Duluth’s Uncommon Aerial Bridge, 1908

Duluth’s Uncommon Aerial Bridge, 1908

A few years back my family vacationed in Duluth and we fell in love with the place. I took a ton of pictures while we were there, some of which you can see here. One of the highlights of the trip was sightseeing in Canal Park and enjoying the seaport ambience surrounding the Aerial Lift Bridge. It’s called the Aerial Lift Bridge today because the center span lifts to allow ships to pass underneath. In the down position, cars can…

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Phelps Mill

Phelps Mill

This is Phelps Mill, in Ottertail County, about fourteen miles northeast of Fergus Falls, Minnesota. It was originally known as Maine Roller Mills. This mill began operations in 1889 and prospered as a flour mill in the age of hyrdopower that predated steam, gas, and electric mills. The plaque on-site says it closed for good in 1939. The sign shown below says 1931. Ottertail County bought the site in 1965, and ten years later it was placed on the National Register…

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Who Wants a Free Church?

Who Wants a Free Church?

I became aware of this church this morning when someone posted a photo of a newspaper ad which read, “For Give Away: A Rural Church near Moorhead, MN. Must be moved.” I called the number in the ad and talked to a gentleman named Alvin Swanson who gave me directions, and fifteen minutes later I was standing in front of this place — Oak Mound Congregational Church, just a few miles from Kragnes, Minnesota, a tiny town near the Red…

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St. Pauli Lutheran Church

St. Pauli Lutheran Church

This is St. Pauli Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Almond Township, Big Stone County, just a short drive north of Ortonville on US Highway 75. As I understand the explanation on this page, I think this church was built in 1896 after a split within the Norwegian Lutheran community created two new congregations with separate churches. The grounds of this church and cemetery are in remarkable condition.  It’s clear there are some people who really take pride in this place….

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Mehurin Township Hall

Mehurin Township Hall

This old township hall stands alone beside a gravel road in Lac Qui Parle County, just a few miles east of the border with South Dakota.  I found it particularly beautiful, on top of a hill, with purple blooms in the prairie grasses. Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Headwaters of the Mississippi River

Headwaters of the Mississippi River

Within the borders of Lake Itasca State Park, about twenty miles southwest of Bemidji, Minnesota, flow the headwaters of the Mississippi River.  The source of the Mississippi River was discovered in 1832, when Ojibwe Chief Ozawindib guided Henry Rowe Schoolcraft to the lake. On the left is Lake Itasca.  On the right, the Mississippi River.  It’s about three feet deep at the deepest spot, and a lot of fun to wade across. You’d never suspect this is North America’s mighty…

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Lockhart, Minnesota

Lockhart, Minnesota

Lockhart, Minnesota is a near-ghost town in Norman County, Minnesota.  It’s an unincorporated community with just a few residents, but home to what was once a very impressive school.  There were several volumes of a book called “The History of Clay and Norman Counties, Minnesota: Their People, Their Industries and Institutions” by John Turner and C.K. Semling published around 1918 with fairly detailed histories on most of the early settlers in the area.  There are a lot of family names…

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The Beautiful Plains of Sundal, Minnesota

The Beautiful Plains of Sundal, Minnesota

Sundal, Minnesota is in Norman County and notable for two striking structures of entirely different character.  Sundal is a loose knit collection of farmsteads with a reported population around twenty.  On the east end, the abdandoned creamery — the building with the smokestack you see below.  On the west end, the beautiful Sundal Lutheran Church.  Sundal’s parent township, sometimes spelled Sundahl, is named for a village and river in Norway. The former Sundal Creamery. Across the road, this home stands…

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Melvin, Minnesota

Melvin, Minnesota

Melvin, Minnesota is in Polk County, about 14 miles southeast of Crookston, and is something of an enigma.  There is very little written history of Melvin to be found online, but the physical remains tell the story of a place which was once significant in the lives of a small number of Minnesotans.  There appear to be one or two inhabited farms in the area, and aside from the buildings in these photos, that’s about all that remains of Melvin….

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Tabor, MN

Tabor, MN

Tabor is about 20 miles northeast of East Grand Forks in Polk County and is considered part of the Grand Forks metropolitan survey area.  Tabor has never been home to a railroad, a rarity in the flat plains of this part of Minnesota.  Tabor was settled beginning in 1877, primarily by Czech farmers and their families.   This area was once the bottom of glacial Lake Agassiz and is some of the most fertile farm land in the world.  You can…

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