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Photos: Reviving Minnesota's relics

People & Places

1 Afternoon sunshine helps showcase the rich tones at the old Sandstone school, which was constructed with local sandstone in the Richardson Romanesque style with massive arches and bastions in 1901, and later rebuilt after a fire in 1909 destroyed the interior. 
2 The impressive Sandstone school structure currently sits vacant and serves as backdrop for modest residential homes. It's been closed and boarded up for many years. 
3 Floors throughout the third level of the Sandstone school are covered with old insulation batting. 
4 Peeling paint, buckled floors and exposed pipes are visible inside the Sandstone school. The 70,000-square-feet building occupies one city block. "What I hear is it costs too much to fix it and it costs too much to tear it down, so it just sits," says local resident Belinda Woyak, who works at Kitty's Corner Cafe, across the street from the school. 
5 A wall map offers a hint into the Sandstone school's former life. 
6 The Chatfield Center for the Arts fronts busy Main Street, which is also Highway 52, and sees 10,000 vehicles pass by daily. The center really comprises two buildings. A 1916 former school, is visible here, and Potter Auditorium, with a 900-seat capacity. 
7 An assortment of trees for an upcoming theater performance resides in the former gymnasium of Chatfield's 1916-era school. 
8 The stage at the 900-seat Potter Auditorium no longer doubles as a gymnasium. As part of renovations at the Chatfield Center for the Arts basketball hoops were removed and the floor was sanded and stained a color more befitting a theater stage. 
9 A large sign promotes an upcoming theater performance at the Potter Auditorium in Chatfield. The auditorium is part of the Chatfield Center for the Arts. Community-based organizations like Wit's End Theatre as well as individuals are able to rent rehearsal and performance space at the center. 
10 "Monty Python's Spamalot" cast members Randy Wilson of Chatfield and, from left to right, Joe Chase of rural Chatfield and Tom Barnes of rural Pilot Mound attended a rehearsal on June 19, 2013, at the Potter Auditorium in Chatfield. Wit's End Theatre, which is performing the musical in August, is a nonprofit, community-based organization. 
11 A handwritten note dated May 18, 2007, hangs in an alcove behind balcony seats at Potter Auditorium in Chatfield. The city is slowly turning the old school into a center for the arts, which includes the 900-seat auditorium. 
12 Most former classrooms at the Chatfield Center for the Arts resemble this one. Original wood floors and chalkboards were removed as part of asbestos abatement. Floors throughout the building's second floor are covered with plywood. 
13 A paint brush, hand towel and sketch of renovation plans for the Chatfield Center for the Arts sit on a windowsill inside the building. 
14 Minnesota's Mesabi Range, located in the northeastern portion of the state, was once home to nearly 1,000 Jewish settlers and four synagogues. The B'nai Abraham Synagogue in Virginia is the only one that remains and the only one in the state that is on the National Register of Historic Places. 
15 The B'nai Abraham Synagogue in Virginia casts a shadow on a neighboring home. 
16 Afternoon sunlight illuminates stained glass windows and benches inside B'nai Abraham Synagogue in Virginia on June 10, 2013. 
17 While no longer operational, these small light bulbs were once illuminated for special occasions as part of a memory plaque. Each person's death date is listed in English and Hebrew. 
18 Tours of the B'nai Abraham Synagogue are available during two days per week during the tourist season. Otherwise, visitors are invited to schedule times in advance or visit during special events. Jeff Neumann and his family live across the street from the synagogue. "I've never attended anything, but it seems to have constant traffic," said Neumann, who has lived in the neighborhood for five or so years. 
19 Restoration of the B'nai Abraham Synagogue is not complete and future plans call for improvements to the balcony area as well as landscaping, construction of a kitchen and endowment for future maintenance. 
20 An engraved paver offers a nod to the Hotel Kaddatz's location on Lincoln Avenue and its place in history in downtown Fergus Falls. This view is available to anyone exiting the Kaddatz Galleries who looks down at the sidewalk. 
21 This second-floor apartment in the old Hotel Kaddatz showcases a contrast of newer amenities, like the kitchen space, and older elements, like the wood floors and millwork. The 10 apartments on the second and third floors of the buildings are intended for working artists and were created as part of a $2.4 million renovation project by Artspace, which owns the historic building. 
22 The Hotel Kaddatz opened its doors in 1915 and closed them 60 years later. Today, the building serves as home to an art gallery and 10 apartments. This stairway is accessible to tenants as well as an elevator. 
23 An installation sculpture by Fergus Falls artist Naomi Schliesman titled "Confession I" is on display at a LRAC/McKnight Gallery in downtown Fergus Falls. 
24 Efforts to save the former Kasson school, constructed in 1918, are visible in downtown Kasson on June 19, 2013. The building is owned by the city of Kasson, which intends to demolish it. However, a small but vocal opposition has on at least three occasions halted the city's efforts. 
25 A pair of hands traced and cut from white paper are visible in a classroom inside the 1918 Kasson school on June 19, 2013. The building is on the brink of being torn down by the city of Kasson. However, a recent lawsuit filed by two residents seeks to save the building from demolition. 
