Dassel Area Historical Society to be host of exhibit in Sept.
By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, MN - The 95-year-old Dassel creamery building was just named one of the top 10 most endangered historic places by the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota for 2009.
“It’s really great to be selected as one of the 10,” said Dassel Area Historical Society Director Carolyn Holje.
The Dassel Area Historical Society was encouraged to submit a nomination of the Dassel creamery by Preservation Alliance of Minnesota field representative Erin Hanafin Berg.
Hanafin Berg became aware of the creamery’s situation during a visit in December.
“It’s really an iconic building . . . and significant for not only Dassel, but the region,” Hanafin Berg said.
It’s a historical and unique structure that is quite “charming,” she said, adding the distinctive feature of the “creamery” sign on the top of the building.
The Dassel creamery which currently houses the Dassel Co-op Dairy Association, is in great need of repair and restoration.
The co-op doesn’t have the money to restore the building itself, and if not rescued, the building will inevitably be torn down.
There is currently a small office in the building, but the condition of the building is not conducive to a business, explained Holje.
Having its name on the list of endangered historic places will bring the creamery’s situation to light, and possibly save the building through restoration, Holje explained.
“We’re excited [to be chosen] because it brings attention to this fabulous historical structure,” Holje said.
She also noted this was yet another opportunity that puts Dassel on the map.
Dassel Co-op Dairy Association Board Chair John Isaacson, of Dassel, said the board was ready for the building’s demolition, but it decided to give the summer a chance to see if anyone is interested in preserving it.
As long as there is someone willing to invest in the repair and remodeling of the structure and a guaranteed lease for the co-op association, there are several options for the approximately 5,000-square-foot building, Hanafin Berg said.
She also explained that the building may possibly be eligible for some rehabilitation tax credits.
There is an existing federal program with a 20 percent income tax credit.
Currently in the state senate, there is a bill that would include a 25 percent income tax credit that, if passed, could possibly be used along with the federal tax credit for rehabilitation.
A statement issued by the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota reads, “ . . . dairy creameries are a rapidly dwindling feature of our agricultural heritage . . .
“With their distinctive brick construction, often featuring multiple gables, creameries represent a system of agricultural production and processing that provided the foundation of our economy and a way of life for generations of Minnesotans.”
The alliance also stated this particular structure is “distinctive in its architectural style, but is also notable as one of the first dairy co-operatives in Minnesota. It was also one of the first to be part of the Land O’Lakes system of co-ops.”
A July 9, 1914, newspaper article in the Dassel Anchor, read thatTop 10 exhibit begins in Sept.
Beginning Labor Day weekend, there will be a photographic exhibit at the Dassel Area Historical Society honoring the 10 most endangered historic places for 2009. The exhibit will feature photography by Katherine Scott of Black Box Images, Doug Ohman of Pioneer Photography, Kodet Architectural Group, and Drumminhands Design, and is expected to be open through the end of September.