Relics photo essay: the K.K. Berge on the river in Granite Falls

Flags in honor of Flag Day flank the K.K. Berge building in Granite Falls. The building, which sits near the banks of the Minnesota River, was slated to be torn down before a group of local residents lobbied city leaders to rehabilitate it. (Ann Arbor Miller for MPR)

This former mercantile building on the edge of the Minnesota River was slated to be torn down before a group of locals convinced the city of Granite Falls to spend the demolition money on rehabbing it instead. The renovation was extensive and included raising the main floor to avoid occasional flooding.

How small communities around the state remake old buildings is the focus of our Ground Level project, Reviving Minnesota Relics.

Now, the K. K. Berge houses an art gallery, the Granite Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and the satellite office of Clean Up the River Environment (CURE). It has become a community hub, helping to promote both arts and the river. Last year, it was a starting point for the area’s Meander art crawl.

“Every time we have an event in here, I think it’s so much better than a hole in the ground,” said Nicole Zempel, the chamber’s executive director, who helped spearhead the preservation effort.

Location: 807 Prentice St.

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