Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Snapshotting Northfield on a Sunday afternoon in April April 25, 2017


THE TEMPERATURE ON THE FIRST National Bank of Northfield sign flashed 68 degrees. Sixty-eight glorious degrees on a Sunday afternoon as sunny and beautiful as they come in southern Minnesota in April.


Unhooking a fish and fishing in the Cannon River by Bridge Square in the heart of Northfield’s downtown.


Daffodils, accented by curly willow, make a simple art statement in planters scattered throughout the downtown area.


Lots of downtown Northfield restaurants offer outdoor dining, including here at The Hideaway.


Everywhere people ranged in this river city. Bikers, outdoor diners, walkers, anglers, an auburn-haired child navigating across grass sprouted with dandelions, a woman smoking a cigarette in a doorway, an elementary-aged boy drawing an owl in a sketchbook, a line of families waiting outside a dance studio, college co-eds walking in pairs…


Poetry is imprinted in downtown sidewalks, this poem across a side street from Bridge Square.


Randy and I meandered the river walk, pausing to talk with a biker couple from Hartland asking about Froggy Bottoms, a riverside eatery. We chatted with the red-haired toddler’s mom who admired my camera and shared her passion for photography. She does the social media photos for her and her partner’s BlueNose Coffee in neighboring Farmington. We traded business cards and wished each other a good day and I thought how warm and friendly this young woman with the beautiful baby girl.


MakeShift Accessories is one of my favorite downtown Northfield shops given its creative uniqueness.


In all the times I’ve visited Bridge Square in downtown Northfield, I’ve never noticed the Civil War Monument topped by this eagle. This time the adjacent fountain was turned off, shifting my focus to the memorial and not to the water.


Handwritten notes on business doors always amuse me.


Reaching the end of the river walk, Randy and I circled to Division Street, slipping into the occasional business to peruse gifts, antiques and art. As we strolled, I paused to snap photos of whatever caught my eye. A haphazard collection of images.


Toys were corralled in a wagon outside a downtown Northfield antique shop.


The James-Younger Gang robbery of the First National Bank draws many visitors to Northfield. The original bank now houses the Northfield Historical Society and sits across the street from the current bank.


On the side of the historic bank building are holes ringed in black, supposedly marking bullet holes made during the bank raid.


Had a company party not drawn us indoors to a pizza and sports bar, I would have lingered longer outdoors, gathering with my camera those details, those Northfield scenes that perhaps remain unnoticed by too many.



The window of a barbershop across from Bridge Square.


One of two murals on the Northfield Union of Youth building.


Another mural on The Key (youth center) building caught my eye.


© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


18 Responses to “Snapshotting Northfield on a Sunday afternoon in April”

  1. Littlesundog Says:

    Our town displays a lot of murals on buildings showing the Native American culture of the area. I love and appreciate the creativeness and talent of the local artists who paint these murals.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    Fun stroll through a neat rivertown. I love the license plate signs–very creative and eye catching and the perfect way to get attention for a business. The murals are beautiful as well. And the rising temps—perfect! Exclamation marks intended. 🙂

  3. Almost Iowa Says:

    I have often watched the people fishing in Northfield but never saw one catch a fish – but I guess that is not the point.

  4. Dan Traun Says:

    It is amazing what you see when when wandering around. Great snapshots.

  5. Jackie Says:

    A beautiful day to stroll through this interesting Rivertown. I have eaten at Froggy Bottoms, but cant recall with who. I’m sure it was good, my memory fails me. I Loved the photo of the Daffodils entwined in the curly willow, so pretty!

    • We need to try Froggy Bottoms sometimes. I love dining outdoors and that’s one of the things I really appreciate about Northfield dining options.

      When I saw those curly willow with the daffodils, I was duly impressed with the simplistic beauty of the pairing.

  6. Valerie Says:

    Northfield is a wonderful place to live. I’m happy to see you photos!

  7. Poetry on the sidewalks! H E A V E N.
    I love your photos of “Life Happening.”
    People talking ( what are they saying? )
    Flowers growing.
    Messages on ripped paper.

    xxx WOW. xx

  8. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    “My mind found silence and I shared it” fun pictures thanks for sharing.

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