WHEN I PHOTOGRAPHED an under construction patio while visiting Marshall in mid-September, I wondered exactly what was up with this space. And then I forgot about it…until now.
It was a warm and sunny day when I happened upon the patio project in the heart of Marshall’s downtown business district. This ag-based community and college town sits on the southwestern Minnesota prairie, some 20 miles west of my hometown. I was back in the area to view two of my poems on display in the “Making Lyon County Home” exhibit at the Lyon County Historical Society Museum. After touring the museum, Randy and I did a short walk-about in a downtown that looks nothing like the downtown I remember from my last visit 40 years earlier.
During that brief tour, we came across the developing outdoor area. I was impressed by what I saw—by the well-laid pavers, the strong arched entry, the cluster of patio tables and chairs, and the then-unfilled planter bed. I envisioned plants and flowers adding a calming natural balance to hard surfaces.
My eyes saw all of this. But, still, I didn’t know the backstory until now. This is Terrace 1872, a public gathering space next to City Hall. It came to be after the former Marshall Hotel was demolished, leaving a narrow, empty lot. Local visionaries saw this as an opportunity to create a community gathering spot. And so it will be. And the name, well, Terrace is self-explanatory. But 1872 represents the year Marshall became a city.
I love this concept of an outdoor area downtown where visitors, shoppers and downtown employees can meet, relax, just be. I also envision Terrace 1872 as a site for pop-up events—mini art shows, concerts, poetry readings… The possibilities seem endless for this pocket park.
Plans are to add a sculpture or art piece to the terrace, enhancing a downtown already graced by murals. Online plans also show movable fire pits and patio lights strung between posts. I appreciate the vision of an inviting and welcoming space to gather.
I’d love to see my community of Faribault adopt Marshall’s Terrace 1872 idea and create a similar mini gathering spot in the heart of our downtown. We have many vacant lots left after buildings were demolished. Previously demolished buildings were replaced by parking lots. Faribault now needs some greenery and additional outdoor public art infused into downtown, creating a peaceful place for people to gather, connect, relax, grow a sense of community while outdoors. I hope the visionaries here follow Marshall’s lead…
TELL ME: Do you have a Terrace 1872 in your community or have you seen one in another community? I’d love to hear details.