Good fences make, entertaining moments over any fence.
Thank you Wendy Mathias, for bringing us backyard fences, or the Bubonic Plague of 1900 in Sydney for our theme.
Curiously enough, I'm going for fences!
Let's travel about eight miles east from my own backyard, and in case anyone is worried about high fevers, or any other ailments, there won't be any. But, I'm not promising that there won't be any broken hearts, lost dreams, or possibly a shady deal disclosed.
Reaching Farmington, Minnesota, about 1880
based on a true story.
My first known name was, The Exchange Building. Sometime in 1880 you would have seen me sharing my urban quaintness, along with a sturdy group of my friends. We were content to innocently erupt smoke from our chimney pipes in our town composed of weather beaten buildings, even though we were being replaced one by one. We were quickly being strung together with less wooden structures than years before.
My roots reach back to, Claus Dittmann and his discovery of Augustus Gauger (a bit unknown) and his commission for my design as the new bank in downtown Farmington, Minnesota. Dittmann and Gauger were both German immigrants so it stands to reason through the common thread of language and culture why my stature is of such fine character.
Augustus Gauger, was a young architect when he began his career and I'm still very proud to say that my building is of his sound design and unlike the shoddy buildings from our day.
Gauger's knowledge of carpentry and architectural engineering was his asset and for the city of St. Paul, Minnesota as well, where he served as the city's building inspector from 1884 to 1885. Gauger was also responsible for some of the finest work on Summit Avenue, in St. Paul.
432 Summit Avenue St. Paul, Mn
295 Summit Avenue Built in 1885 at a cost of S13,000, by Albert H. Lindeke and designed by, A.F. Gauger.
It was quite common to discover that a house or place of business constructed during the city's building boom was often not structurally sound. A great number of walls collapsed or toppled on new owners or construction workers.
People described me as, a magnificent example of 19th Century Italianate architecture. Not so much today, and I'd really rather not express what they say about me now.
Did you know the wooden, contraption before me did not survive the great fire on November 22, 1879 (Flames over Farmington here) when most of downtown was destroyed?
So many of my good neighbors suffered greatly from that fire in 1879. The photo below is of
C.R. Griebie's building (burning in 1972) that was originally built in 1880 to replace the building that burned to the ground in the Great 1879 fire.
December 1, 1972 brought another wicked fire to Farmington. This is C. R. Griebie, home to hotels and lodge rooms.
HAVE WE A FIRE-BUG AMONG US? Yes, sadly it was true, the fires of 1879 and after, were arson related.
But seriously, I'm still a handsome structure even if it's just me saying so.
Sure there are parts of me that are, slightly weathered. Seriously, I am 134 years old.
Yet, my glorious, Grand Hall with maple hardwood floors and a high tin ceiling makes it painfully obvious, just how stunning I can be.
Of course, like any old crone, I've had my share of attacks throughout the years. Like the time a car ran into me.
Sometime after that, the Browns (my current owners) removed brick walls and did extensive updating to my woodwork and other restorations necessary.
But between you and me, and the evening news on occasion, the Browns, (a father and son team) aren't on most folks happy list these days.
I mean who in the world ever had the idea of selling me, this decorated mass of stunning, Italianate design to them for one dollar!
Sure it was in the hopes and legal documents, that they were to have me brought back to my original condition.
Ha! Ha! HA!
Farmington, Minnesota - 1910
This photo is part of the Lakes and Woods Postcard Collection, and can be viewed here, along with other postcards.
So here I sit, empty and all by myself, and still very curious why the city of Farmington had to sell me for one measly dollar? Especially, during (a still prosperous) late 1990's in the hopes that my historical body would be put back to life once again.
Yep, this is me yesterday, on a very grey March day in March 2014.