Even More Prairie Architecture: 5 More Gems

Although the Great Depression was a tough time for America, one silver lining was that we got some amazing architecture out of the deal.  As we have seen in prior installments,  programs put in place during the 1930’s like the Federal Relief Administration, the Works Progress Administration, and the Civilian Conservation Corps, resulted in architecture that is not only beautiful, but has outlasted generations and will continue to. It was built with detail and design that reflected not only the architectural styles of the time, but the optimism that FDR’s New Deal brought to an economically depressed America.

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SPAM Museum, Austin, MN

DSC_1712It’s a shrine to all things SPAM. A mecca for the canned-meat enthusiasts, a Graceland-type of destination that recently got some brand new digs in 2016.  Located in Austin, MN, a farm-country town found near the Iowa border south of Rochester, right smack in the midde of its killer little downtown. Austin is home to the massive Hormel Foods Corporation, and its flagship product, SPAM. The museum tells the history of Hormel, SPAM, Dinty Moore, and the significance of the products around the world. Continue reading

Concrete Arrow, Cottage Grove, MN

It’s hard to believe, but long before the days of GPS, radio, and even radar, pilots relied on a very primitive but effective navigation method.  Scattered all across the US, a series of giant, yellow, concrete arrows were put in place in the ground in the 1920’s, visible from high in the sky, primarily to guide airmail pilots from city to city.  It was innovative at the time, a significant step up from relying solely on geological landmarks.IMG_7099 Continue reading

Umore Park, Rosemount, MN

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To most Minnesotans, “The Cities” is an all-encompassing term meaning anywhere from the heart of downtown Minneapolis to the far reaches of Elk River, Stillwater, Lakeville, or Lino Lakes.(I’ve even heard this include St. Cloud). To the purists, there’s a big difference between “The Cities” and the much-maligned “Suburbs.”  Many view the ‘burbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul as nameless, faceless bedroom communities for families, with soccer moms, chain restaurants, and strip malls.  But HighwayHighlights knows better.  The suburbs are home to some absolutely incredible and historic things, like the forgotten ruins of Umore Park in Rosemount. Continue reading