Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Drive-by barn photo shoot February 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 11:14 AM
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EVERY TIME I TRAVEL Interstate 35 north to the Twin Cities, I think, I need to photograph “that barn.”

That would be the red barn near the Elko/New Market exit with the “Sugardale” lettering painted on the end.

So Sunday afternoon, en route back to Faribault from Burnsville, where I had picked up my camera at National Camera Exchange, I was ready. My fingers were itching to snap more than a few photos since I’d been without my Canon for a week. I had the sensor cleaned.

Anyway, I set a fast shutter speed and hoped for the best as I shot two images through the passenger side window at an interstate speed of 70 mph. That’s all I got before the barn moved out of lens range. My husband asked if I wanted to detour and get a closer shot, but I declined. I was tired and not really dressed for a winter-time photo shoot, meaning I wasn’t wearing boots.

I was pleasantly surprised by the results given I was shooting through a grimy window, at a distance further than I preferred and on a gloomy afternoon.

Here are the results.

Photo one of the "Sugardale" barn.

Photo number two of the "Sugardale" barn. I like how both photos define the starkness of the land on an overcast winter afternoon in Minnesota.

I fully intend to return and shoot the barn close-up. Yeah, I’ve been saying that for years.

In the meantime, does anyone know anything about the history of this barn or Sugardale?

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


10 Responses to “Drive-by barn photo shoot”

  1. Kristin Says:

    I’ve always loved this barn. The City Pages ran an article featuring both it and a barn photographer back in 2005: http://www.citypages.com/2005-06-15/news/the-barnstormer/.

    “Sugardale Foods is a leading provider of quality meats and premium products. Sugardale wieners, franks and coneys are crowd pleasers at ball games, family gatherings and backyard barbecues. Try any of Sugardale’s wiener items and we know that ‘Your Family Will Love You For It!'”

    Based in Canton, Ohio, they make the hot dogs that serve Cleveland Indians fans.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thanks for the link to the article about the Sugardale barn. Have you seen Doug Ohman’s barn book? Great stuff. It’s been years since I’ve read it though.

      Now I’ve also learned a lot about Sugardale, thanks to a former Ohioan.

  2. Gordon Says:

    You know how fast barns can disappear, I’m sure. It’s good you got to this one. A round barn west of New Market went down during the wind last fall. This was a barn we’d driven by many times during our entire lives. Heck, you can always get a photo, right? Not so anymore.
    We did get several photos of it before it went down, but it’s never enough. It’s like when your grandparents die and you wish you could ask them couple more questions, but it’s too late.
    Great photos, Audrey.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      You’re right. We shouldn’t wait to photograph these barns because they are rapidly disappearing. I’m glad I finally just snapped these images, even if from a distance.

  3. Bernie Says:

    Cool picture. I didn’t know there was an Elko MN. Is it larger than Faribault? We had an order from your town last week. I placed the order from my supplier to ship there. The gal who made the label to ship it put Elko. Now it’s confirmed for me. Yes, Bernie, there is an Elko.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Bernie, your question led me to do a little research because, even though Elko isn’t all that far from Faribault, I’ve never been there. The Elko Speedway, yes. The town of Elko, no.

      But then, surprise, I learned that the neighboring towns of Elko and New Market merged and the city of Elko New Market was established on January 1, 2007. The new combined communities have a population of 3,943, much smaller than Faribault. We have about 21,000 residents.

      So thanks to you, Bernie, I learned a new piece of information about Minnesota today.

  4. Sara G Says:

    This is my grandparents barn. Grandpa, a retired NW Orient pilot, purchased the land in about 65, moved out there in about 74. The barn is post and beam and was built by a guy who would walk around the land and point to trees to chop down for the various posts and beams. Most still have remnants of bark on them. It is an amazing structure. We played in there every chance we got as kids.

    Sadly, it will most likely hit the market in the next few years. I cannot imagine driving down 35w and having someone else live there. Or christmas anywhere else for that matter. Thanks for the pics. You need to go back and shoot it now before the corn comes down while the color is so strong.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thanks so much for sharing this information about your Grandpa’s barn. That’s all quite interesting. I can understand your sense of loss feeling about the barn. I felt that way, too, when my brother sold the cows and then later stopped farming the land where I grew up in southwestern Minnesota.

      I appreciate the tip that I can move in close to photograph the barn as long as I’m respectful.

  5. Sara G Says:

    ps. you can get closer. People shoot it all the time. Just be respectful.

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