Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Montgomery, Through a SoMinn Lens February 24, 2020

A scene outside Franke’s Bakery in downtown Montgomery, Minnesota, on a recent Saturday morning. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo January 2020.


SEVERAL WEEKS HAVE PASSED since my last day trip to Montgomery, a small Minnesota town of some 3,000 about a 30-minute drive from my Faribault home.

Randy and I went to Montgomery specifically to view an exhibit of 1900s era photos of Native Americans by noted photographer Edward S. Curtis. The exhibit at the Montgomery Arts & Heritage Center closes this Saturday, February 29. You can learn more about that show by clicking here and reading a previous post.

My reason for writing about Montgomery today is to share my latest Through a SoMinn Lens photo essay column, “Day trip to Montgomery, Kolacky Capital of the World,” which just published in the March issue of Southern Minn Scene. To see the current issue of this free lifestyle, arts and entertainment magazine, click here.

As always, I am delighted to showcase a small Minnesota community well worth your visit. As time allows this week (I’m trying to complete other writing projects with deadlines), I will share more Montgomery photos with you. Enjoy!

And if you have any suggestions of small towns (or attractions) in southern Minnesota that I should visit, please pass along your ideas.

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


10 Responses to “Montgomery, Through a SoMinn Lens”

  1. Gunny Says:

    I would offer that you also visit Albert Lea. I found the Historical Society Centery (whatever they call it) to be fascinating, particularly with their collection of old buildings. I found the lake a marvelous setting and can understand why many people live there. For me, my goal at the time, was to track down ancestors which they certainly helped with. I found a number who found the calling and went to New Mexico. While I certainly have a soft spot in my heart for the Land of Enchantment, my wife, who loved Minnesota and the tall trees was pretty much aghast at Southern New Mexico. One can get on the plains and count the trees on you hand (only need one!) I look forward to visiting Red Wing my next trip.

    • Thanks for the tip, Gunny. I’ve been to Albert Lea, just not the places you suggest.

      Here are some posts from my visit there five years ago: https://mnprairieroots.com/?s=Albert+Lea

      Perhaps it’s time for a revisit.

      You will love Red Wing! Check out the pottery museum, the Red Wing Shoe store…

      • Gunny Says:

        I am more interested in the historical Society than anything else – but those are good suggestions. I was in Brazoria, Texas when I found a picture made before the Dakotas became states. It was a wedding picture that I “rescued” as the subjects were a newly married couple (Norwegians is my guess) and it was made in Aberdeen, Dakota Territory.
        Red Wing is also the site of some in-laws so to speak. Amanda (Lien) Rachie is buried there and she would be one of my cousins. She also started documenting the family history of the Liens.

        I have a GG Grandfather, his two brothers that are buried in the Vang Lutheran Church Cemetery in Holden Township and Nils Lien worked as Postmaster at the now private residence that served as the Vang General Store in Warsaw Township. You show a picture of the District 54 school house – which I ad to go check (I have period maps). Close but no joy. The school house located south of the Vang General Store was school house No 53.

      • Got it, Gunny. I admire you deep interest in family history. I’m OK with knowing some, but not into it in any depth.

  2. valeriebollinger Says:

    I liked your article about Montgomery in Southern Minn Scene.
    Have you been to Mantorville?

  3. albert milgrom Says:

    Hi,Audrey ,  A note on the DVD release of “Singin’ in the Grain”–a Minnesota Czech story, partly shot in Montgomery over a 40-year time frame, from about 1978 thru 2018 (framed by Kolacky Days)The feature documentary enjoyed a screening at the Winona Frozen River Film Festival, this month on a blizzard weekend,however; same fate as the Jan.14 weekend blizzard at the new Montgomery High School screen.   Copies of the DVD will be available at Montgomery’s Franke’s Bakery and Rustic Farmer, or contacting director Al Milgrom (almilgrom@yahoo.com). Thanks, Audrey, for promoting regional Minn. events —Appreciatively,  Al Milgrom 

    • Al, thank you for sharing this info with me and my readers. This is good to know. And it’s a great idea to make the film DVD available in Montgomery.

      I’m so sorry for blizzards affecting showing of “Singin’ in the Grain.” That’s frustrating.

      I appreciate your kind words regarding my showcasing of Minnesota events and communities.

  4. Great Article and photo’s Audrey. I always love seeing the little towns that you feature in your blog. Have you ever featured Rushford?

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