Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Part V from Wanamingo: Landmarks & oddities March 28, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Some of the airport luggage carts still remaining in Wanamingo.

Some of the airport luggage carts still remaining in Wanamingo.

MOST SMALL TOWNS possess oddities and landmarks unique to the community. Wanamingo in Goodhue County is no exception.

A few years back, I spotted row upon row of airport luggage carts parked outdoors in a lot on the north edge of town. It was the oddest sight. Only a small cluster of carts remains now. They’re still a mystery to me.


Small town Wanamingo, 47 elementary school


I am also intrigued by the massive pipes winding along the roofline of Kenyon-Wanamingo Elementary School. Typically, these heating (I presume) pipes run underground. Why are these atop the roof?


Small town Wanamingo, 44 butcher shop sign


At Wanamingo Meats and Catering, a hot pink sign and hot pink shutters draw attention to this downtown business owned by two sisters. That explains the pink. Butcher shops aren’t typically owned by women. Customers sing the praises of this business on its Facebook page.


Small town Wanamingo, 38 Ringo's sign above bar


Downtown, I noticed a bar and grill with a seeming identity crisis. A sign high on the building identifies the business as Ringo’s Bar & Grill. But an over-the-door sign banners J B’s Tavern.

I would love to get inside this aged house, to know its story.

I would love to get inside this aged house, to know its story.

On the north end of Main Street, I photographed a hulking old house with a widow’s walk. Surely there’s a story here. I expect the original owner may have been someone of great importance in Wanamingo.

That this portion of the old creamery was saved and posted on a highly-visible corner impresses me.

That this portion of the old creamery was saved and posted on a highly-visible corner along Minnesota State Highway 57 impresses me.

Finally, on the corner of Riverside Park, angles signage for Minneola Creamery. A quick google search tells me the creamery, organized in December 1893, was one of the most successful in Minnesota. In 1908, according to information in History of Goodhue County, Minnesota by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge, the creamery manufactured 550,00 pounds of butter selling for $125,000. Oh, the things I learn because I notice and photograph. And because I delight in touring small town Minnesota.

WHAT ODDITIES OR LANDMARKS would I find in your town/city? Let’s hear.

FYI: Check back tomorrow as I conclude my “from Wanamingo” series. To read the first four posts in this series, check last week’s archives.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


21 Responses to “Part V from Wanamingo: Landmarks & oddities”

  1. Ah, the oddities and anomalies of small town America..

  2. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    My favorite oddity in my own neighborhood would be the Jolly Green Giant that lives in a back yard about a block away from us. The Giant is maybe 10 feet tall (I’m not great at guessing height, but it’s big). Its owner puts a red scarf around the Giant’s neck in the winter. The guy who owns it grew up in southern Minnesota on a farm. Next to the Jolly Green Giant, there is a huge corn stalk sculpture that lights up.

    • Kathleen, I MUST SEE THIS. Is the Giant visible from the street? If you are so inclined to share a street address, please email me. I do get up to your city because of family living there now.

      Blue Earth has a Jolly Green Giant Statue. And there was one along 169 near Le Sueur, although I think that one may be gone.

  3. Jackie Says:

    I too would like to know more about that grand home. Imagine all the rooms in there. Looking for the oddities… one of my favorite things to do! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Oh the Mysteries, Oddities, Uniqueness – L-O-V-E 🙂 Here are the Top 3 for the Tampa Bay Area – #1 – Long Bridges – a pretty long bridge over a body of water without access to getting off or on and no gas stations (Check for Gas before getting on!), #2 – Saint Petersburg is surrounded by water on 3 sides, and #3 – the amount of local native wildlife species that reside right alongside the human residents here, which happens to be a major city (i.e. gators, otters, birds, turtles, etc.). Happy Day – Enjoy!

  5. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Great pictures. I love that old house.

  6. Rick Says:

    The luggage carts are mentioned in this MPR news blog:

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