Albert Lea's Architectural History

Albert Lea's Architectural History (HM2CQE)

Location: Albert Lea, MN 56007 Freeborn County
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Country: United States of America
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N 43° 38.924', W 93° 22.112'

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Firemen's Hall and Masonic Lodge
147 North Broadway
Built in 1909-1910, the upper floor houses the Masonic Lodge. The rest of the building served at one time as the "Idle Hour Theatre" and was later used by various area youth groups, health organizations and clubs sponsoring public events. The building was remodeled extensively in 1981 when it became home to the Albert Lea Community Theatre. This building was also used as an emergency hospital during the flu epidemic of 1920.
The building was named "The Marion Ross Performing Arts Center" in 2008 after local actress Marion Ross of Happy Days fame.
Albert Lea Post Office
141 South Newton
This federal building exhibits a quality of expressive strength in its stonework detail and classical lines. Very few changes have been made to the building which was constructed in 1936 by architect LeRoy Gaarder. This structure will stand for future generations to appreciate as one of Albert Lea's historical structures.
First National Bank Building
139 South Broadway
Brick Masonry was used instead of the usual stone for detail on this structure built in 1902-1903. The classical style of this commercial building is enhanced by the decorative archways and recessed windows. The original design has

been changed with the moving of the building entrance from William Street to South Broadway.
Rivoli Theater
224 South Broadway
Formerly the Rivoli Theatre and the B&B Music Academy, this building was constructed in 1916 by Dr William Bessesen to provide a place for his wife, Madam Bessesen (Beatrice Gjertsen), to present her operatic talent as well as a studio for voice lessons on the upper level. It was built in the French Classical style with a unique three-tiered columned façade.
Freeborn County Courthouse
411 South Broadway
Built in 1887, the Court House is "a highly original essay in Richardsonian Romanesque, especially in the great tower and the sculpture of four 'dogs of the Nile' ready to leap from the building." The "dogs" refer to the dog faces sculpted into the building's exterior that face outward in all four directions. (A Guido to the Architecture of Minnesota, Gebhard and Martinson)
Albert Lea State Bank Building and Henry J. Harm Jewelry Store
201 South Broadway and 211 South Broadway
Built in 1922 by the Tapager Construction Company of Albert Lea. Similar to its neighbor, this building is elegantly decorated with cream colored terra cotta and has a marble façade. Built at a cost of approximately $200,000 as the Albert Lea Slate Bank, the building housed

the Freeborn National Bank from 1929 until 1975.
Like its neighbor to the north, this structure was designed by Minneapolis architects Larson 8 McLaren. This four story building was richly ornamented with light blue/grey terra cotta and built in 1922. Henry J. Harm served as Mayor of Albert Lea from 1913 to 1914.
Southern Minnesota Gas and Electric Company
100 North Broadway
The Southern Minnesota Gas and Electric Company Building was built in 1923 and was sold a year later to Interstate Power Company. Detailed with a strong Italian influence, this is a clear expression of a typical commercial office building for prairie towns. Originally, eight fool high poles paraded above the cornice line highlighting the horizontal styling of the Kasota stone structure.
City Hall
202 North Broadway
Built in 1903 to house the police station and fire house, this masonry two-story structure with arches is of Romanesque design. The original building was topped with a half circle of brick above the present roof line and by a tower on the east edge of the front elevation. The present City Hall on East Clark Street was built in 1967.
Syndicate Block [St. Paul Clothiers]
244 South Broadway
Built in 1888, the brick elements which corbelled away from the side wall of this once elegant Romanesque style Syndicate Block were

removed because of deterioration. The front façade, once covered by cedar shakes in 1971, is intact except for the parapets and turret roofs which were removed in 1955.
Carnegie Library
146 West College Street
The formation of the Albert Lea Library Association in 1897 led to the establishment of a public library. In an effort to raise funds for a library building, Andrew Carnegie, the steel magnate, was contacted. A grant was secured from Mr. Carnegie and the building was constructed in 1903. The building gable is notable baroque detail.
Home Investment Building [Lea Center Building]
141 East William
At various periods throughout its history, this had been called the Home Investment Building, the Hyde Building and now the Lea Center. The six story structure, with its strong horizontal banding and vertical expression in the window detailing is tipped with a stately cornice articulated with color and detail. This commercial office building was completed in 1917 and still remains the most sizable landmark of the downtown area.

Historical Information Courtesy of the Freeborn County Historical Museum, Library and Village. Photos by Teresa Kauffmann, City of Albert Lea.
Placed ByHistoric Albert Lea Downtown
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, December 10th, 2018 at 1:02pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 470279 N 4832925
Decimal Degrees43.64873333, -93.36853333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 43° 38.924', W 93° 22.112'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds43° 38' 55.44" N, 93° 22' 6.7199999999999" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)507
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 211 S Broadway Ave, Albert Lea MN 56007, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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