Thursday, February 16, 2017

Rustic Retreat Complete with Outdoor Hot Tub

Along that same stretch of Highway 23 in rural Wadena County, there is another rustic retreat. I can just see the real estate ad, "Rustic Retreat, wooded location, complete with outdoor hot tub."

Old houses are so great and the time to photograph them is when you go by, they may not be there the next time you travel through.

I found several wonderful buildings along this stretch of road from Verndale to Park Rapids.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Rustic Cabin For Rent

I love old buildings. I used to drive by them and tell myself that I'll get a photo on my way back. Only thing was, I never went back. I found other roads to drive and never went home the way I traveled on the way. Sometimes when I would get that way again, the building was gone, collapsed, torn down or ? Lost forever.

Recently, I've been stopping and taking photos of old buildings, unique buildings and otherwise interesting or historic places and roadside attractions.

One day a few years ago I was headed to Park Rapids MN. I travelled along Highway 23 from Verndale. I found a treasure trove of wonderful buildings with tales to tell. As they say, if only these walls could talk. I'm going to post a few of these really great buildings over the next few weeks.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Hewitt School and Museum

In the small town of Hewitt Minnesota (just off Highway 210) stands a majestic building. Built in 1910 the building was originally a school. According to the Todd County website, workmen pulled up in a horses and pulled up buckets of wet concrete to pour the solid walls.

In later years the school district merged with Bertha schools and the building operated as an elementary school until 1980. It was later converted to a museum. Each room is themed and well worth a visit.In 2006 the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Randall Church?

I've been to Randall Minnesota more times than I can count. The small, friendly town is approximately 10 miles north of Little Falls on Highway 10.

Recently, we noticed that a building located a block of Randall's Main Street looked like a former church. I'd never noticed the building before so had to get a closer look. We took photos and imagined the church's heyday. Thus far we have been unable to find any information on the former church.

It's a good reminder that sometimes we take our everyday world for granted. I'll have to look closer when I'm out and about. Share your out and about photos with us.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Godahl Store Closes after 122 Years

This past New Years Eve, the Godahl Store closed its doors for good. After 122 years in business, the store was considered the oldest community coop store still operating in Minnesota, the third oldest in the United States.

Built in 1894, it was officially known as the Nelson and Albin Cooperative and Mercantile Association. The store is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The store straddles Brown and Watanwon Counties, just north of St. James near the intersection of #4 and #6.

According to recent news reports the store has struggled for years. About 35 years ago suppliers stopped making delivery stops as it wasn't profitable. Many events, some annual, were hosted to keep the store open over the years but sadly, the decision was made to close the store doors this past December.

The store was always a community center and it is hoped the building can live on as a community center in the days forward. You can learn more at

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Lost and Long Ago Cemetery

Hamilton Cemetery, Germania Township, Todd County, Minnesota

Today the lost and long ago cemetery is marked by a simple granite marker. The roadside marker and cemetery is located on County #24, just west of the intersection of County #24 and County #11.

This cemetery is totally abandoned and overgrown. The only clue that this was once a cemetery is the marker placed in the ditch just off the county road. I was out looking for cemeteries for my students to transcribe and read about this one, so I went looking for it. Drove by a few times and then saw the marker. We got out and checked it out, no visible tombstones, there are some large overgrown lilac bushes, perhaps once placed on a grave. The ground is uneven with lots of big stones and rocks hidden and half buried. The corn fields seem to have taken over the land.  

I checked with the local historical society and this cemetery was once very large, but has been abandoned for decades.

There is a marker and it reads:

Hamilton Cemetery
First burial in 1885
Established in 1897

and used until 1910

Final resting place of a number of
Germania Township Pioneers
This memorial erected in honor of these individuals
By the Pioneer Old Timers 1967 

Earliest Burial: 1/1/1885

Latest Burial: 1/1/1910

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Share your Backroad Discoveries

We'd love to hear and see your backroad discoveries, wherever they may be. Tell us about your fun, unique, scenic, unusual and historic findings. Please send your photos and your tales to