This is an interregnum week, no? We’re between two holidays, and no one seems inclined to do much. Unless they have, like, a serious job that requires opening up people or servers or putting out fires. I’m sure everyone come Jan 2 will complain about everything that piled up, but people have been complaining about the pell-mell pace of modern life and the toils of the office for a hundred years - if the cartoons and ads are to be believed, and I think they are.

In a hundred years everyone will have smart digital assistance and voice-activated everything and all the drudgery of the modern office will be gone. I expect the amount of work will expand to fill the gap., and we will not be sitting around in a Zager & Evans verse in which people get nutrition from a tube and sit in chairs watching TV.

We thought that song was so deep. And frightening! In the year NINETY FIVE NINETY FIVE! Gaah! We will be shapeless lumps in shining white vestments and God had better be coming soon! Or. we will be mutants in a Monkeyverse who worship an ancient atomic missile!

Anyway. I’ve nothing today, except to note a few things.

It is snowing, and it’s lovely. Wife called from AZ to ask if it was true we were getting 17 inches, and I said who told you that? Well, her dad, he’d heard about it. Maybe in Duluth. What was the forecast for Duluth?

“If only there was a small glass-faced pocket device that could tell you such things,” I jibed, and she laughed. I have a separate weather app just for Daughter’s location. But that is our division of labor around here, I guess.

Speaking of Daughter, she texted some lyrics from a song she listened to 6, 7 years ago, and I didn’t recognize them; I wondered if she was having an episode, shall we say. It’s one AM there and she’s telling me ay ay ay I have toothpaste in my eye

We bantered back and forth about old songs. I recounted a nap dream, sent her a picture of snow and of Birch, and she sent a map location so I can see exactly where she is. Consider: in the olden days, your kid went to Europe and you got a letter every other week, maybe. Now I get a coordinate that lets me call up the exact street and walk back and forth.

I am confused about this part of town; perhaps it was laid out by someone who wanted to attract vacationers with combovers.

Let us lay out the streets and the sewer lines and power and pass out beautiful brochures! People will stream to our wonderful place and build homes and bask in the brilliant sun!


There's a lot of that around. It's like looking at the excavation of Pompeii.

Finally, isn't this a bit . . . odd?

  Oughtn't that be on the QT, hush-hush and very confidential?




Population: over 11,000 souls. Known for its quality glass. Peak population was 16K in 1930, which means this might be one of those towns whose downtown is a bit bigger than the current population might need.

We’ll start with a noble structure: a great piece of early American Classical Revival, from 1881.


The courthouse is surrounded by various memorials to soldiers from the county in the American Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and Operation Desert Storm. The most prominent is the Civil War Monument.

They look more like graves.


Oh no

It's like the Thing, but albino, grimacing as his jaw turns to rock.

Oh no


It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this type of awning. It’s a nightmare. Yes, you know this is a bar, and yay for still being in business, but that poor building.

Three different colors of bricks.

Lights and all, unchanged for over half a century.

“One of these days, I’m going to join the Masons, and use my business contacts to make lots of money, and then I’m going to build a hall right next to old man Johnson’s house and there’ll be nothin’ he can do about it.”


Originally the State Theater. Old pictures of its glorious existence, including some small-town parade photos, here.

It’s a nice brick job for the windows. But it’s still a brick job. The building looks dead.

Where does the original end and the respectful, historic addition begin?

Chunky late 20th century modernism without the crisp details of the 60s, or excesses of the 70s and 80s. Not memorable, but not particularly damaging, and for a while it made people think “hey! They built something new downtown!”


OUMB: smoked glass, concrete pillars, blank brick walls . . .


. . . well, at least it made people think “hey! They built something new downtown!”


We’ll end with this oddly anthropomorphic building:


That droopy verdigris moustache, the ill-advised brick that’s obviously new - did they pick out old bricks to put in the white ones, or do the entire facade?

Sorry for the underwhelming addition - trust me, the 2019 ones in the queue are spectacular.

The end of the 2018 motel run - link here if the one below is fubar'd. I didn't get through the whole run, so they'll be held over for the 2019 updates. See you around.




blog comments powered by Disqus