Friday, January 23, 2015

Old Crookston Paint & Glass building is demolished.
HISTORY of the FORMER CROOKSTON PAINT & GLASS BUILDING
The former Crookston Paint & Glass Building at 107-109 W Robert Street has housed many businesses since it was built in 1897. We refer to it as one building today, yet it was built as two buildings each 25’ wide which was typical for a downtown store. J. Jorgenson built the building after filing an easement agreement to anchor into the wall of the Odd Fellows Building (Union Building). Mossefin & Co. had its offices there for several years on the east side (107 W Robert) while O.C. Rood occupied the west side (109 W Robert).

“Mossefin & Lindel These gentlemen are the proprietors of the only merchant tailoring establishment in Crookston. Their store is a large handsome building on Robert Street between Main and Broadway. Here they keep constantly on hand a fine assortment of domestic and imported cloths, cassimere and other notions suitable for gentlemen’s clothing. In the selection of this stock they have displayed great taste. Knowing, however, that a well fitting and nicely made garment is as desirable as the quality of the material of which it is made, these gentlemen, besides joining to their business the benefits of their long experience and entire attention, employ only first class workmen, so that they are able to guarantee a first class fit and an article in every way satisfactory to the purchaser.”
Quote form page 126 of Carrere, John F. “Commerce and Manufacturers of Crookston 1882, Minnesota Historical Society.

Here is a complete chart of the occupants of the building over the years:

107 W Robert St (East building)/109 W Robert (West Building)
  • 2015 demolished
  • 2014 owner is City of Crookston
  • 2012 Prairie Skyline Thrift/Prairie Skyline Thrift
  • 2009 Happenstance/vacant
  • 2007 Storage/storage
  • 2007 Kohn estate donated to Prairie Skyline Foundation
  • 2006 vacant/vacant
  • 1968? Crookston Paint & Glass/ Crookston Paint & Glass
  • 1967 Rock's Jewelry/Crookston Paint & Glass
  • 1964 Rocks Jewelry/Crookston Paint & Glass
  • 1963 Rocks Jewelry/Crookston Paint & Glass
  • 1961 Associated Htg Eng/Crookston Paint & Glass
  • 1958 Associated Htg Eng/Crookston Paint & Glass
  • 1956 Associated Htg Eng/Crookston Paint & Glass
  • 1952-53 Associated Htg Eng/Crookston Paint & Glass
  • 1949 Associated Htg Eng/Crookston Paint & Glass
  • 1040-41 Morris Kohn dry goods – owner/ Arne O. Busterude Hdwe
  • 1935 Charlie's Place, Charlie Lowe/Sally Ann Bakery
  • 1930 Erick Klemesrud Shoe Repair/ Sally Ann Bakery
  • ? Jim Noah - Shoe Shiner/Sally Ann Bakery
  • 1915-1916 Albin Anderson/Monroe & Rapin
  • 1911 The Emporium/J.A. Backen
  • 1908 Lyceum Theatre/J.A. Backen
  • 1906 M.A. Bratrud-jewelry, clockmaker/ C.D. Billings
  • 1904 Edward Mossefin/O.C. Rood
  • 1899-00 Mossefin & Co.- tailor/J. Jorgenson

The Lyceum Theatre in 1908 must have held vaudeville shows like the Grand Theatre.

We can guess that the storefront was remodeled in the fifties or sixties by Crookston Paint & Glass and Rock’s Jewelry. That’s the era when the trend was to cover the historic original storefronts with a plastic finish in hues of aqua, rose, lemon, and gray. In many cases this is what protected those buildings that had wood columns or wood faced columns and only small amounts of metal trim like this building.

Built of yellow brick, this one story building set used to have the typical historic storefront with a doorway in the center of each building. The East side building has a beautiful tin ceiling hiding under a suspended ceiling. A rich cornice shows up underneath as well, but only on the west side of the East building. Signs of a stairwell to the attic in the front of the East building may have held stage lighting? Such mysteries! There was a building at one time, to the east of the East Building and between it and the corner building what I call the Osmon Drug Store Building housing the Novel Cup.  This building held a cigar shop. You can see it in the historic pictures. When it was torn down, I’d like to know, since the vacant lot it created, along with a lack of attention to maintaining a drainage swale to the alley cause extensive moisture damage to the 107 W Robert East basement and exposed wall. This wall was made of pieces of brick for some reason and 74 years of no repointing of the mortar left only the weight of the wall holding this wall up.  There was one place where we could see daylight through the wall. Vandals picked loose brick out along the base of the east wall as well. Of all the buildings that were torn down in the last four years, the Wayne Hotel, the former Villa St. Vincent, the former Ruetell’s, and Rock’s Jewelry, the Crookston Paint & Glass building was in the worst condition.

The Morris Kohn family owned the building since the 1940’s until it was donated to the Prairie Skyline Foundation, Inc. (PSF) in 2007 with a bowed in basement wall. The family did take advantage of the City’s Downtown Rehab campaign funded in the mid-nineties by the MN Dept of Economic and Employment, and installed a new roof.  The east wall in the basement was bowed out 30 degrees.  PSF reinforced the support structure for the floor along the east side. But when the contractor came to work on it, the basement wall caved in at the bow.  Luckily the supports held up the floor and outside wall!  However, the Building Inspector shut down the West (109) side retail store, Happenstance, which had only been open two days! (The building was empty on the east cave in (107) side.)  PSF patched the wall with 8” block. Repointing the East Wall, and replacing the storefronts in which the windows were failing was estimated at over $80,000.  A DEED block grant for downtown revitalization did not become available until 2013, and PSF did not qualify for the $40,000 loan portion of the grant making only $5,000 per summer in their Thrift Shoppe. In the summer of 2014, offers to buy the building came from new owners of the “Quist Building.” Then a “Hazardous Building Order” was place on the building. (This is the first step in the condemnation process.)  Then CHEDA stepped up and offered to buy the building for $25,000 to tear down for parking. PSF accepted the City’s offer. These funds are dedicated to the old Cathedral restoration.

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