This is an interesting photo, don't you think!
Great photo! Are those tile pipes stacked up?
That is an Eclipse windmill.
I reviewed the eBay listing and found the cancel was in 1919 in "Matawan". It is a ghost town now!
Jay, those would be tiles. Tiling was becoming very popular in Minnesota at this time. Often dug in by hand.
I am amazed at the near total lack of any trees. Between the need for firewood and clearing land for cultivation it looks like trees didn't stand a chance.
From Wikipedia: Waseca Co. is one of seven southern Minnesota counties that have no forest ecosystems, only prairie and savanna soils exist in these counties.
Maybe surprisingly, Matawan Grain & Feed is still there. All signs of the railroad seem to have disappeared.
A lot of homesteaders from southwestern Minnesota moved west to Montana when the Milwaukee railroad came from St. Paul -- actually west from Aberdeen - to the newly opened homestead land in south eastern Montana. There was no need for drain tile there.
There were some trees but not many. Nearly all of eastern Montana is underlain by coal so there was plentiful fuel including many mines that were opened as well as "crick bank" coal, which is what a lot of people burned.
Many communities are only located where they are because that's where the steam locomotive ran out of water! First, the water tank, then telegraph and an operator (who needed a house to live in), then some Maintenance of Way "section men" (gandy dancers) who also needed someplace to sleep, etc, etc.
Some of those "communities" continued to grow, some stayed the same, and sadly, some faded away (as did a lot of the railroad) much of which also faded away due to highways and trucks,.....and, life goes on,......