I don’t know why I went to Remsen. Some matchbook, probably. I started here, and hoped it would get better.



Remsen was settled by mostly German and Luxembourg immigrants. Plagued by religious persecution, unwelcome Prussian military conscription and economic limitations, the early immigrants left their native land to start a new life in the land of opportunity now called Remsen.

Remsen citizens retained their Luxembourg traditions of deep religious faith and loyal, energetic, hard working and fun loving style. At the same time they contributed to their share in the building and development of America and were quick to respond whenever Uncle Sam called on his citizens for a service, always eager to do something for the land which gave them the opportunity to raise their families as free and independent American citizens.

I think a proud local wrote that entry.

Sixteen hundred souls. No more than eleven hundred when these buildings were erected.

As far as I can tell, it’s the Fall Block.

Google Street View has a way of making the world look as though it were a shattered mirror.

Close by the Fall Building, the alley shows some type of old theater, or perhaps a meeting hall. The exterior doesn’t have any clues, but if it was an IOOF or Elks joint, I wouldn’t be surprised.


A handsome old remnant of prosperous times:


It was, of course, a bank, until it wasn't. Reasons varied.

Also a bank:

A classic mid-block classical temple.

Say, what’s this?


  There was no shortage of places to stash your crop receipts, if you believed in banks. Not everyone did.


An empty spot, perhaps lost to fire or age, given that new modern chalet-style building!


It looks very dated now.

This development was constructed by the same fellow. I’ll bet he sold cars.




Two buildings, six years apart.


  I wonder . . .
  . . . if the same fellow did the carvings.



A compact civic auditorium in the 30s stripped-down style:


Something like this over the door, and the stylized columns, meant you were a real town with modern touches.



You may think it has no clues to its age, but the windows give it away. Forties, probably.


You may pay your bills here. You may sit outside with your old friends and watch the world pass by.

They didn't spend a lot on these after a while.


Finally: quite the accomplishment.

Wikipedia again:

During Prohibition, Remsen was a major player in the brewing, transporting and sale of illegal alcohol. Its location adjacent to larger midwestern cities and the amount of farmland between homes made it a perfect area to make moonshine.

A man had to atone some place.