Twin City Brick Company Ruins

If you are enjoy looking around the ruins of old brickyards, the Lilydale Regional Park is for you! This park contains the ruins of the Twin City Brick Company, which was in business for many years in the Twin Cities area. This park is really a hidden jewel, basically right along the Mississippi River across from downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. Harriet Island is also close, which features boat tours of the Mississippi River. It is a beautiful location which shows the extremes of big city life and a wilderness area right next door. Continue reading

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Antique Brick Questions

I sometimes get questions like “where can I buy antique brick?”  Or “how can I fix my old brick barn?”  Sometimes these questions are easy to answer and sometimes they are hard.  First of all, antique brick is not antique because it is common.  Named bricks (ones with the name of the city or builder stamped into them) are less common and therefore hold more value.  Some Chaska bricks had the name “Chaska” stamped into them and are still somewhat common even today.  However, they can easily command $5 to $10 per brick.  Bricks that have no stamp on them are less expensive because it is hard to determine where they came from. Continue reading

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Iowa Barns and Silos

I know that Iowa is famous for its agriculture.  When I think of Iowa, I think of vast cornfields like those in the famous “Field of Dreams” movie.  Along with its agricultural heritage comes its heritage of barns and silos.  Around the turn of the century and into the first half of the 1900s, Iowa clay was extensively used to make brick and tile.  Mason City itself had nine brick and tile plants.  This brick and tile industry is still visible today in the old barns and silos that dot the Iowa landscape. Continue reading

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Is It Finally Spring?

It has been a long winter here in the upper Midwest with lots of snow and now rivers that are flooding.  Can spring finally be around the corner?  I am looking forward to getting out in the field again and getting some new information for this web site.  I hope to get to the Princeton area this summer to find out more information on the brickyards that were located there.  I would also like to find out more information on the brickyards that were located at Morton and Carver, Minnesota.  These are just a few of the places that I have an itch to find out more about, but there are lots of other ones too. Continue reading

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Happy New Year!

This is my first post in quite a while, as my web site has been going through a lot of changes.  My webmaster is working very hard at getting our web platform switched over to a new one, and he is amazed at the amount of information we have accrued so far.  Even more amazing is the fact that we are probably just scratching the surface of this topic. Continue reading

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First Year Anniversary!!

My webmaster tells me that my web site needs to be renewed for a second year.  What does that mean?  Why, of course, it means that one year has come and gone!  I would like to take this opportunity to talk a little about the past year and some of the neat things I have come across. Continue reading

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Brickyards Were Common

One of the things I wanted to learn when I started this web site was the number of brickyards there were in Minnesota in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  I have mentioned before that some sources have said there were 50 to 60, while other sources have said there was one in nearly every town.  In my travels and research over the summer of 2010, I have easily concluded that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Continue reading

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In Search of Minnesota Silos

For those people who grew up on farms in Minnesota, you no doubt had silos on your farm.  Even people in cities can recognize and understand what silos were used for.  There were many types and styles of silos.  They were even made of different materials, like cement, clay, or wood.  As a brick lover, I focus on the clay silos. Continue reading

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Summer Fair Season

There is nothing like summer in Minnesota.  Lakes, warm weather, lush summer vegetation, and….county fairs in Minnesota!  I decided to combine a brick outing and a trip to the Polk County Fair in Fertile, Minnesota.  The PCF runs for about 5 days around the Fourth of July, which happen to be during some of the warmest summer weather in Minnesota. Continue reading

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Highway 10 Searches

In my travels to learn more about the early brick makers of west central and central Minnesota, I took a trek down United States Highway 10.  This time, my trip started out at Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, where I did a little fishing from the public docks along the big lake.  Not much biting this time of year, but beautiful temperatures and nice warm sunshine.  I can’t go through the Detroit Lakes area without stopping to eat at Zorbaz!  After checking out some of the original downtown area, I hopped on 10 and traveled east to Perham.  I have spent a lot of time over the years in Perham, as relatives of mine had a lake cabin near there. Continue reading

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