Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Oh, the lovely historic buildings of Weaver, Minnesota February 19, 2016

Another view of Carl and Marie Noble's studio and galleries.

The former Weaver Mercantile anchors Weaver.

MY KNOWLEDGE OF WEAVER is limited mostly to visual impressions. Digital images taken during a brief stop last September document an unincorporated Mississippi River settlement rich in history. That history reveals itself in aged buildings, like Weaver Mercantile.

Weaver United Methodist Church with the historic former schoolhouse next door.

Weaver United Methodist Church with an historic former schoolhouse next door.

A block or so away, Weaver United Methodist Church still welcomes the faithful into the congregation’s original house of worship. Except on Sundays when the temperature plummets to 10 degrees below zero or colder. The church building maintains its historic charm with modern touches, according to the church website. Indoor plumbing was only just installed in 2008.

The old schoolhouse is painted a lovely buttery yellow.

The old schoolhouse is painted a lovely buttery yellow.

Next to the church rests a lovely 1910 one-room schoolhouse, restored in 2008 by a couple for use as a get-away cottage and a weaving studio.

An unidentified building near the schoolhouse.

An unidentified building near the schoolhouse.

And then there’s an aged boxy building topped by a cupola. Perhaps a former creamery?

Even the schoolhouse bell tower was restored.

Even the schoolhouse bell tower was restored.

Places like Weaver—home to about 50 residents along U.S. Highway 61 north of Winona—intrigue me. I am always pleased to discover such settlements where remnants of history remain in aged buildings. I long to step inside these buildings, to open front doors like I am opening a book of stories.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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Irish for an hour in historic Wabasha March 17, 2014

Holy water on the bar of The Olde Triangle Pub in downtown Wabasha, Minnesota.

Holy water on the bar of The Olde Triangle Pub in downtown Wabasha, Minnesota.

I POSSESS NOT AN OUNCE of Irish blood and I am not Catholic.

T-shirts on the pub ceiling.

T-shirts on the pub ceiling.

But green is my favorite color.

The Irish national flag flies outside the pub.

The Irish national flag flies outside the pub.

My Uncle Robin hails from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He married into a family of Germans.

The Olde Triangle's hearty Irish stew.

The Olde Triangle’s hearty Irish stew.

I like potatoes. And Irish stew.

The pub's fish and chips.

The pub’s fish and chips.

My husband likes fish and chips. And beer. Me, too, but not whiskey.

I have no idea what "the year of Kathleens" means. Anyone care to enlighten me?

I have no idea what “the year of Kathleens” means. Anyone care to enlighten me?

My name, Audrey, of course, is not Irish. But I know a lot of Kathys and a few Kathleens.

Performing at The Olde Triangle Pub Sunday afternoon.

Performing at The Olde Triangle Pub Sunday afternoon.

I can’t dance an Irish jig nor name an Irish tune. However, I enjoy music in an Irish pub.

The pub's Triquetra, Celtic (Trinity) knot, symbolizes the three parts of a good life: friendship, food and drink.

The pub’s Triquetra, Celtic (Trinity) knot, symbolizes three parts of a good life: friendship, food and drink.

And I’ll return to The Olde Triangle Pub. Sunday marked my second time dining here on a visit to Wabasha. I love this cozy, and I do mean cozy, spot in the heart of this historic Mississippi River town.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone, Irish or not!

Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Leaving my mark in a Hastings antique shop October 31, 2012

I’VE NEVER INKED my name onto a desktop, never etched my name into a picnic table nor my initials into the bark of a tree.

But I left my mark recently in a Hastings antique shop, because, well, I could.

I stood before the vintage Smith-Corona Floating Shift typewriter in The Emporium and pounded out this message: Minnesota Prairie Roots was here. Clack, clack, clack, clack… Twenty-nine times.

The message I left at The Emporium.

And I didn’t even make a typo, but felt a surge of Lutheran guilt at my self-centered promotion of my blog.

“Who would read this?” I wondered. “A customer? Management?”

Then, in an automatic reflex, I pulled my Canon EOS 20D camera to my eye and photographed the evidence. I would not make a good graffiti vandal.

However, from an artistic perspective, I fell in love with the photo—the simplicity of the image with its strong lines, its fuzzy quality (who says sharp focus is always best in photos?), its artsy quality and the red bands of ribbon and of words.

The gracious Emporium staff allowed me to photograph them.

So as to redeem myself for my self-indulgent infraction, I photographed the staff at the counter—they had no idea what I had typed onto that sheet of paper.

And just to make sure I’ve totally redeemed myself, I’m showing you several pieces of merchandise which particularly caught my eye on the second floor of this spacious, lovely and historic building.

Just loved this Fire King piece and this fruit. Should have bought it.

Artsy and lovely and beautiful.

I have no idea of the identity of this flaming orange-haired woman. I could think only of Cruella de Vil dressed for Halloween.

FYI: Click here to learn more about The Emporium, 213 East Second Street, Hastings, Minnesota.

The lovely architecture of The Emporium.

CLICK HERE TO READ a previous post from the Mississippi River town of Hastings, Minnesota, which brims with antique shops in its historic downtown.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling