I wish my computer could do the google map kind of thing and show today's view of that street scene in Willmar. My son lives on the western outskirts.
Beautiful buildings. Look at all the windows to open when it's summertime and you have a breeze!
Guaranteed, today's look at that scene would suck. All the little details
that make this view cool will have been scoured off the streetscape and
if the big details remain, they will be thoroughly sterilized. It's the new
Note the "American Railway Express" sign.
One enduring symbol of railroading's past is the red-and-white diamond
herald of the Railway Express Agency. Today one finds reminders of REA
only at museums or old depots, but it once was a major element of the
American scene - the FedEx of its day.
Formation of the REA
Express service is the prompt and safe movement of parcels, money, and
goods at rates higher than standard freight rates.
It is generally considered to have been started by William Harriden, who in
1839 began regular trips between New York and Boston carrying such items.
Other early names in the express business are those of William G. Fargo, a
New York Central freight clerk at Auburn, N.Y., and Henry Wells, a leather
worker at Batavia, N.Y., who organized Wells Fargo & Co. in 1853; Henry B.
Plant, who formed Southern Express; Alvin Adams; and John Butterfield.
The express business flourished in the latter half of the 19th century, and by
1900 there were four principal express companies: Adams, Southern, American,
and Wells Fargo. In 1913 the Post Office introduced parcel post, the first major
competition for the express companies. Express business continued to climb
until 1920, then remained stable for a decade.
During World War I, the United States Railway Administration took over the
nation's railroads. Under the USRA, the four companies were consolidated
as American Railway Express, Inc., except for the portion of Southern Express
that operated over the Southern Railway and the Mobile & Ohio (and that came
into the organization in 1938).
In March 1929, the assets and operations of American Railway Express were
transferred to Railway Express Agency. REA was owned by 86 railroads in
proportion to the express traffic on their lines - no one railroad or group of
railroads had control of the agency.
Lousy StreetView coverage in Willmar, but enough to see that Burger couldn't be more right in this case. That entire block is gone, even the street, replaced by a county office building that looks like nothing more than a brick wall from where the old picture was taken.
Hey, at least they have a Walmart. As a matter of fact it's probably pretty close to Duey's son's house.
Oh, and lest I forget, they have a McDonalds. And, Ridgewater College.
Geez, I almost forgot, as I recall, they have a State Hospital for The Criminally Insane. Nope, I'm wrong, now I remember what it is, I think it's the county seat for Kandiyohi County.
What an exciting place!
Let's see how many people make this connection ....
So, years ago a friend and I hauled old cars around the country,
much like Freighter Jim does. We drove 3-4 days and then took a
night off, got a room, a shower, and tried to hunt up some good
On this particular occasion, we had a bar in mind that we were
told had really good food, so we cleaned up and walked over there
to give it a whirl. We were discovered by a couple local gals and
were getting "hustled up" as we ate when what seemed to be a fight
broke out by the front door. It was quite the commotion, but never
turned into the brawl we thought it sounded like. Rather, as we would
soon find out, it was two guys with a bus tub full of 20's, taking bets
that one of them would drop trou, squeeze off a brown one, and EAT
They made the rounds (the place was packed) and then, back up
by the front door, a collective groan from the crowd confirmed that
these guys had won the tub full of 20's.
My view of humanity was forever changed in that moment, and the
parallels of social and civic mentality often lead me to say that our
world likes to eat its own stool. We came specifically to that place
to get a dynamite steak, spud, and salad. These two clowns came
in with an entirely different vision. Some people like a world around
them of nice things, others would turn it all to crap and tell you how
much better it is now.
The above photos are clear proof of this parallel.
You are right once again Burger. And the people that tear down and bulldose history make a plastic tub of money. Just as discusting as your dinner entertainment. Justified by the word "PROGRESS".
Mr B, As I am reading this thread basically the first time after the original posting of a nice period photo. I get down to your second post, and I really want to thank you for the excellent post about the short overview history of the REA. You tied it up concisely and nicely.
Your third post? Not so much. Perhaps a warning at the beginning of it so a few easily offended types could know to not read it? Having in my life seen much of what you have seen in your life, I pretty much saw it coming. And, again, I must say that I think you tied it up quite nicely.
Ain't life bizarre?
And I must (want to) say "Thank you" to Nor-Cal Jay for again sharing a wonderful picture! I never get tired of these views into an incredible past. I wish I could think mankind's future looked one tenth as good. The potential is there. Our future could be fantastic on a scale not yet understood. But it will not be if people do not as a whole start working in the correct directions again.
Let me give you a little background on where I stand on the easily offended.
Semper Fi, Do Or Die !
Mike, that walmart is across town to the south east. I've had to endure it. That grandson's favorite place to eat is the pizza ranch not far from that wallyworld. Blech. Especially the p ranch.
BUT, we did get a '67 Pontiac Catalina across the street from the p ranch for a frame donor project for Son's '68 Catalina convertible!
I have a buddy that goes to that wallyworld once in awhile and if he sees a foreigner, he calls them a Hesta-Dravva. Kind of phonetically, a Horse's-Patute!
He'll swear at them in Norwegian.
If I have my head on square, Rosita's is reportedly a real good place to eat but it's really small. Must be small if it's in the intersection. Ba dop bing.
Smart looking buildings like that are now found in a Walther's model RR catalog. Of......plastic.
Chris, thanks. :-) I think...
I gotta get down there and look again. Yuk.