Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

More from Decorah, Iowa, my “new” favorite historic town July 26, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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The Blue Heron Knittery is housed in this historic building.

The Blue Heron Knittery is housed in this historic building.

FOR SOMEONE LIKE ME who delights in historic buildings, the northeastern Iowa river town of Decorah offers an ideal destination for viewing an abundance of aged architecture.

If you're of Norwegian ancestry, which I'm not, you'll especially enjoy Decorah. Be ware the trolls and gnomes.

If you’re of Norwegian ancestry, which I’m not, you’ll especially enjoy Decorah. Be ware the trolls and gnomes.

But downtown Decorah is about so much more. It’s about Norwegians and shopping and a river town with a distinct personality. This weekend, July 25 – 27, Decorah celebrates its annual Nordic Fest. Click here to learn more.

That said, here’s Part III in my photo tour of downtown Decorah:

Numerous buildings feature sweet little balconies.

Numerous buildings feature sweet little balconies.

A side street off the main route through downtown.

A side street off the main route through downtown.

Lovely signage...

Lovely signage…

So much variation in building design and height.

So much variation in building design and height.

Love this original signage on the old screen door that bangs behind you at

Love this original signage on the old screen door that bangs behind you at La Rana, a charming restaurant.

Vanberia, where you can shop for all things Norwegian.

Vanberia, where you can shop for all things Norwegian.

Norwegian art in the entry to

This art, in the entry of the Westby-Torgerson Education Center, celebrates the Norwegian heritage.

I noticed Santa in this second story window.

I noticed Santa in this second story window.

Shopping for antiques in the basement of Eckheart Gallery.

Shopping for antiques and collectibles in the basement of Eckheart Gallery.

Windowboxes abound.

Windowboxes abound.

Look close for remnants of the past.

Look close for remnants of the past.

Sweet architecture.

Sweet architecture.

FYI: Click here to view a previous downtown post. Click here to view a post on Storypeople. And click here to see a local favorite ice cream spot, The Whippy Dip, which is near downtown.

Watch for more posts from Decorah.

Ā© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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16 Responses to “More from Decorah, Iowa, my “new” favorite historic town”

  1. Decorah is just so pretty, It’s on my favorite list also!
    My best friend lives in Spring Grove–have you been to their Syttende Mai celebration? It is May 17th every Spring.
    Spring Grove is the oldest Norwegian settlement in MN! I know this because I’m a Norwegian trapped in a German name!
    My grandmother was 100% Norwegian, and I’m often sad I did not learn Norwegian from her!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I can’t recall if I have been to Spring Grove or Spring Valley.

      A Norwegian trapped in a German name, huh?

      Wait until I show you the natural attractions in Decorah. You will love it even more.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    I missed the Santa the last time we were there!!! Good eyes, Audrey!!! Of course I am partial to these Decorah posts since I love that place so much, too! Thanks for sharing!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I don’t know whether the Santa is permanent or temporary. But you know me. I tend to notice details.

  3. squnches Says:

    I love old architecture too, buildings were once more than just a building, it was a very creative work of art, they were decorated around windows, doors and along verandahs, even roof tops were a bit special. Sadly now people are all for pulling down these old buildings and replacing them with a much more modern box that has 4 straight flat walls and nothing special about them at all šŸ˜¦ There is a wonderful building I know of called The Beehive Corner, its in Rundle Mall, Audrey, have a look, might just be up your alley šŸ™‚

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I do think there’s been a trend more lately toward trying to save and reuse these historic buildings.

      Thanks for the tip on the building which houses The Beehive Corner.

  4. treadlemusic Says:

    You know how much I love Decorah (and Magpie’s coffee house!)! And a side note to Stacy……The larger quilt group I belong to meets in Spring Grove the 3rd Monday of every month. In the fall (Oct. 4th and 5th) they have an event called Uffda Fest w/ our group doing a Festival of Quilts. I will be there doing demos both days!!! Come on over!!!!! Hugs……..

  5. Jackie Says:

    I really do need to head down to Decorah with Dad,I’ve only been to my uncles farm on the outskirts….It’s time we go into town. I know dad has been there many times, just not with me.

  6. hotlyspiced Says:

    I love these old buildings. Thanks for the tour, Audrey. It’s lovely to see part of Iowa and see it in summer xx

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yes, summer is so different from winter. But I expect Decorah would be lovely any time of year.


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