Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A muddy shoe ban in Morgan July 24, 2013

YOU BEST NOT ENTER the Shell convenience store/gas station in Morgan with muddy shoes. I never checked my flip flops nor the floor upon entering. My initial focus was finding the bathroom in Wayne’s C-Store, as it’s known by locals.

Posted on doors of the Shell station in Morgan.

Posted on doors of the Shell station in Morgan.

Only afterward did I ponder the message and wonder how many times staff has dealt with mud trekked inside this retail hub in this rural southwestern Minnesota community. Often enough, apparently, given the postings on the two front doors.

A view right outside the Shell station.

A view right outside the Shell station.

My husband and I had just driven about 100 miles, more than an hour of that in rain. But, unless our soles acquired mud while walking from our gravel parking space into the store, they should have been clean.

A rural-themed mural on the side of Wayne's C-Store.

A rural-themed mural on the side of Wayne’s C-Store.

After photographing the NO MUDDY SHOES ALLOWED! sign and the mural on the side of the convenience store, I swung my camera around to photograph Harvest Land Cooperative across the street.

A snippet of the Harvest Land Co-op complex across the highway from the Shell station.

A snippet of the Harvest Land Co-op complex across the highway from the Shell station.

There’s something about an elevator that always causes me to pause and reflect on my rural Minnesota prairie roots.

The hatchery is closed.

The hatchery is closed.

From there I skirted vehicles parked alongside the Shell station and dodged puddles to photograph signage on the next door old Morgan Hatchery.

A side view of the former hatchery.

A side view of the former hatchery.

At that point I likely muddied my flip flops. But that was just fine. I wasn’t returning to the NO MUDDY SHOES ALLOWED! store.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


27 Responses to “A muddy shoe ban in Morgan”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Love signs like that!!! I always take pictures of funny signs too but I imagine the employees of this establishment had simply just had it with muddy shoes!!! I love the hatchery pictures, too! A little bit of rural America at its best.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Exactly. I know how I feel when I’ve just scrubbed the floor and mud gets tracked onto it.

      And, yes, I’d like to get inside that old hatchery building.

      • Angie Says:

        This was my Grandparents business and my parents still own the hatchery building. The sign on side of the building has been there for as long as I can remember. There are still some incubators in there for hatching chickens and ducks, the rest of the stuff was sold when we closed. I spent much of my childhood growing up in that building and the memories are something I’ll never forget.

      • Angie, thanks for the info on the building. I can tell this is a special place. Hang onto those memories. I love that vintage hatchery signage.

  2. Jackie Says:

    Interesting sign, they must have had some nasty messes to clean up. I have never heard of Morgan MN, where abouts is it?

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Morgan is on the eastern edge of Redwood County, between Redwood Falls and New Ulm, about 30 miles from my hometown of Vesta. It’s in the heart of southwestern Minnesota’s farmland.

  3. treadlemusic Says:

    Mud is one thing….there are a few more distasteful substances that could create footprints in such an establishments in a farming community that I can think of!! LOL!

  4. Marilyn Says:

    When we have a few days of nasty weather here I get out an old runner/rug and put a couple pairs of shoes on it and “invite” all visitors to help us keep the floors a bit cleaner. In other words, “You get to take your shoes off in my house!” In 20+ years only one person has ever declined – an elderly lady. And I didn’t really ask her to do so, she just assumed I would.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I’m pretty much a take your shoes off when you enter my house person, no matter the weather. I don’t mind shoes left on so much in the kitchen and dining area, which can be scrubbed. But on the carpet, no. Good idea you have to hint to visitors that they take off their footwear.

  5. Cute sign, wonder if it really works! and one would wonder if it mean any loss in business?

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      My guess would be no loss in business given the limited shopping options in Morgan.

  6. ryanware Says:

    Audrey, do you know who is the painter of all the murals in that area? Redwood Falls, Morton, Morgan, Franklin, the whole area has them.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      That’s a good question, Ryan. You’re right about those murals being all over that region of sw MN. Readers, can you tell us?

  7. Rachelle Says:

    Some of the murals could have been painted by Gordy “Flash” Panitzke. He has since passed away.

  8. Chastity Schultz Says:

    My dad, Wayne owns this C-Store in Morgan. The artist of the mural is a Butzer I believe from the Morton area. It has been many, many years since it was painted on. He also painted a mural on the side of a shed at a home I grew up In just on the edge of Morgan. About the sign on the store-of coarse they would never deny anyone service. In fact if needed, the employees would come out to you to ask what you may need and go retrieve it for you. All in an effort to keep the floors clean 😀 I worked there growing up and even managed the place as an adult. We would come out and pump gas for the elderly and handicapped. We’d grab a pop or candybar for for them also if requested. Just a little info I thought I’d share about this little gas station in a little town.

  9. Samantha Thoreson Says:

    this Is Super Funny Cuz That’s My Hometown And Yes I Worked There!

  10. Lisa Armour Says:

    That is my home town! I remember going to the hatchery to buy duck, chickens and feed when we lived on the farm. We would get the eggs from there for Easter Sunday breakfast at church too. Beautiful pictures! I love the sign on the gas station doors and do understand why! I remember how bad the café floors got and would have to clean them!

    Thanks again!

    Lisa Eckart Armour

  11. Krista (Davidson) Cory Says:

    I remember as a kid from South Dakota visiting my relatives (Frederickson) during the summers growing up. (My dad was from Belview) My cousins and I used to ride bikes from their farm in to Morgan to visit their grandmother Mary. I’ve always liked the little town and it brings back so many good memories of my childhood.

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