Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A glimpse of Le Center November 10, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Driving northeast on Minnesota State Highway 99 toward Le Center.

Driving northeast on Minnesota State Highway 99 toward Le Center.

EVERY TIME I PASS through Le Center, I am in a hurry, on my way to somewhere else with no extra time.

Le Center, population 2,499 (not 2,500), is the county seat of Le Sueur County, a proper noun I find difficult to spell. The county is named after French Explorer Pierre Charles Le Sueur who visited the region in the 1700s while traveling the nearby St. Peter’s River, now known as the Minnesota River.

My view of this southern Minnesota community is usually peripheral, along State Highway 99. Winco on the north with “warehouse space available” bannered on the fence. The new Dollar General to the south. Then, a bit further, the municipal swimming pool, a diner advertising 99-cent burgers, service stations, the Le Sueur County Fairgrounds, the place that makes cheesecake… I always notice the NAPA store painted in the most hideous, yet distinguishable, blue. Off the highway, the grain elevator looms as a backdrop.

Beer Oil & Tire, not to be confuses with a business that sells beer in addition to oil and tires.

Beer Oil & Tire, not to be confused with a business that sells beer in addition to oil and tires.

The last two times I’ve been in Le Center, twice within a week, I convinced my husband to pull off the highway, also labeled as Derrynane. That name puzzles me for its oddity. But I was even more intrigued, entertained actually, by the signage on a local service station: Beer Oil & Tire. I read it as beer, oil and tire. You know how sometimes something strikes you as humorous but the person you are with doesn’t find the humor? I didn’t let that stop me from photographing this service station owned by a Beer.

The Legion does not limit its Steak Fry menu to steak. It also includes walleye, pork chops, shrimp, a full salad bar and kids' menu. The next Steak Fry is from 5 - 8 p.m. on November 28.

The Legion does not limit its Steak Fry menu to steak. It also includes walleye, pork chops, shrimp, a full salad bar and kids’ menu. The next Steak Fry is from 5 – 8 p.m. on November 28.

American Legion Post 108 recognizes the power of promotion by advertising its monthly Steak Fry on a portable sign parked along Minnesota State 99. Driving toward downtown, a sandwich board with the same info was planted smack dab in the middle of the street by the Legion. I still don’t understand the definition of “steak fry.” Are the steaks fried?

Le Center's muni welcomes deer hunters.

Le Center’s muni welcomes deer hunters.

Downtown, Le Center Municipal Liquors currently caters to deer hunters by offering Busch Light bottles for $3 during happy hour. I expect hunters will congregate at the muni with or without beer specials. But welcoming hunters with targeted signage seems a nice, and smart, thing to do.

What's behind buildings can also reveal a lot about a town.

What’s behind buildings can also reveal a lot about a town. This is downtown.

I noted a sign in a storefront window announcing the upcoming opening of a thrift store. That rates a return visit. I love small town thrift shops. Besides, I haven’t explored Le Center enough yet to fully understand its personality. I need to walk and poke around and duck into businesses.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Advertisements
 

15 Responses to “A glimpse of Le Center”

  1. Dan Traun Says:

    Small town character. It’s hard to beat. I wondered the same thing about the “fry.” I think it is a play on fish fry, but there is no actual fry happening. “Come on out for the steak grill” doesn’t have the same familiarity.

  2. Marneymae Says:

    Laughed out loud reading of this disdain for that particular blue…
    I appreciate the curiosity which moves you to explore places which might go easily overlooked.

  3. This reminds me of my hometown especially the back side of that building.

  4. hotlyspiced Says:

    Someone needs to have a baby so there can be 2,500 in the town! Those beers are certainly cheap. Gorgeous photos, Audrey, especially the first one xx

  5. Jackie Says:

    It took me awhile to “get” that Beer was the last name of someone. I’m a little slow tonight 🙂

  6. Marilyn Says:

    We’ve recently returned from a fairly long trip back to our homeland – the good ol’ US of A. That first photo is further documentation on the topic of ‘some things never change and some things are so different.’ The crossbars on the power poles are eye-catching and different. I don’t think we saw anything like that in our travels.

    • It’s interesting that you should notice and mention the power poles. My mom sees reindeer in that unique shape at the top. I photographed close-ups near my brother’s home in southwestern Minnesota. She now has a print framed and hanging in her apartment.

  7. Thread crazy Says:

    Yes I think I revisit to town and the thrift store is definitely in order, if nothing more than to see whats in the building where the boat was parked! Yep, small town charm I must agree.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s