There has been statewide, nonpartisan mourning that the Minnesota state legislature didn't repeal the blue law keeping liquor stores closed on Sundays, though supporters can now buy growlers at their favorite brewhouse and take them home to drown their sorrows.
Meanwhile, down in Granite Falls, the author of Prohibition is back in the headlines. Granite Falls Advocate Tribune news editor Scott Tedrick reports in New foundation for Volstead House:
Andrew J. Volstead laid the foundation for the 18th constitutional amendment known as ‘Prohibition’ as well as the foundation for legislation that continues to serve as the Magna Carta of the Cooperative Movement...As one of the city’s most illustrious citizens, it seems only appropriate that the community should support the foundation of his house.
This past Monday, the Granite Falls City Council approved a low bid of $150,000 from Barn Restoration Specialist Corp., Onamia, to institute repairs to the foundation of the Volstead House, which is now 136 years old.
The Minnesota Association of Cooperatives purchased the building in 1976 and donated it to the city for a museum in 1978. Today it is recognized as a National Landmark.
The Granite Falls Historical Society has been aware of the weakening substructure for some time and in 2011 sought and successfully obtained a $5,500 grant from the Minnesota Historical Society that was used to finance an inspection as well as subsequent recommendations for repairs.
Those inspections were completed by Eugene Dwyer of LSE Engineers, of Le Sueur, and Bob Claybaugh of Claybaugh Preservation Architecture, out of Taylor Falls, in August of 2012 and, with the addition of a $25,000 local match, served as the basis for a $154,000 grant proposal to repair the foundation that was awarded to the city by the Minnesota Historical Society in January of 2014.
Original cost estimates totaled $175,000 for the project, which is expected to begin in the near future. According to council information, the grant money must be expensed by November this year.
However, while Volstead's legacy might live on in the blue laws, residents of his lovely riparian adopted hometown are reconstructing his legacy by planning the Bluenose Gopher Cooperative Brewery, due to open in late 2015 or 2016.
Photo: Andrew Volstead's front porch. Photo via the Granite Falls Historical Society.
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