Ware Auditorium/Grand Theater

Ware Auditorium/Grand Theater Joy Riggs The Ware Auditorium on the corner of Washington and Fourth Streets has been a hub of the Northfield entertainment scene for more than a century. Now known as the Grand Event Center, it was built in 1899 by A.K. Ware....

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Turning the Eagle

Turning the Eagle Melanie M. Jones What do St. Olaf College, Carleton College, and a downtown Northfield Civil War monument adorned with an iron eagle all have in common? Jim Walsh, a blogger for the St. Olaf College Ole Touchdown Club, explained in a blog...

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The Northfield Library

The Northfield Library Joy Riggs The history of a library in Northfield goes back to the winter of 1856, a year after the city’s founding, when a group of pioneer women organized a modest reading room in the schoolhouse at Third and Union Streets. The...

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The Lyceum

The Lyceum Hayes Scriven Education was an important part of the vision John Wesley North had for the city he founded in 1855. In fact, the Lyceum—the oldest building in town—originally served as a reading room, circulation library, and debating society. It...

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The Ames Mill

The Ames Mill Hayes Scriven Town founder John North sold his flour and saw mills to Charles Wheaton, and in 1865, Wheaton sold the flour mill at the edge of Bridge Square to Captain Jesse Ames, a newcomer to Northfield. Ames was a ship captain from Maine...

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Bjoraker Building

Bjoraker Building Hayes Scriven The limestone Bjoraker Building was built before 1870. It most likely replaced another first-generation wooden commercial building built before the Civil War. Unfortunately, not much is known about the building’s early...

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State Bank

State Bank Joy Riggs The State Bank building at the west end of the Fourth Street bridge is one of Northfield’s most distinctive buildings. Harry Wild Jones, the Minneapolis architect who designed it, said at its opening in 1910 that “another building just...

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Scriver Building

Scriver Building Joy Riggs Since its construction in 1868, the Scriver Building on Bridge Square has housed numerous businesses and has attracted countless visitors—including members of a nefarious gang. The two-story limestone structure was built by...

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Scofield Building

Scofield Building Hayes Scriven The first building located on the southeast corner of Division and Fifth Streets, a site now occupied by J. Grundy’s Rueb 'N' Stein, was the Jenkins House and Tavern. Herman Jenkins built the hotel in 1856 out of wood. It...

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Old City Hall and Fire House

Old City Hall and Fire House Joy Riggs The old City Hall and Fire House building was erected at 302 Division Street in 1876, the year of the attempted bank raid by the James-Younger gang. The building’s construction was part of an effort to transform the...

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Northfield YMCA

Northfield YMCA Joy Riggs The Northfield Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) building has served as a community gathering spot since its construction more than a century ago. The YMCA building at 304 Division Street opened to the public on December...

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Northfield Post Office

Northfield Post Office Joy Riggs The Northfield Post Office is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has anchored the southwest corner of Bridge Square for nearly eighty years. Its construction by the federal government generated...

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The Northfield Depot

The Northfield Depot Jeff M. Sauve Taft Greeted by Elephant, 1908 One of the more interesting events to take place at the Northfield Depot was the brief whistle-stop presidential campaign tour in 1908 of Republican William H. Taft, then secretary of war...

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Lockwood Opera House

Lockwood Opera House Hayes Scriven Ephraim Lockwood moved to Northfield in 1856, shortly after its founding, and became a successful merchant. In 1872, he built a new store and Opera House. It was one of the early brick buildings on Division Street. It...

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James-Younger Gang Failed 1876 Bank Raid

James-Younger Gang Failed 1876 Bank Raid NorthfieldHistorical Team Northfield's most well-known historic date is September 7, 1876. On that date, eight members of the notorious James-Younger Gang rode into Northfield intent on robbing the First National...

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Ebel Block

Ebel Block Joy Riggs The area on the west bank of the Cannon River where the Ebel Block is located was once a thriving commercial district that contained dozens of stores and service businesses. But when automobile travel replaced passenger train travel in...

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Central Block

Central Block Joy Riggs The Central Block, on the southeast corner of Fourth and Division Streets, is an excellent example of a historic building that has remained true to its original architecture and uses. It stands in a location that has played a...

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Bridge Square

Bridge Square Joy Riggs Bridge Square has always been a center of town activity. But it did not always look as it does now—with a fountain, a war memorial, and, in the summer, a popcorn wagon. For many years, the square was either a dusty or muddy expanse...

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Archer House

Archer House Joy Riggs The Archer House is the oldest hotel in Northfield today, but it was not the first one built here. Earlier hotels had been wood-frame structures that were more like rooming houses. In 1877, James Archer, an innkeeper from Hastings,...

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