One of the southwest Minnesota towns. The south of the state has a culture of its own, and it's a good place.

Thirteen thousand souls. Let's take a tour.

A nice contrast between the aesthetic values of the past and the benighted present, alas.

You suspect its backdrop was once more noble.

The stone and the wood, you should know by now, hail from different eras.

Angled wood is the worst.

I repeat: the wood is the worst.

Looks as if they turned an auto dealership into a stable.

It was always unadorned.

B. C. Ford wasn’t going to spend any money he didn’t have to spend.

Automobile results clog any google search.

Tantalizing, and inscrutable:

Probably not Studebacker.


Well, it least it has columns. But it's a big beige bore, right on Main.

"Do we need a fountain out front to soften the impression?"

"Nah, just fill it with gravel."

A musical corner: PIANOS and ORGANS on the sign above.

I don’t know who the musician is. I checked the list of "notable people" and there's no one known for his work on a flugelhorn.

Murals in small town downtowns often suggest a current lack of something, not an abundance.

Sounds like a vaudeville name in a blackface revue.


Now there’s a Masonic Temple. A lot for a small town, and a sturdy design.

From the Egyptian phase of Masonic architecture. Going back to their roots, you could say. It's all disrecpected by the rehab that altered the windows, but it could be worse.

Poor thing.

Well, it was a hotel sign, we know that, so then building once served as the bustling hostel. But the city never grew big enough to require one of those classic 20s hotels, I gather.

From the local paper:

When it was first built, the Marshall Hotel was called the Hotel Brantman, after original owner P.J. Brantman. Brantman was the proprietor of Pete’s Cafe and Bakery in Marshall, and according to a 1926 story in the News Messenger of Lyon County, Brantman also opened restaurants in Canby, Minneota and Tracy.

The Hotel Brantman had 60 rooms, plus a dining room and cafe on the ground floor. More than 250 reservations were made to attend the hotel’s grand opening banquet on Sept. 22, 1926. Reports from the News Messenger described the hotel’s “rich and luxurious” furnishings, and amenities like a taxi service and hot and cold softened water.

The hotel changed its name to the Hotel Marshall in 1932.

Yeah, I could’ve guessed that:


Bizarre rehab: you usually don’t see this much faux-historicism in the post-war era.

You expect the shutters to fly open and "small world after all" robots to emerge, yelling a song.

“At noon the brothers liked to open the windows, stick out their rears and moon the town. They were eccentric in that way."


Again, I will stake my rep on it: two buildings.

The name on the one on the right: BANK OF MARSHALL

It’s like they stuck an outhouse out the old window:

Taht poor thing on the left. I don't think the tin windows and Home Depot door were part of the rehab; the angle and the stone suggests a nice big window. Probably altered for office conversion.

Fine old bank, if a bit cheap.

Brick wasn’t usually used during the Faux Roman style, at least not for banks. Educational buildings, yes. Banks, stone or glass.

Fantastic old commercial block, veteran of the entire previous century:


Built in three phases, I’d say. The one on the corner first, then the next in, and finally the rest - the brick is a slightly different hue.

I imagine lots of crusty old farmers in their city suits and hats doing business here.


No, the top doesn’t match the bottom at all, but a downtown needs an occasional shot of the New like this.


Nothing else downtown was built in this style, it seems, and thus perhaps nothing else in that era was built, at all.

Finally: a reminder of what much of downtown must have looked like.


A brighter place.