Dreary Autumn Day- Part Duex

Hopeful for a clearing in the weather, Cyn and I set out to scout the West Bank of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.  Sunday was no better than Saturday weather-wise.  To make things more fun, the Twin Cities Marathon was right in our tracks, but only part of the way.  We started on the East side of the river in St. Paul and eventually were able to make our way to the Mill Ruins area; home of the stone arch bridge and the Premium Grain Belt bottle cap sign.  At this point the annoying sprinkle had turned into a pretty steady rain.  We spend the rest of the day scouting in the car and sneaking shots in between rain showers.  The Fall color was plentiful all up and down the river.

I can’t wait to get back to some of these locations for a night shoot in a couple of weeks.


Southwest MN – #5 Morton, MN Monuments

Birch Coulee was the site of the Battle of Birch Coulee, one of the deadliest battles of the Dakota War of 1862.  It is now preserved at Birch Coulee State Memorial Park one mile north of Morton, Minnesota and has self-guided trails and markers about the battle from both sides.  It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

The Friendly Indian Monument recognizes the six Dakota Indians who befriended and protected government employees, immigrant settlers, missionaries, or aided soldiers during the United States – Dakota Conflict of 1862, most often at the risk of their own lives.  Even though only 6 names are listed on the monument, many more aided those of white descent who are not listed there.

Southwest MN series [#1 The To and From] [#2 Gibbon, MN] [#3 Pipestone National Monument] [#4 Blue Mound State Park] [#5 Morton, MN Monuments]

On a hill overlooking the beautiful Minnesota River Valley and the city of Morton, stand two 52-foot tall granite monuments. These monuments are known as the Birch Coulee and Friendly Indian Monuments. The Birch Coulee Monument was erected in 1894 for the soldiers who fought at the Battle of Birch Coulee on September 2, 1862. The Loyal Indian Monument was erected in 1899 to honor 6 Dakota who saved lives of whites during the U.S.-Dakota Conflict of 1862.

Southwest MN – #3 Pipestone National Monument

We had wonderful weather for our exploration of Pipestone National Monument in Pipestone, MN.  It is amazing to see these quarries and see the amount of Sioux Quartzite rock that was removed by hand with only hand tools to expose the pipestone.  We were not fortunate enough to witness the actual mining of the pipestone, but did speak with the artisans inside that were carving pipestone and working with sumac to form the pipe stems.

I won’t ramble on with the complete history of this very interesting place.  Just let you imagination wonder while viewing the photos of what it must have been like in a different time.  If you want to know more, visit Pipestone, MN and see it first-hand.  The National Park Services has a wonderful website about all things in Pipestone, MN.

Southwest MN series [#1 The To and From] [#2 Gibbon, MN] [#3 Pipestone National Monument] [#4 Blue Mound State Park] [#5 Morton, MN Monuments]

Catlinite (also called pipestone or pipeclay) is a type of argillite, usually brownish-red in color, which occurs in a matrix of Sioux quartzite. Because it is fine-grained and easily worked, it is prized by Native Americans for use in making sacred pipes such as calumets (Fr: “hollow reed”) and chanunpas. Pipestone quarries are located and preserved in Pipestone National Monument outside of Pipestone, Minnesota, in Pipestone County, Minnesota, and at the Pipestone River in Ontario, Canada. ~Wikipedia

Southwest MN – #2 Gibbon, MN

Gibbon is situated along the Western edge of the Sibley County boarder.  This small town of just under 800 has character much like others in the region.  Most notable is its village hall that was built in 1895 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

WCpaintTINCyndie and I spent some time wandering about in Diana and Lyle Bad Dog Antiques and Other Attractions (1059 1st Avenue Gibbon, Minnesota 55335).  This place definitely had some character.  The proprietor was very proud of his wife’s enormous collection of watercolor paint tins.  It was quite large.  I never knew people collected such things.  I guess you can collect just about anything.

The state bank sign also caught our eyes; not only for it’s eye-catching sea foam green color, but also it’s simple and clean design.

Southwest MN series [#1 The To and From] [#2 Gibbon, MN] [#3 Pipestone National Monument] [#4 Blue Mound State Park] [#5 Morton, MN Monuments]

100 Miles of something

http://www.mississippi-river.org has a great website with information on where to stay, eat, shop, and things to do – all around Lake Pepin.  There are several 100 Miles of… links: vistas, boating, birding, fishing, history and even garage sales.

The big big big 100 miles of garage sales was May 2-4 this year.  Cyn & I didn’t get out for a drive until Sunday and by that time most sales where over and done.  We found some stragglers still open though.  I was more interested in the drive, but the potential for an awesome find is always around every corner.  The super-find of the trip was an old produce crate in the dumpster outside of Reads Landing Brewing Company.  I spied the little treasure as we sat on the patio sipping our fire-hot bloody marrys.

Prior to landing for refreshments we spent a significant amount of time roaming around the little river town of Stockholm, WI.  There are several unique shops to wander through.  Among them is a fantastic bakery – Bogus Creek Cafe & Bakery.  The cranberry walnut bread is out of this world.  You may have noticed in past posts…if there is a bakery in the vicinity  I’ll be sampling the local fare.

Stockholm is great small town to spend a few hours just walking around.  There is no shortage of interesting art.  Be sure to check out Adobe Stockholm.  Juno & Me has some of the best candies I’ve had is awhile and their pet product are worth browsing.  For more information on additional shops, see Stockholm’s official website.

Here are a few other shot I took around town before we got on our way to the next town.

There is so much to see and do around Lake Pepin.  Hwy 35 on the Wisconsin side boasts some spectacular views as does Hwy 61 on the Minnesota side.  You are never board around here – take a drive around the lake!


Abandoned Hunting – The Abandoned

Cyn and I had some time last weekend to do some abandoned hunting.  We drove through West Central MN (212), NE South Dakota and SE North Dakota.  We were amazed at the number of abandoned farms and homes still standing.  The first two images are two of many that “got away.”  The snow was somewhat of a hindrance.  Minimum Maintenance roads are nothing to mess around with this time of year.  The roads to several properties where minimum maintenance or simply were just not plowed.  GPS coordinates will come in handy for a return trip 🙂

The next few images are of an almost abandoned town in SD called Hammer.  There was one home there still occupied – not quite a complete ghost town yet.  Further along you will see that we did find a couple of abandoned homes that we could get to and explore (Montevideo and Big Stone City).  We both would have liked to get inside the 1911 brick schoolhouse in Louisburg, MN, but that just wasn’t possible.

It was a great few days to get away and capture rural decay and commit historic visions to pixels.  The post to follow will include all of the photos of all points in between the abandoned places.