Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Part III: Oh, the memories, the treasures uncovered in West Concord April 2, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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IT’S EASY, WHEN TOURING a museum like that run by the West Concord Historical Society, to feel overwhelmed by the volume of items displayed.

This struck me as particularly humorous: A Sacred Art calendar, Lutheran edition.

The wording on this beautiful piece of art struck me as particularly funny: A Sacred Art Calendar, Lutheran Edition.

But often certain things will imprint as particularly unique or humorous or as a reminder of something from your past.

When I nearly ran into these dangling beads inside the doorway to The 50's and 60's Room, I knew this would be my favorite themed room. It was.

When I nearly ran into these dangling beads inside the doorway to The 50’s and 60’s Room, I knew this would be my favorite themed room.

The WCHS’s museum, housed in a massive former school, contains so much stuff that you are sure to find multiple pieces of the past that pop out, no matter your age.

This Flecks beer memorabilia is displayed in the West Concord museum even though the beer was made in my community of Faribault 25 miles away.

This Flecks beer memorabilia is displayed in the West Concord museum even though the beer was made in my community of Faribault 25 miles away.

I have no personal connection to West Concord. Yet I am connected by time and by the geography of living in southeastern Minnesota.

Here are some more of my favorite finds inside the WCHS museum:

This entire former classroom is set up to look like the 1930s-early 1940s Flame Room once housed in the Concord Hotel. This space can be rented for gatherings.

This entire former classroom is set up to look like the 1930s-early 1940s Flame Room once housed in the Concord Hotel. This space can be rented for gatherings. Locals dined and danced at The Flame.

Vintage ads and graphics, like this one for pink Frigidaire appliances, always draw my attention

Vintage ads and graphics, like this one for pink Frigidaire appliances, always draw my interest.

This pink Frigidaire electric stove was purchased by Arthur and Lorraine Spreiter in about 1959 from Pirkl and Hall Appliance along Main Street in West Concord. The stove features double oven doors rather than a drop-down door. The Spreiters also purchased an upright pink refrigerator/freezer.

This pink Frigidaire electric stove was purchased by Arthur and Lorraine Spreiter in about 1959 from Pirkl and Hall Appliance along Main Street in West Concord. The stove features double oven doors rather than a drop-down door. The Spreiters also purchased an upright pink refrigerator/freezer.

I was delighted that this apron was saved and displayed in The Farmers and Merchants Room. Lumber yards were once such an important business in small towns.

I am delighted that this apron was saved and displayed in The Farmers and Merchants Room. Lumber yards were once key businesses in small towns. Most have closed, replaced by Big Box lumber sources. The apron is so representative of the personal service offered in small towns.

I collect vintage drinking glasses and once had a red spotted one. My Aunt Jeanette has a collection of these. Love.

I collect vintage drinking glasses and once had a red spotted one. My Aunt Jeanette has a collection of these. Love.

I love vintage signs and graphics. And how many Gambles stores even exist any more? This sign was found in the old West Concord Gambles store opened in about 1935 by Clarence Barwald.

I love vintage signs and graphics. And how many Gambles stores even exist any more? This sign was found in the old West Concord Gambles store opened in about 1935 by Clarence Barwald. It hangs in The Farmers & Merchants Room.

Growing up, I never was impressed by the oil-cloth covered Formica table in our kitchen. But today, well, I feel differently. My husband was especially thrilled to see this yellow table, like the one he remembers from his youth.

Growing up, I never was impressed by the oil-cloth covered Formica table in our kitchen. But today, well, I feel differently. My husband was especially thrilled to see this yellow table, like the one he remembers from his youth.

This shoe is the most colorful and memorable one I've ever seen. It's like a work of art, showcased in The Fashion Room.

This shoe is the most colorful and memorable footwear I’ve ever seen. It’s like a work of art, showcased in The Fashion Room.

One classroom is devoted to a garage sale type space called Grandma's Attic. Here you can purchase secondhand merchandise

One classroom is devoted to a garage sale type space called Grandma’s Attic. Here you can purchase secondhand merchandise with proceeds going to the museum. I purchased a Fire King bowl for $1.

FYI: Click here to read my initial post and my second post on this small town museum. Thank you for following this three-part series on this incredible collection of West Concord area history.

Here’s an upcoming event at the West Concord Historical Society, 600 West First Street, that may interest you: The Czech Area Concertina Band will perform from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 19. Admission is a free will donation.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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