Southwestern MN

Charles Bennett and Daniel Sweet founded Pipestone, MN in 1876.  By 1890, Pipestone had train service on four different rail lines and had become a travel and business center hub for southwestern Minnesota.  A lot of the buildings within the city are constructed with local Sioux quartzite. The county courthouse, built in 1899, is made from this stone and is considered the most stylized of the quartzite buildings located in the city. It is rectangular in shape with a 110-ft clock tower topped with a dome and a statue of Lady Justice.

Pipestone county courthouseHistoric American Buildings Survey, HABS MINN,59-PISTO,1-E-1

Another building constructed with the Sioux quartzite stone is Moore Block which was built in 1896.  This 25 foot by 85 foot building was built by Leon H. Moore, a local businessman who owned and operated a Sioux quartzite quarry. One of the more distinctive features of this building are the gargoyles that embellish the north and west facades.
Pipestone MN-5931Within the grounds of the Hiawatha Pageant, the”Song of the Hiawatha” was performed for the last time in 2008 due to the lack of volunteers, funding, and attendance. For 60 years, busloads of tourists were brought to this small town in Southwest MN.

Hiawatha Pageant grounds-5737

After exploring Pipestone, we decided to make our way to Blue mounds State Park. It was a gorgeous, although hot day when we decided to venture out on the hiking trails.  Usually, before visiting a park, we do our research and know the terrain so we are prepared for what comes our way.  This day, we were not prepared and unknown to us, we were about to embark on a 13 mile hike.  Not a problem, but when you are not dressed or prepared for the occasion, it can become difficult.  I remember falling many times due to the slippery shoes I had on my feet, at one point in time- right in a small stream.  Saving my camera came first so my body took the brunt of the fall.  I appreciate Dan not laughing at the time as I’m not sure I could have contained my laughter.  We eventually came up to the visitor’s center where I washed up and we both grabbed some water to quench our thirst. I would like to revisit that state park and come prepared.  Blue Mound State Park has a lot to offer such as one of the last remnants of preserved native prairie, the Sioux quartzite cliffs, wildflowers and cactus, Buffalo, and bird watching.

Blue Mound Pano-5997

Traveling in the Southwestern portion of the state gave way to many interesting finds, as our travels always do.  According to Wikipedia, “this region is a transition zone between the prairies and the Great Plains”.  From hiking trails found in Blue Mounds State Park and appreciating the landscape, to exploring southwestern cities such as Luverne, Marshall, and Pipestone to absorb the history and architecture, we stumbled upon many surprises along the way that of course we had to capture.

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London, Milan?? No… Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Minneapolis Warehouse District received its name from the city’s shipping hub years.  The streets are oriented to be parallel to the river, which means they run at a 45-degree angle.  For most of its history, this was an industrial area containing numerous warehouses and factories.

Minneapolis Warehouse District Map

The warehouses that characterize the district are mostly six to eight stories high, and about 62 structures on seven square blocks contribute to the district. These warehouses were used for wholesale and storage of goods related to milling and manufacturing.

 In the 1980s, the Warehouse District was the epicenter of the Minneapolis art scene until the area’s buildings became more commercially desirable in the 1990s. At its peak, the Wyman Building, 400 First Avenue North, was home to more than twenty contemporary art galleries. For more information on the businesses in this area, please visit this site mplswarehouse.com.

Dan and I only walked a few blocks in the Warehouse District of Minneapolis and were quite intrigued by all the colors, textures, and the history in these few blocks.  There is a plethora of images to capture from architecture to street life… If ever in the area, I would highly recommend grabbing your camera and feel the attraction and the beauty that lies in this area.  I hope to be visiting this area again this year.

A Hometown Affair

A group of photographers from the Red Wing Photography Club met up on this beautiful sunshiny day back in June of last year in Red Wing, MN with the sole intention of photographing the city and all of it’s beauty.   Venturing out with a group of photographers can be interesting and an outing that you can learn from.   How does your shooting buddy see the world behind that trusty camera– Different no doubt.  The goal of it all is to gain different perspectives on how other photographers not only view the world and how they wish to portray its beauty, but it is also wonderful to see how they work and how you can learn from them.  On this particular day, we met at the local Farmers Market where you can find vendors selling fresh canned fruit, fresh vegetables right from the garden, fresh baked bread (yummy), flower arrangements, plus much, much, more. We spent a couple of hours touring the city that we have all seen a thousand times.  You know- Those roads that we all travel on as we make our way to work or play, it is those streets that we take for granted at times.  I would have to say that I love living in the Mississippi Valley and Southeastern MN Bluff country.  Coming down into the quaint town of Red Wing from the North on Hwy 61 is always an amazing site for me and never gets old.

We had a fun and productive day walking the alleys and photographing the local businesses – trying to view the streets of Red Wing, MN  in a different way and taking off those “took for granted” sunglasses.

Sit back and enjoy the views you might have overlooked in Red Wing, MN.