26 The site of the old Kasson school is located not far from the community's downtown district as well as modest single family homes. Its a visible location and one that is frequently passed by bikers and walkers. 
27 Count Kasson resident Lorraine Spading as one of the historic Kasson school's biggest advocates. Spading serves on the board of a preservation group called the Kasson Alliance for Restoration. The preservation group is providing support to two residents who have sued the city of Kasson to stop demolition plans. 
28 A pair of books sit on a shelf inside the old Kasson school on June 19, 2013. The historic building has been vacant since 2006, when the city got it from the local school district. 
29 A lone basketball hoop stands outside the old school in Morris on June 15, 2013. The building, which has sat empty for a decade, is being torn down. 
30 A pigeon is visible on the roof of a former gymnasium at the old school in Morris on June 15, 2013. Neighbors report that the school, which has stood empty for a decade, is home to bats and a variety of birds. 
31 The old school in Morris, which once served as the city's elementary and high school, has stood empty for a decade. Vandalism in all its many forms has impacted the building inside and out. This simple drawing was visible on the public sidewalk on June 15, 2013. 
32 The old Central School, left, in Pipestone is surrounded by residential property on three sides and the Pipestone County Courthouse on the fourth side. The structure is owned by a retired teacher and would-be developer named Dick Haase, who purchased the property from the local school district for $1 in early 2004. The building sits vacant and is popular with area vandals. 
33 Eight-year-old Alyssa Winter chases down a ball during a late afternoon game of kick ball with her brother, friend and grandpa on June 18, 2013. Her grandpa Jim Whipple has lived across the street from the old Central School in Pipestone since 1972. Whipple and his grandchildren have spent hours playing games in the vacant parking lot. The large garage-style door pictured here makes for a perfect back stop. "We're going to miss it," said Whipple, who figures the building will eventually be demolished. 
34 Peeling paint thanks to moisture inside the old Central School in Pipestone is common throughout the massive structure, which has sat vacant for a decade. This is particularly the case in lower levels. 
35 Water damage is visible in this former classroom at the old Central School in Pipestone. Most classrooms contain desks, chairs, books and other reminders of the building's former life. 
36 Bits of plaster and other debris rest on old books damaged by moisture in a former classroom at the old Central School in Pipestone. The building is owned by a retired teacher and aspiring developer named Dick Haase, who purchased the property from the local school district for $1 in early 2004. 
37 With the old Central School in the background, Baby takes a stroll near her home in Pipestone on June 18, 2013. "I wish they'd find some use for it," said Caroline Bot, who is Baby's owner and also owns a home near the school. "It would be neat if they would do something." 
38 The former "Home of the Arrows" was constructed in 1917 as the Pipestone School and served children in grades kindergarten to 12. Later, the school district consolidated with neighboring Jasper to create Pipestone-Jasper Schools, which is partially visible on this sign. 
39 A chalkboard sign welcomes visitors to the second floor of the K.K. Berge building in Granite Falls. The second floor houses satellite offices for Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) as well as ample space for art classes. 
40 The historic K.K. Berge building in downtown Granite Falls is framed by the storefront windows of Carl's Bakery. 
41 Jastin Jensen, right, looks up from her art project during InVision, a four-week enrichment program based in Renville. Also pictured is Carma Koschney also of Renville. Youth participating in the program were able to use second floor spaces in the K.K. Berge building in Granite Falls for specific art lessons taught by Tamara Isfeld. 
42 When the Buckman Hotel in downtown Little Falls opened its doors in February 1893 the building featured electric lights throughout. The hotel catered to traveling salesmen and was considered the town's first-class option. 
43 This colorful carpet covers floors in nearly all common spaces and hallways at The Buckman in Little Falls. Here, resident Bertha Monson's shoes provide a contract in pattern. Monson moved to the building from a farm three years ago. 
44 Residents of The Buckman are asked to place a small "OK" sign on their door by 9 p.m. and remove it by 10 a.m. the following morning as a safety precaution. The building is home to 24 apartments for individuals ages 62 and older or those physically challenged regardless of age. 
45 The old Randall creamery sat vacant for more than a decade before being purchased and renovated in recent years. "I remember when this was a working dairy," said Marcia Schwanke, who was born and raised in Randall and now lives in Park Rapids. "I'm so glad they didn't destroy the building." 
46 Josie Brichacek, 13, of Browerville looks through fabric squares on June 4, 2013, at The Old Creamery Quilt Shop in Randall. 
47 Lois Brenner of rural Randall breathes through a yoga pose during a class on June 4, 2013. Yoga classes are held Tuesday and Thursday mornings in a second floor studio space at The Old Creamery Quilt Shop in Randall. 
48 Morning light filters into the Glencoe Historic Room, located on the main floor of the Glencoe City Center. The room currently contains a small selection of historic objects and items of local interests. A jar near the room's entrance invites visitors to, "Donate to help us finish the room." 
49 Special guests at a recent tea party for children relax in an activity room at the Glencoe Public Library. The library, which moved to its current location in 2010, is located on the second floor of the Glencoe City Center.