IT’S BAD ENOUGH when a community experiences a devastating fire in its historic downtown. But then again, less than a year later.
Those were my thoughts, as I’m sure that of many others, upon learning the Mississippi River town of Winona lost a 1912 former YMCA building, now housing KidSport Gymnastics, to a Thursday morning fire.
A year ago, on September 13, fire destroyed the downtown Islamic Center and another building and damaged several other historic buildings.
Just last week my husband I were in Winona, staying there upon our return home from a brief vacation to Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. We parked our van downtown Wednesday evening and started walking, pausing often to study the beautiful, historic architecture which graces this community. As you would expect, I snapped photos, but, unfortunately, not one of KidSport.
Eleven entire downtown blocks are on the National Register of Historic Districts. According to visitwinona.com:
The Winona Downtown Commercial Historic District contains over one hundred sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This area represents Minnesota’s largest collection of Victorian commercial architecture on the Mississippi. Most of the buildings are Italianate or Queen Anne in style and date from between the years 1857 and 1916.
If you appreciate architecture and the history of a river town, I’d highly recommend a visit to Winona. Late autumn with tree-covered bluffs, and not buildings, ablaze would be the perfect time to tour.
© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling