Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A snippet view of historic Faribault from the viaduct January 5, 2016

The Minnesota Highway 60 viaduct stretches before me, looking to the west toward the heart of Faribault.

The Minnesota Highway 60 viaduct stretches before me, looking to the west toward the heart of Faribault.

EVERY TIME I VIEW Faribault from the Minnesota Highway 60 viaduct, I am mesmerized by this community I’ve called home for 32 years.

Before me, historic Faribault lies:

Old houses constructed of wood, brick and limestone populate residential areas near downtown.

Old houses constructed of wood, brick and limestone populate residential areas near downtown.

aged wood frame houses jutting from hillsides,


Carriage House Liquors is an example, according to the Faribault Heritage Preservation Commission website, “one of Faribault’s best-preserved stone industrial structures.” Buggies, carriages, wagons and bobsleds were manufactured in this historic building, which later also served as a blacksmith shop.

solid brick and stone buildings anchored downtown,

Steeples of First English Lutheran Church and

Steeples of First English Lutheran Church and Congregational Church of Faribault, UCC, are seen in the background of this image.

church steeples poking the skyline,


Buckham Memorial Library, dedicated in 1930 in memory of Faribault lawyer and judge Thomas Buckham by his widow, Anna, sits to the left in this photo. A clock tower landmarks the building. Inside are beautiful stained glass windows designed by Charles Connick.

a signature clock tower marking the Kasota stone library.

Another snippet view of downtown from the viaduct.

Another snippet view of downtown Faribault from the viaduct.

This is a beautiful city of rivers and woods, hills and flatland. It is a place where the past is appreciated, where aged buildings still stand. Strong. Strong in history. Rooted in the past, but growing in the present.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


25 Responses to “A snippet view of historic Faribault from the viaduct”

  1. Marilyn Says:

    We are presently enjoying a cooling rain, but that artfully arranged snow-pile around the light pole in the first photo is mesmerizing me here in the Antipodean sub-tropics!

  2. Beautiful pictures. Love the church steeples.

  3. Faribault is a beautiful city – Great Captures – thanks so much for sharing 🙂 Happy Day – Enjoy!

  4. Gunny Says:

    Missing the days of snow, staying in the hyper-heated indoors, OK, Audrey, my Mrs. and I are planning a visit this coming Summer to come up to that neck of the woods to visit relatives long since buried and see if we might find one or two still above ground. My Mother’s family was spread out from Decorah, Iowa, to Albert Lee, all the way up to Minneapolis / St Paul, St. Cloud(?), Red Wing, over to Yankton, up to Fargo and points North and West – all the way to California. In some cases in Wisconsin (all started in 1852). That second picture is as picturesque as one could ask for with the colorful signs dotting the landscape!

    • I love that second photo, too, for the exact reason you cite. Splashes of red against grey and white.

      Well, I’m so happy to have convinced you to visit Minnesota. You have a lot of places on your list. Let me know if you get to Faribault and my husband and I will try to connect with you and the Mrs. Decorah, BTW, is one of my favorite Iowa cities.

  5. Beth Ann Says:

    Even though your pictures have a coldness associated with them they still warm my heart because this is the town that you love so much. Enjoyed the winter shots today, Audrey.

  6. Jackie Says:

    I have actually driven these residential streets and marveled at the beautiful homes. Such a lovely city you live in!

  7. Littlesundog Says:

    What I notice most is the lay of the land… the hills gently rising and falling. This is also true of buildings in various height and breadth creating the same sweep of rising and falling… and the trees soften the angles and lines of simple architecture. I think someone from a city such as New York or Boston could think the brown and tan brick of the buildings could be quite boring, but to me these structures speak of strength and endurance – mighty and tough to withstand the elements of the plains.

  8. Don Says:

    I have only passed through Faribault once. We were vacationing in the Midwest years ago and there was a strike in progress at the Hotels and Motels in Minneapolis. This forced us to look for a nights accommodations outside the metropolitan area, along with everyone else not prepared by advanced reservations. The only vacancies available were used up by softball teams for their tournaments, soccer teams for theirs, a car show, and to top it off a county western concert by some person I do not remember. We drove south on interstate 35 thinking it should be no problem finding a vacancy once out of the city area. Wrong! We passed through Faribault at about 9:30pm during a driving rainstorm so I was never able to see much of your town. We ended up in Owatonna in a run down Motel as it was the 1st place we came to that had a vacancy. We beat out two other couples in the same predicament as us and snagged the last room. Now enjoying your pictures a see what I missed all those years ago! I may need to put Faribault on my list of possible places to move, in spite of the stoplights!

    • Well then, Don, I would love to have you consider Faribault as your Minnesota retirement home. We definitely have more than one stoplight here. You could also consider one of the smaller nearby communities like Morristown or Kenyon. Not the same landscape, but nice small towns.

  9. treadlemusic Says:

    I love that 2nd photo!!!! Reminds me of some of the ones I’ve seen of Stillwater and Galena (same era, I suspect!). Love “Gunny’s” comment!!!!!

  10. Sartenada Says:

    It seems that You winter there also. Great post and nice photos. Happy New Year 2016!

  11. Not that I take offense mind you, but I have taken notice that in a good number of your photos (past and present) that there are a number of establishments known as liquor stores, taverns and other purveyors of alcohol (also known as demon rum)..Is there a subliminal message being sent here Audrey? LOL.. Nice looking town though.

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