FOLKS IN AMBOY understand the importance of building their community’s future, of distinguishing their town as a destination in rural Minnesota.
On a brief visit last July to Amboy, population 535 and located 20 miles south of Mankato, I discovered an inviting Maine (yes, that’s the correct spelling) Street defined by sturdy old brick buildings, quaint shops, a one-of-a-kind cafe, and a deep appreciation of history and the arts.
This is my kind of small town, one focused on showcasing local talent and history and all that makes Amboy a great community.
Business owners and others clearly work hard to draw visitors off U.S. Highway 169 onto Maine Street. The Amboy Cottage Cafe initially drew my husband and me here for lunch while en route to Worthington in late July 2013.
Afterward, we poked around in several downtown shops before heading out. We were short on time, or we would have explored more.
Amboy deserves a second look, a few hours of time to check out the businesses and the rest of the town. In rural Minnesota, this community seems determined to survive and thrive, building on its strengths.
Details like well-kept buildings without boarded up windows, pots overflowing with luscious flowers, welcome banners on Maine, a general overall tidy look and more visually impress.
And then there are the old buildings which have been saved, like The Amboy Cottage Cafe, once a gas station.
Across the street, the old elevator, slated for demolition, was purchased by a group and is now being restored for use as an arts venue and community gathering spot.
The Amboy Area Community Club is supporting restoration of an old depot relocated here from nearby Huntley.
An old country schoolhouse was moved into town, restored and is now an historical education center and site of special community events. The 1901 Dodd Ford Bridge, on the National Register of Historic Places, will be preserved. A historic home houses A Walk Back in Time bed and breakfast while another, Que Sera, serves as a retreat center.
Currently, a project is underway to convert the former Amboy Middle School into “The Junction,” a multi-purpose community building. (Click here to learn about that.)
Although I didn’t check out all of these places, I saw enough to appreciate Amboy and the gumption of the folks who live here. They seem a determined bunch—determined to keep their community thriving in a time when all too many small towns are dying.
FYI: Click here to read my previous post on The Amboy Cottage Cafe. Please check back for one more post with photos from Amboy.
© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling