Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Poking around Montgomery, Minnesota April 9, 2013

A shot of Main Street Montgomery.

A shot of First Street in Montgomery’s downtown business district.

MONTGOMERY, IN MY OPINION, may be one of small town southern Minnesota’s best-kept secrets.

A wealth of historic buildings still stand in Montgomery, one reason I am particularly drawn to this community. Walk inside many businesses and you will find original tin ceilings and wood floors.

A wealth of historic buildings still stand in Montgomery, one reason I am particularly drawn to this community. Walk inside many businesses and you will find original tin ceilings and wood floors.

If you appreciate historic buildings, ethnic charm, friendly folks and one-of-a-kind home-grown businesses all packaged in a Main Street reminiscent of yesteryear, you’ll delight in Montgomery.

Dogs roaming and kids rollerblading along the sidewalks of Main Street.

Dogs roaming and kids rollerblading along the sidewalks of First Street.

On Saturday, my husband and I drove a half hour northwest of Faribault to check out this Czech community’s downtown. We meandered from thrift shop to bakery to thrift shop to drugstore and quilt shop, and even bopped into an old-fashioned barbershop before visiting the town’s newest corner shop, Rani’s, and then walking a block north to order pizza for a late lunch.

Biking in downtown Montgomery.

Biking in downtown Montgomery past the Palace Bar which advertises a Pork/Dumpling Dinner from 12 – 8 p.m. on the last Thursday of the month.

Afterward, we perused Big Honza’s Museum of Unnatural History, hit up another antique store and, finally, caught a Czech import shop on the way out of town.

The White Front Saloon, one of many bars we spotted.

The White Front Saloon, one of many bars we spotted.

But we didn’t hit a single of the half-dozen or so bars. Nor did we take in the 24th annual Miss Czech Slovak MN Pageant over at the American Legion, although several shopkeepers inquired whether we were in town just for that.

A Main Street mural

A downtown mural graces the side of the Bird’s Nest, a thrift store.

Nope, just two empty nesters poking around this self-proclaimed Kolacky Capital of the World.

Another shot of the Main Street business district.

Another shot of the downtown business district.

CHECK BACK for a series of posts featuring the places we visited in this Le Sueur County community of around 3,000. You can click here to read my post about Main Street Barber. Also check my March 4 – 8 archives for additional stories focusing on the artsy side of Montgomery.

For those not in the know, a kolacky is a Czech pastry. Montgomery celebrates Kolacky Days each July, this year the 26th through the 28th.

BONUS PHOTOS:

One of my favorite buildings and attached vintage signage. I need to return and explore this place.

One of my favorite buildings and attached vintage signage. I need to return and explore this place.

A block off the main drag, we spotted this tractor. "It's for sale," a man yelled from a window somewhere.

A block off the main drag, we spotted this tractor. “It’s for sale,” a man yelled from a window somewhere.

A parting shot of that historic Main Street.

A parting shot of that historic downtown.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling