The 500 Block Fire – Feb 25, 2020

Feb. 25, 2020

Today, Alexandria lost a piece of our historic heart on Broadway. Some lost their businesses; some lost their homes. Right now, we are thankful that it appears no one lost their lives and that fire departments from near and far were able to contain the fire as much as they did.  We grieve with all those who have been impacted by the fire and hope that healing and reconstruction touches their lives sooner rather than later.

When something historic is destroyed, the entire community feels its loss, as though a longtime friend or part of the landscape has been suddenly ripped away.

The buildings lost today were the backdrop for countless memories for our generation and generations before. Over the course of a century-and-then-some, these buildings housed drugstores, groceries, restaurants, doctors, clothing stores, hairdressers, retail stores, and more. The 500 Block has been a cornerstone of life in Alexandria since the arrival of European settlers, with much of the structure lost today dating back to the 1880s and 1890s.

The nature of life is to change, but nothing lessens the pain of loss. As a Historical Society, the only balm we can offer this pain is the immortality offered through historic appreciation and preservation. Buildings were lost in the fire today; Memories were not. Bricks came tumbling down; History did not.

 

What was lost today always has been part of Douglas County’s history and always will be a part of Douglas County’s history.

In honor of what was lost, we’d like to share some of their history with you today. In our memories, the historic buildings of downtown Alexandria will bask in the summer sunlight a while longer.

 

Again, we thank the brave fire departments and first responders who attended to the fire today and we wish for healing and restoration for all those affected.

 

Brittany Johnson

Douglas County Historical Society, MN

*Please note this list is approximate, some locations and addresses have changed or merged over the years. Dates are sometimes reversed-engineered from photos and may need accuracy checks.

 

 

502 Broadway:

Nelson Barber- unknown

White Swan Saloon- unknown

Morissee, Wegner & Aiton Hdwe.- 1900

Henry Holverson Rexall Drug- 1913

Larson & Johnson- 1913

Phillips 66- 1929

Dairy Queen- 1951

Downtown Floral- 1996

RM Tattoo & Body Piercing- 2009

504 Broadway

Viking Savings & Loan- unknown

Bud’s Café- unknown

Tangen, Wagner & White Hdwe.- 1887

Morissee, Wegner & Aiton Hdwe.- 1900

J.A. Carlson Grocery- 1900

Cobjornson,Wegner- 1914

Loseth Service Station- 1929

Montgomery Ward- 1951

Glenwear- 1955

Edith’s Town & Country- 1955

Downtown Floral- 1996

RM Tattoo & Body Piercing- 2009

504 Broadway (Not Main Floor)

Lundgren Cigar Factory- 1900

Hopson Barber Shop- 1929

Douglas Hotel- 1940

Ernie’s Barber Shop-1951

Lois Your Hairdresser- 1960

Beauty Nook- 1974

506 Broadway

Christianson Sterett Drug- 1800’s

Black Front Drug- 1800’s

LeRoy Hackley City Drug- 1800’s

Malmquist Saloon- 1800’s

Baumbach-Morisee Drug- 1883

Bombach-Holverson Drug-1896

Dr. E.A. Hensel- 1900

Baumbach-Holverson- 1908

John A. Carlson Grocery- 1911

Charles Culross Restaurant- 1913

Fitzgerald Drug- 1935

Holverson Drug- 1938

Kalpin’s City Grocery- 1939

Rosvold Drug- 1940

Dahlquist Electric-1951

Baumbach Drug- 1953

Sears Roebuck-1965

Williams Drug- 1976

R V Graphics- 1996

Rappers- 1996

506 Broadway (Not Main Floor)

Dr. C. A. Lester

Dr. Haskel-1911

Park Region Echo-1913

Dr. Kierland-1938

Dr. Stubig- 1938

Dr. Reinhardt- 1959

Dr. Kuhlman- 1959

508 Broadway

Pots and Plants- unknown

Our Place- unknown

Christ Oppel Shoes- 1869

Oppel Shoes, new building-1884

Rosvold Drug- 1940

Olson Shoes- 1964

Walt’s Shoe Repair-1964

Marquee Too- 1975

Special Memories- 1996

Charlie’s Bazaar

510 Broadway

Decorating Kitchens- unknown

Wilson’s New Bakery- unknown

Hollobaugh Hdwe- 1867

Cowing Robards Hdwe- 1872

Cowing Robards Hdwe, new building- 1880

Little Darlings Children’s Boutique- 2019

 

512 Broadway   

Yeuters Bakery- 1957

514 Broadway

Patterson Harness Shop- unknown

Our Own Hardware- unknown

E.O. Unumb General Merchandise- 1894

Houglie & Ripley- 1913

Alex Grocery- 1936

Cowing Robards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Events

  1. Theresa Hicks: Mother of Alexandria – Community Education

    June 18 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
  2. Annual Meeting

    August 4 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

HOURS

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COVID19 Response:
Per governor order, we will be closed until further notice. We are happy to take research requests via email at historic@dchsmn.org.  Thank you for your understanding. Immediate concerns may be emailed to brittany.johnson@dchsmn.org.

 

  • Office Hours:
  • M-F,  8:30-5:00

 

  • Tours:
  • M-F, 9:00 – 3:00
  • $5/adult, $3/child.
  • Schedule group tours in advance.