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1916 Ford Dealership Still Standing In Kenyon, Minnesota Thanks To Bob


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Some of you know this story right away ... 😉


If you are in Minnesota or the surrounding area - Bob Peterson is a household name when it comes to Model A’s and Model T’s.


About 2.5 years ago - Bob bought a building from his home town - the City of Kenyon, Minnesota - in a sealed bid auction.


Built in 1916 as a Ford Dealership - it served to house the Fire & Police Departments - an AA chapter - Smoker Club ...


For 100 years it served Kenyon.







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When I heard about this a couple years ago - I called & talked with Bob.


He bought the building to save it from corporate development that would have probably razed part of Downtown Kenyon for a chain gas station ️.


The first Model A sold in Kenyon in 1927 ... 🧐









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Absolutely wonderful to see the building preserved and not torn down and demolished in the name of "progress". In addition to my decades interest in old cars, I also started the local historical society here in our village and am the appointed village historian. 25+ years ago I started the Architectural review board as well so some great 20th century buildings and homes would not be altered without some consideration to the appearance and integrity of the original design. That board is now well received and accepted but at the time many people who had to come before it for approval of changes they wanted to make were not happy at all with me and the rest of the board because we rejected their "cheap way out" to make the structure meet their needs but look terrible. The argue we usually got was " well I own the property so should be able to do with it what I want" and my reply was " yes, and if you do so in 5 or 10 years when you decide to move the whole neighborhood will have to live with the monstrosity you felt you needed to have with no consideration for anyone who lived near it. That made me real popular 😯

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I enjoy older building designs as well. One of the few things The Donald and I agree on in this area is his decision to keep government structures in the classic mode.  Of course some things once considered drastic are now loved.  Frank Lloyd Wright comes to mind.  One of the effects of some small towns keeping their original designs is the lack of businesses since farming has become more corporate and less dependent on local suppliers.

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The original layout has largely been maintained throughout the last century.


The first floor was dealer sales and service - the second floor was living quarters.


” Smokers “ were popular in small Minnesota towns - the men would drink & shoot pool while smoking.


A second floor bedroom was converted into a billiard room furnished with a table - ball & cue racks - score keeper.















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Jim, thank you for the additional photographs. One can just smell the dust and the decades of cigar smoke and it all adds to the "era" atmosphere.

Even imagine to hear some faint music from many decades ago - Paul Whiteman, Annette Hanshaw and  Roy Eldridge where are you when we need you..............

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Great to save an old building.  Being of solid masonry,

it should be around for 500 years or more if cared for.


If his budget allows, he could restore the front facade

for a relatively modest cost.  As an afficianado of old

architecture, I could immediately tell that the front

had been modified--as a car fan could tell that a 

1955 Chevy, for instance, was not original.


Thanks for posting the old picture.  The original second-story

windows, with their muntin pattern, really add character.  The 

first story clearly has brick infill now, and a modern garage door.

Restoring them to original appearance will add to the value

of the building and bring back character to that part of town!

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The City Of Kenyon replaced some architectural features and modified some doorways and windows during their ownership.


The work they did was to preserve the structural integrity - so it is understandable in a way.


But they didn’t save anything ....


A few weeks before Bob bought the building - an early portable jail cell that had been removed and was being stored by a local farmer was sold to a local scrap metal dealer ...


I encourage anyone near Rochester or Minneapolis to pay a visit when the madness ends ... 🙄


Bob is so very nice and down to earth ... 😉










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8 minutes ago, Trulyvintage said:

The City Of Kenyon replaced some architectural features and modified some doorways and windows during their ownership.

The work they did was to preserve the structural integrity - so it is understandable in a way...


As a structural engineer involved in building design

and construction, I assure you that those changes alone

didn't improve the structure.  Maybe there was an

under-designed long lintel that was strengthened during

the process.  Or did an engineer determine that the facade

required a greater length of shear walls?  But done properly,

the building could be restored to the correct appearance.


There's a lot of interest in historic architecture these days.

Several good window companies could supply correct


Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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This is a small rural town of 2000 folks in a farming economy.


There is no tourism.


Windows and doors were replaced as a practical matter - without much regard to historical design.


As were interior improvements to

the electrical - plumbing - water - heating systems that are visible.


To spend limited resources to change them back doesn’t make sense.








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