Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A glimpse of small town Lonsdale August 10, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Hardware stores, like this one in downtown Lonsdale, are important businesses in many small towns.

Hardware stores, like this one in downtown Lonsdale, are important businesses in many small towns.

EVERYBODY KNOWS EVERYBODY,” so claims a Lonsdale resident in a promotional video on the city’s website. That’s believable in this community of 3,800 located just off Interstate 35 in northwestern Rice County.

Jim's Antiques and Collectibles is among several similar shops in the downtown.

Jim’s Antiques and Collectibles is among several similar shops along Main Street.

On a recent Thursday evening, my husband, son and I drove into Lonsdale, circled through the Main Street and back and then parked in front of an antique store. This small town boasts 100 businesses. Not that you’re going to see a major downtown with lots of shops. There are some. But that number also includes the business park.

Sidewalk signage directs shoppers to several downtown businesses.

Sidewalk signage directs shoppers to several downtown businesses.

The city website also cites 11 city parks and two nature preserves in Lonsdale. I expect those get heavy usage not only from long-time locals but also from those who moved here for affordable housing and a short commute to the nearby Twin Cities metro.

A sign in a storefront window identifies a business.

A sign in a storefront window identifies a business.

Yes, Lonsdale is also known as a bedroom community, a major shift from the town’s root population of Czech immigrants living on the west side of town and Irish on the east. That was back in 1903 when the town was founded.

A front window in Jim's Antiques.

A front window in Jim’s Antiques.

Those ethnic roots remain strong today. You needn’t look far to find descendants of those early families like Skluzacek, Kuchinka, Sevcik…

More handcrafted signage.

More handcrafted signage.

And you needn’t look far to determine that Lonsdale remains, at heart, still a small town.

FYI: Join me tomorrow as I take you inside Audre’s Attic in downtown Lonsdale. The following day, I will show you Jim’s Antiques and Collectibles.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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16 Responses to “A glimpse of small town Lonsdale”

  1. Marneymae Says:

    I appreciate local, independent shops.
    & I have a soft spot for hardware stores… My grandparents opened a plumbing supply store in a town about 30-odd miles south of Chicago that served all the local plumbers & many builders in the area for many years. (Though it closed in the early nineties)
    Hooray that there are still stores & towns such as Lonsdale!

  2. This is the town I grew up in. Pretty active members in the community too. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂 Happy Week – enjoy!

  3. Beth Ann Says:

    That is a lot of businesses for such a relatively small place. Fun to explore little places like this and see what they offer.

  4. Ooh fun I love it when you do series of blog posts. I’d never make it out of the yarn shop.

  5. Jackie Says:

    I’ve never heard of this town, looking forward to your future posts on Lonsdale!

  6. hotlyspiced Says:

    That really is a small town and I have heard it’s true that in these small towns, nothing is private! You have to be on your toes and you certainly wouldn’t want to cause a scandal! Impressive how there are 100 local businesses – I bet they are well supported by the community xx

  7. Val Says:

    I was so glad to see your blogs about Lonsdale! We have a vintage shop Elegant Junk that is open occasionally in Lonsdale and love this small town. Jim and Audrie have been so friendly and helpful. Hopefully we’re open the next time you visit.


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