Biesanz moved to Winona and became the manager, and eventually the owner, of a brickyard located outside of Winona in Gilmore Valley. At its height, the brickyard produced over two million bricks per year.
The Biesanz farm house was built in the early 1870′s with bricks that were fired in kilns located just 300 feet from the house. The home remained in the Biesanz family for over 130 years until it was purchased in 2002 by a developer at which time it was gutted and renovated and renamed the Village House. The picture above, circa 1910, shows the farm house and rows of stacked lumber which were used to fire the kilns.
In the photo below of St. Mary’s University, circa 1947, the Biesanz farmhouse is located behind a stand of trees along the highway just above St. Mary’s Hall, the building on far right.