Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The corner bar in Canton October 17, 2012

If you can take your eyes off the vintage phone booth, you’ll notice a beer sign suspended from ZZs Tap (bar) along Canton’s Main Street.

PEER DOWN THE ONE-BLOCK Main Street of Small Town, USA, and your eyes likely will land on a bar or two anchoring a business district comprised of primarily vacant and crumbling buildings.

That’s an over-generalization, of course, but sadly all too true for many once-thriving small towns.

That’s the Canton Pub on the left and the Canton Municipal Liquor Store on the right with an unknown business sandwiched in between.

While hardware stores and grocery stores, even hometown cafes and barber shops, have closed, the corner bar typically endures.

I’ve never been a frequent bar customer and honestly can’t remember the last time I stepped into a small town bar where heads swivel when a stranger enters. You know what I mean, right?

Food and drink and Tuesday night bar bingo can be found at the Canton Pub.

On a recent stop in Canton, a town of 328 nudging the Iowa border in southeastern Minnesota, I spotted the Canton Pub. I didn’t even try the pub door to see if I might slip inside for a cold one on an autumn afternoon.

I was too busy photographing the beer signs.

I photographed this sign at the Canton Pub for my oldest daughter’s boyfriend, Marc Schmidt, who recently relocated to the Twin Cities from LA.

Another beer sign on the Canton Pub.

I almost missed the classic “land of sky blue waters” Hamm’s sign until my husband pointed it out at the Canton Pub.

CHECK BACK FOR ANOTHER post from Canton. There’s more to see in this small town than the bars.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling