One word. A lifetime of memories. Ortonville is the small Minnesota town where my dad grew up and where our family went to visit his parents—Grammo and Grampo to my sister, Cyn, and me—for most holidays and just because, year after year after year. It was a second home to us.
I still get the Ortonville Independent in the mail, the newspaper that’s been run by the Kaercher family for three generations. Jimmy Kaercher is around my mom’s age and still writes a weekly column. His daughter, Sue, recently took over the reins of day-to-day operations.
In the January 28, 2014 issue, Sue wrote in her column, Sue’s Muse:
Another building is gone from Ortonville’s main street. The old brick building that stood on the northeast corner of Second Street and Jackson Avenue was leveled early Saturday morning. The building, which had been vacant for decades, was owned by the EDA after it went to the county in back taxes. Bricks were falling off it, windows were broken and the roof was in need of repair. It had become dangerous.
That doesn’t make it any easier to see it come down. It was a landmark to the community, part of the town’s identity. The building was referred to as the “Odd Fellows” building because it was built to house the meeting room for the Odd Fellows fraternal organization.
At this point, I had lost interest in the story because I didn’t know what building Sue was referring to. Just before I tossed the paper in the recycling, I glanced at the next paragraph and (more…)