Albert Lea in Freeborn County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Albert Lea's Architectural History
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Erected by Historic Albert Lea Downtown.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Architecture.
Location. 43° 38.924′ N, 93° 22.112′ W. Marker is in Albert Lea, Minnesota, in Freeborn County. Marker is at the intersection of South Broadway Avenue (U.S. 65) and William Street, on the right when traveling north on South Broadway Avenue. Marker is located along the sidewalk at the southeast corner of the intersection, beside the 1922 Albert Lea State Bank Building. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 201 South Broadway Avenue, Albert Lea MN 56007, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 6 other markers are within 16 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Union Soldiers & Sailors Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); 411 South Broadway Avenue (approx. 0.2 miles away); Minnesota’s Roads / Welcome to Minnesota (approx. 9.2 miles away); Jefferson Highway Completion (approx. 12 miles away in Iowa); Historic Northern Iowa / Carrie Lane Chapman Catt - (1859 - 1947) (approx. 14.1 miles away in Iowa); Worth County Courthouse Cannon (approx. 16 miles away in Iowa).
More about this marker. Marker is a large composite plaque mounted inside a tall metal kiosk frame.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 31, 2018. It was originally submitted on December 8, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 491 times since then and 139 times this year. Last updated on December 27, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photos: 1. submitted on December 8, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 2, 3, 4. submitted on December 27, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 5, 6, 7. submitted on December 29, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on December 9, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.