A trip down Broadway in the horse and buggy era

By : 
Mary Jo Dathe
Glimpses of Yesteryear

Anyone remember how WIDE the streets used to be?  Good grief, buggies could take up lots of space and still give passage to teams of horses. The photo that accompanies this column shows upper Broadway Avenue on the west side. Do you recognize it?  At the extreme left side is the Molstad Store (now Dave's Plumbing & Heating) and you can see parts of the light pole and decipher the Molstad Store sign:  Which read M.E. Molstad, Gents' Furnishing Go(ods), Trunks, Vali(ces) and Feathe(rs).  Then up the street, Dan Sullivan's Harness Shop with three windows of curved tops (he often had his five children peering out those windows).  Apparently E.G.H. Adams had his "job printing" shop next door.  Next are two regular windows.

Next are nifty protruding windows — something that is gone in later years because the next set of windows probably is Julius Viall's shoe store.  The next building, built 1893, is the Leuthold store. Why is the upper story vacant and with birds flying in and out the windows?  A mystery to me.  Another “sharp” building; then a lower building next to Allard's opera house.  I lived in the apartments that opened out onto a “roof” where we could sunbathe back in the 1950s.  Interesting story:  Back in the 1899s, the opera house was three stories high, and when the tornado came through in 1894, it was considered a hazardous place. The state fire marshal heard about this, and they declared it to be a definite hazard, and ordered it to be reduced in height!   And so it was lowered to two stories.  Apparently the advertising just gives us two letters — N G — and so we wonder what that was? 

Another view of the Molstad Store:  It was built by C.W. Taylor, an early entrepreneur, and whose advertising is evident with "Clothing, Carpets, Trunks and Feathers."  He also has Ole Avelsgard, Merchant Tailor, in the upstairs rooms, available to alter any clothing the customer may have bought in his store. 

Across the street on the corner was the First State Bank (which failed in the 1920s) with its proud eagle mounted on the water fountain.  We were delighted to step up on the “step” to indulge in the crystal clear water from the nearby spring, and of course that ran down in back of the bank to the hitching yard, which most folks used for their horses.  Who remembers this?  Later, Home Federal Savings & Loan; later, Essig Agency. 

 

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