This post is part of a collection of posts written in 2016 for Glenwood’s 150 year celebration. To see the map and full list of locations included in the walking tour, click here.
American Solutions for business – 23 Minnesota Avenue
Meisterson’s Furniture constructed this building to expand after purchasing the adjoining Dovel Furniture building.
The Rodgers Hotel was built on this lot in 1910 and opened in 1911. It has 15 rooms, 2 bathrooms, but featured hot and cold running water in each room.
Swanson’s Bakery began in the basement of the Rogers Hotel.
The hotel burned in 1974.
FIRE ONE OF WORST IN CITY’S HISTORY — TWO BUILDINGS GUTTED, FIVE BUSINESSES DAMAGED
Pope County Tribune – January 31, 1974
“Activity on Glenwood’s business district returning to normal this week after one of the worst fires in the city’s history early last Thursday morning. The fire which broke out shortly before 4 am, destroyed the Roger’s Café and Hotel, and Greene’s Shoes buildings, did extensive smoke and water damage to Dovel Furniture, Rippe’s Plumbing and Heating and Haima’s Buildarama. Estimates of the damage ranged upwards of $150,000.00.”
“Plans were being made immediately after the fires to rebuild the two destroyed structures and the area would be restored with a one new building which would house the Glenwood Furniture Mart.” Greene’s Shoes was temporarily moved to the Zalkind building, between Meyers Shoes and the Glenwood State Bank. He rebuilt as soon as the insurance work was completed on the old site. Strecker Insurance and Realty later purchased the building from Walt Greene.
Although there was heavy water and smoke damage, Harold Rippe was back in business the next day. Most of the furniture removed from the Dovel building was put on sale at the former bowling alley, at Minnesota Avenue and First Street SW.
The fire could have been much worse. Local police officer, Bill Ingebrightsen, was just going off duty and made one final pass through the downtown area and “noticed smoke coming out through a crack in a boarded up window in the back of Roger’s Hotel, and I could hear flames crackling inside,” he said.
He turned in the alarm and then went upstairs over Greene’s Shoes where he woke an apartment tenant. Next we alerted the four members of the Brockhausen family, who had operated Roger’s for 11 years. He broke down the door of another apartment and helped that renter downstairs.
“His quick action and timely discovery of the fire resulted in far less property damage and most certainly personal injury to the several tenants. Had the fire gone undetected, who knows what would have occurred.”
Units from Alexandria, Lowry, and Starbuck battled the stubborn blaze and temperatures near zero for more than 2 ½ hours before finally bringing it under control. The absence of wind was providential. Hundreds of Glenwood residents watched “as billows of smoke rose high into the black sky, flames shooting into the air and near frozen hoses scattered and stretched across Minnesota Ave.”
Chief Bill Blair called the fire “the worst he had seen in his 28 years with the Department.” No cause of the fire could be determined due to severity of the fire and destruction. Chief Blair said “it probably started in the back of Roger’s Hotel, most likely in the kitchen.” The intensity of the fire and heat limited the firemen’s ability to do much to save the two structures. He put out the call for assistance at 5 am, “It’s better to be safe than sorry” said Blair. Firemen were required to hose the roof of the Untied Parish Church across the alley to prevent it from igniting.
Firemen remained on site for three days to put out recurring flames. Chief Blair said over and over “I’m just grateful that the wind didn’t come up. Much of the entire block would have gone if there had been wind.” The Brockhausens lost their entire business and furnishings, and all of their personal belongings as well. They were able to rescue the family cat and dog.
Pocket Park (Dovel’s Furniture)
The pocket park was developed as a result of the Minnesota Design Team visit in 2006. It was the first project of the newly formed “Glenwood & Beyond: city improvement group. The park fills the space left empty for many years after Meisterson’s Furniture (formerly Dovel’s) burned to the ground in 1976.
This site was also the site of a terrible fire in in 1898.