Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A photographic tour of downtown Fergus Falls May 30, 2013

A snippet of Fergus Falls' downtown.

A snippet of Fergus Falls’ historic and pedestrian friendly downtown.

I SINCERELY HOPE the fine people of Fergus Falls in west central Minnesota appreciate their historic downtown. It’s a gem.

A stroll through the downtown business district on a recent Thursday evening left me gaping at the detailed architecture, words imprinted in granite, sculpted eagles and sculpted otters, stately brick buildings, a lovely old theatre, quaint signage and art, yes, art.

This Otter Tail riverside community of nearly 14,000 along Interstate 94 an hour southeast of Fargo impresses me. Join me on a photographic tour and I expect you will feel likewise.

The Kaddatz Galleries features the work of noted Fergus Falls artist Charles Beck, known for his woodcut prints.

Kaddatz Galleries features, among other art, the work of noted Fergus Falls artist Charles Beck, known for his woodcut prints.

Examples of Charles Beck's woodcut prints in the Kaddatz Galleries.

Examples of Charles Beck’s woodcut prints in the Kaddatz Galleries.

Words chiseled in granite on the front of a building. I would love to know the story behind this.

Words chiseled in granite…I would love to know the story behind this. The inscriptions cover the bottom front of the building.

A Mexican restaurant adds a jolt of color to the downtown.

A Mexican restaurant adds a jolt of color to the downtown.

When I inquired at Kaddatz Galleries about the identity of this street corner statue, I didn't get an answer.

When I inquired at Kaddatz Galleries about the identity of this street corner statue, I didn’t get an answer. The gracious gallery tender says plans are in place to identify public art. Good idea.

I spotted The Fergus Falls Daily Journal tucked into a door handle downtown.

I spotted The Fergus Falls Daily Journal tucked into a door handle downtown.

Another stately corner building.

Another stately corner building.

I stared for awhile at this sculpture atop the historic River Inn before realizing these are otters. The inn sits along the banks of the Otter Tail River.

I stared for a while at this sculpture atop the historic River Inn before realizing these are otters. The inn sits along the Otter Tail River. I believe this building today houses only apartments and does not operate as an inn.

A downtown barbershop complete with a barber's pole charms visitors like me.

The Uptown Barber Shop, complete with a barber’s pole, charms visitors like me.

This hulking federal building houses courtrooms and the post office.

This hulking federal building houses courtrooms and the post office.

Stunning eagle sculptures span the entries into the federal building.

Stunning eagle sculptures span the front entries into the federal building.

Audience members filter into an historic theatre for a play presented at a Center for the Arts.

Audience members filter into an historic theatre for a play presented at A Center for the Arts.

Just another shot of businesses in downtown Fergus Falls.

Just another shot of businesses in downtown Fergus Falls.

FYI: To view previous posts from Fergus Falls, use my blog search engine to check my archives. I posted last week and during the week of June 12-18, 2011, on my first visit to Fergus Falls.  Also, watch for more posts from this community.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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22 Responses to “A photographic tour of downtown Fergus Falls”

  1. Marilyn Says:

    Your small town photos and descriptions are heart warming. I am deeply coveting your supply of lilacs. Well, I can’t have everything here in the subtropics.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Oh, the lilacs are so glorious right now. They’re everywhere.

      Thank you for your kind words re. my small town photos. I especially enjoy showcasing the many wonderful communities of Minnesota.

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    The architecture is stunningly gorgeous! I often wonder why some towns are so successful at preservation while others lose their heritage one demolition at a time!! The lilacs here are incredible, also! Almost like they are making up for last year’s dismal display. Hugs…..

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I wonder that same thing, Doreen. In the 1970s, it seems the cool thing was to tear down old buildings and erect modern structures. What a mistake. My own small hometown of 330 has only a few buildings remaining on the one-block Main Street. It makes me so sad to realize that all the businesses I frequented as a kid are gone. Just gone.

      Oh, the lilacs, the glorious lilacs…two bouquets in my house right now.

  3. Jackie Says:

    If ever we travel that way I would love to checkout this little town, very charming. I noticed that above Kaddatz Galleries it says Kaddatz Hotel, I’m guessing that it used to be a Hotel. I like how it still has the name built into the structure. Did you stop at the bakery? Mmmmmm I love small town bakeries!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Good eye to notice the “hotel” signage. I saw that, too. The bakery was not open since we were in the downtown during evening hours. Only a few places were open on that Thursday night. I could probably spend an entire day exploring Fergus Falls. If only we didn’t need to get to Fargo.

  4. Great Captures – a town with a history, a present and a great future – love the character too:) That art is AMAZING! Thanks for sharing – Happy Thursday:)

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      You are correct on all counts regarding Fergus Falls.

      I love Charles Beck’s woodcut prints. His art graces the cover of Lake Region Review, a regional anthology in which I had a poem published last year.

  5. love this town. It reminds me a lot of Red Wing where I live.

  6. I like woodcut prints. I like the clean lines of them. As always, your eye for detail is perfect!

  7. Sue Says:

    Audrey, I have caught up with all your blogs of late and have enjoyed them immensely. Your photos of the lilacs are so pretty and one can almost smell their fragrance. Your blog on Fergus Fall got forwarded to Joel at Fergus Fall Journal newspaper via his mom who is a friend of mine. Outstanding pictures of the downtown area. I have been there too and it is a very welcoming place.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you so much, Sue, for the kudos on the lilac images and, especially, for forwarding the Fergus Falls pix on to Joel at the paper. I could have spent way more time in Fergus. It’s just a lovely, lovely town. I have at least two more posts coming from Fergus Falls.

  8. Beth Ann Says:

    Love how you always are able to catch the essence of these towns in your photos!!! What a gift! Fergus continues to look amazing to me…..maybe a trip is in order someday!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I still have two more posts coming from Fergus Falls. I’d highly recommend Fergus as a great community to explore.


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