Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The impressive Owatonna Power Plant building February 4, 2016

The Owatonna Power Plant building, photographed while waiting at a stoplight on Sunday evening.

The Owatonna Power Plant building, photographed while waiting at a stoplight on Sunday evening.

NO MATTER HOW OFTEN I TRAVEL through downtown Owatonna, I remain impressed by the massive and historic Owatonna Power Plant building hunkered along the banks of the Straight River.

LED technology replaced the original neon lighting in this iconic lettering.

LED technology replaced the original neon lighting in this iconic lettering.

Constructed of brick and with three silver smokestacks rising behind OWATONNA POWER PLANT signature red lettering, this place stands as a local landmark.

It’s a landmark Owatonna chose to renovate following a devastating 2010 flood that filled the plant’s lower level with 12 feet of water.

Under the direction of architect LEO A DALY, the building has been renovated and repurposed as headquarters for Owatonna Public Utilities. Locals recognized the value of this iconic structure. That seems to be a trend more and more, and one I hope continues.

Please share any examples/stories you have about aged buildings that have been saved and renovated/repurposed rather than destroyed.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling