The Dakota County Historical Society (DCHS) operates the LeDuc Historic Estate in Hastings, Minnesota. The Estate provides a park for pleasant strolls, a themed location for meetings and weddings, and a reminder about the city’s roots. The story of William LeDuc and his family is the focus of the Estate, represented by his large stone house. In the carriage barn another story is told: George Daniels was an enslaved man who freed himself during the Civil War by crossing battle lines to join Union troops. He and General LeDuc met and built a trusting relationship. After the war, George lived and worked alongside LeDuc and built a family in Hastings before starting his own farm in South Dakota.
DCHS sought to upgrade and expand the 15-year-old George Daniels exhibit and selected 106 Group, with partner Seitu Jones, to help conceptualize and contribute to the vision for the project.
Through in-depth conversations and active listening, our team learned that George Daniels is part of a much larger story of African Americans in Hastings and Minnesota. The vision for the concept expanded to tell this larger story while still featuring George, his wife Chloe, and their descendants through a new exterior art/gathering plaza, a revamped tour of the stone house, markers at significant locations around Hastings, and a holographic projection of George and Chloe.