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.
First of all, I would like to thank my family for putting up with this mess. Instead of going to places like Yellowstone National Park or Wichita, Kansas, we took many trips across the state of Minnesota this summer and fall. I like to see new places, and I traveled hundreds of miles through portions of Minnesota I had never seen before. There were some hot days in there when sweat poured out, so not all days were perfect.
Next, I would like to thank the operators of the many county historical societies we stopped at through the year. I am sure these people do not earn enough money for what they do and it is clear they do not get the funding they deserve. However, funding anywhere in Minnesota now is tough. Let me relay one of my greatest experiences this summer.
We took a trek through Heron Lake, Minnesota, to try to find some relics from the Ochs brickyard which was located there in the early 1900s. In looking through a dump there, which we later learned was the actual brickyard site, I found a broken brick that had Heron Lake stamped on it. I spent a lot of time there looking for a good one, but no luck. We later stopped in at the county historical society in Jackson, and did some research. The person in charge of the center was incredibly helpful and gave me a complete Heron Lake brick when I left. Ochs bricks are my favorite, so I was very appreciative of this gesture.
I have also met some very incredible people. After stopping in Springfield, Minnesota, one afternoon, I met a man who had driven all the way from Nebraska just to buy a New Ulm brick. Wow! There are definitely some driven brickers out there besides me. On another day, I stopped at Albert Lea to look at the tornado damage that had occurred there on June 17, which was very visible from Interstate 90.
In driving some of the backroads to the west of town, we came across an old barn and silo that had been damaged in the storm. The barn and silo were made of an orangish brick that I had not seen before. We stopped to talk to the owner, who had lived there a number of years. He was very open to us and let us look around. He was not sure if he would bulldoze the barn and silo or try to repair them, but they were beautiful.
I have added a lot of information to this web site. Yet, I am amazed that it seems like I am just scraping the surface of this topic. Every time I stop at a historical society, they say, “Did you know about the brickyards at XX and XX?” I usually say that I didn’t, as I am always surprised at how many there were. So this site is only going to get better!! Here’s looking forward to an even better second year!!