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Grant to Help Gaylord Preserve Historic Downtown

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MANKATO, Minn. -

The city of Gaylord is preserving its piece of Minnesotahistory, thanks to a grant to from Minnesota Historical Society.

The city will be using the money to put together a game planto soon start preserving their historic downtown.

Gaylord, like every community across the state has a story totell through its architecture, its people, and its role in the larger Minnesotanarrative.

President of Gaylord's Economic Development Authority ChuckKlimmek says, "Why is Gaylord here? Why did it developed? Well it's arailroad town, as the railroad went through they needed to create a communityabout every 7-10 miles to refuel and rewater their steam locomotives, so thatis why Gaylord existed."

The railroad was the beginning of Gaylord's rich history, andit's a history citizens say is worth preserving.

Klimmek says, "For me I think preserving the significantolder buildings downtown is significant to the vitality of our DT."

Gaylord City Administrator Kevin McCann says, "I thinkit will be something they can be proud of, that they came from Gaylord."

But preserving history is not an easy thing; it takes time,money, and historical knowledge. The city first got a grant last year to do ahistorical context study.

Klimmek says, "I'm told the first newspaper had itsprinting presses on the second floor. The first floor was a retail mercantiletype business. When I grew up in town it was a soda fountain drug store."

That building is vacant now, and if no work is put intopreserving it and its history, eventually the over a century old building couldbecome a pile of old bricks and fleeting memories.

This latest grant of $7,000 will be used to get input fromthe public and figure how to make this revitalization a reality.

McCann says, "Working with the citizens, the businessowners, the building owners. We wanted to have the citizen input because theyare the ones who live here, they are the ones are going to see and use thesebuilding."

And when citizens have reminders of the past all around them,and a better understanding of Gaylord's history, the result: a strongerconnection to the community.

Gaylord was one of 48 recipients to receive grantsfrom the Minnesota Historical Society.