405 E. 6th St., PO Box 142
Blue Earth, MN 56013
Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays from
10 to 12 and 1 to 3 or by special appointment.

General Store

   Many of us remember the days when Dad and Mom would drop in at the little country store to pick up a few items ranging from pickled herring to a chunk of cheese cut off the block to a pair of boots or jeans or even a plug of tobacco.  These little stores scattered around the county were geared to the everyday needs of neighbors, friends and those just passing through.  They were typically jampacked from wall to wall, floor to ceiling with merchandise — some things and their whereabouts known only to the proprietor!  It didn't pay to try "finding it yourself" in the mixture of items.  The item requested may be found, laden with dust but still a treasure when a paying customer had a need for it.  A visit to the country store frequently took some time, tho' as other neighbors gathered around to hear all the latest news of the day, pass on a few tidbits of gossip, discuss the latest fashions or newfangled machinery and evaluate the talents (or the lack of it) of the local preacher.

   It was with these memories in mind that, in the spring of 2008, a few men interested in preserving this history gathered at the Larry Prange farm, rural Delavan, MN, intent on constructing their own General Store.  Soon this small structure, only 12 X 12 feet and constructed of plywood and rustic log siding, began to take shape.  Occasionally someone would drop in, take up a hammer or paintbrush and make their contribution to the project.  The exterior was stained a rustic wood tone and the interior walls and shelving were painted a light blue/gray.  When completed it was loaded on a trailer and hauled to the Faribault County Fairgrounds to become an integral part of the Historical Society's History Lane.  

   The General Store comes to life during the County Fair in July!  The shelves of the store are stocked to overflowing with modern or antique household items donated by people of the community, some handiwork by local talents, hard candy choices, mammoth dill pickles and perhaps bottled water.  Most items are marked with rummage sale prices that even the young can afford.  Many many volunteer hours are clocked as the ladies ready the General Store for its opening during the Fair Week.  

   It is such fun for the volunteer clerk on duty to hear, "Oh, my grandma had one just like this!" or watching a child's face as he or she chooses "something special for my Mom's birthday".  One might even be lucky enough to linger awhile and watch as one gifted lady from the community sits contentedly on the porch, fluffy bunny in her lap, as she pulls its shedding hair and spins it into yarn to later create mittens and the like to be used during the cold winter months ahead.  Be sure to come visit the General Store when County Fair time rolls around another year.