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

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Darling Minnesota

When I first started driving Highway 10 on a regular basis, I always noticed the charming country church and the adjacent serene cemetery. The name Darling always captured my imagination as well. Over the years the roadside pine trees grew taller and fuller so today the roadside hamlet is barely visible, especially if one is driving 60 miles an hour or better.

Darling is located approximately ten miles north of Little Falls, near Mile Marker 140 (on the West side of the highway.)

Darling today.
Darling was named for an early railroad engineer and was once a busy community. In 1903, Annie Kintop, a local woman, was murdered and the case, though raising lots of speculation and comments, is unsolved.

A boxcar cleaning station operated in Darling in the 1930's. The community had a post office from 1903 - 1911. When Highway 10 expanded in the early 1970's, most of the community was lost, including a long time general store.

The Darling (Swedish Immanuel Church) built 1897


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Pack your bags and come along with us as we travel the back roads of Minnesota (and Wisconsin). Discover unique locations, lost, long ago and nearly gone communities, interesting buildings, wayside attractions, fascinating people and places, history and area news. We'll pop in here and there with no particular route or destination. New destinations will be posted once a week on Fridays. Chit chat and trip discussions anytime.