Sunday, June 2, 2013

Walking in Wadena

I decided that if I waited for dry spring or summer weather to do things outdoors, I might miss the spring and summer seasons altogether. So I took myself to the sporting goods area of Target on Friday and got a good rain jacket.

Then Saturday morning I was up early and on my way to Wadena, MN. The forecast was for the rain that seems to have been here forever to move on east and for a dry weekend to emerge.

I stopped for coffee after about one hour of driving. In about another hour I arrived at Staples, MN. Having worked public health in Minnesota for many years, I know where all the counties are and also know many, many towns, but this is the first time I've been in Staples. The sign for the department store caught my eye, so I turned off the highway for a photo.

Glad I did. Click here to learn more about the interesting history of this building.

 Staples also has a great train depot, and it's active. This is one of the stops on the Amtrak as it goes from St. Paul to Seattle. The depot is actually owned by the Staples Historical Society which has raised a great deal of money to restore and maintain the building.

Right now I'm guessing Staples is named for a railroad official. At one time 400 people lived in Staples and worked for the railroad.

In only about twenty more minutes I arrived in Wadena. I do not travel with my Minnesota Geographical Names book, so I appreciated that the route map explained that Wadena is named after a trading post established when this area of present day northern Minnesota was a territory. The trading post was located about 11 miles east of present day Wadena. It was abandoned for some reason and when people returned they found all the buildings gone, only the foundations. The town was relocated in its present location, as part of railroad building.

I found spring delayed, even accounting for the fact I had traveled north. The fruit trees were in glorious bloom. I'm sorry you can't get the beautiful smell through the computer.

The trees were at the same stage that I found them when visiting in Lincoln and York NE three weeks earlier.

The walk took me through a residential area and then into a city park. This park contained some interesting sculptures such as the one pictured below, but lacking any explanation or names of the artist.

It also contained a small bandstand.

And a depot.

 This depot is no longer active, but it was obvious something was going to happen there. Later I saw a bride and groom posing for pictures in the doorway, so it was a wedding reception being held in the space.

Wadena is one of those Minnesota towns with a railroad track right through the middle. It carries the same trains that pass by my apartment every day, but oh my! the speed is quite different. By my apartment the train creeps by at about 20 mph; if one has to wait for a 70 car train it takes a bit of time. But I saw one roar through Wadena, blowing the horns loudly as it should, for the speed was about 60 mph -- it was really moving!
Then I was in "downtown" Wadena. The weather was cool and cloudy and the cloudy sky made the street lamps show out quite nicely.

I found the Boondocks Diner and since it was now about 11:45, I decided to stop for lunch. While waiting for lunch I looked and studied my map and decided I had somehow missed a turn. So after lunch I backtracked only two blocks, turned left and then into an alley to see the historical murals. What a marvelous collection. These appeared to all have been done by community groups and service locations.

The next one required two photos for someone had parked a pick-up truck in front of it and I had to wiggle around that.

The left hand side of the mural shows the Split Rock Lighthouse north of Duluth on Lake Superior
The right hand side of the mural is a boat in Lake Superior

 Next came two with Civil War themes.

The mural above commemorates the First Minnesota Regiment. On Thursday I went to the Civil War exhibition at the Minnesota History Center and learned Minnesota offered the first troops to the Union side because the governor of Minnesota happened to be in Washington, D.C. and so his letter could arrive to President Lincoln before that of any other governor.

The mural above puzzled me for just a bit until I figured out it shows movie and TV stars who were born in Minnesota.
Judy Garland is an obvious example.

The walk continued past the veterans' monument and courthouse.

By now a light rain began. I was so glad I had elected to do only a 5K walk. I wandered through residential areas and then back back to my starting place. I was warm in my coat but had done this walk with my flip-flops! My feet were glad to find the warm car in the parking lot!

Then I hit the road for Fargo, ND, arriving there about 4 PM with plans for a 10 K walk. I was very glad to see bright sunshine appear finally about 7 PM with a weather forecast of clear and cool. Cool, I guess-- only around 40 (4C) degrees!

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