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The saga of the Sisters continues

May 14, 2017
Chuck Hunt - Register Editor (chunt@faribaultcountyregister.com) , Faribault County Register

It has been an interesting saga to watch unfold over the past 10 years or so.

The saga of the Three Sisters.

I noticed them when I first moved to Blue Earth. I did a lot of walking around back then, checking everything out.

Article Photos

Jim Hamann with his recent purchase – the large pipe organ in the upstairs (former Masonic Lodge) of the Three Sisters.

Wow, I thought. There is a music store and a music museum right downtown. How cool is that?

Well, not so cool, as it turns out. They were there, alright, but they didn't seem to ever be open. I peeked in the windows as much as possible just to see what was inside.

The answer was, lots and lots of pianos, with a few organs tossed in as well.

We have chronicled the saga since then. The Sisters were owned by Paul Amundson, who did indeed once have a music store and museum in them.

It was Amundson who once told me that there were not Three Sisters, but actually Four Sisters. The building in the back (not facing Main Street) has its own separate deed.

Amundson sold all four sisters to a non-profit group in Hot Springs, South Dakota, called Hot Springs Citizens for Progress.

The problem was, of course, they never made any progress on the Three Sisters. Or the fourth one either.

It was the president of the Hot Springs group, Robert Johnson, who first gave me a tour inside of the Three/Four Sisters. I got to see all four buildings, from basements to the second floor apartments.

And, of course, the former Masonic Lodge Hall. It had a complete huge kitchen and dining hall in the upstairs of what would be Sister No. 4. It opened up into the actual Masonic Lodge meeting room which is above the far south Sister building.

Johnson was actually camped out in the Masonic Lodge during his stays in Blue Earth despite the fact there wasn't any heat or electricity.

It was during his guided tour that I saw this massive pipe organ in the Masonic Lodge. It was huge and beautiful.

Johnson would not let me take any photos of it. Or of anything else inside the buildings, for that matter.

His reason was he didn't want anyone to know what was inside, fearing break-ins and theft, I suppose.

Like anyone could hoist this monster-sized pipe organ on their shoulders and carry it away. The thing is attached both to the floor and the wall.

But now, many years later, a photo of the organ is gracing our front page of this week's Faribault County Register.

The organ was purchased by Jim Hamann, of Iowa Falls, Iowa, and he had no problem with me taking a photo of him and his new toy.

Hamann and his crew of two helpers (fellow organ enthusiasts) will spend several days taking it all apart, crating it up, and then trucking it to Iowa.

There it will be stored until he figures out exactly what he will do with it, Hamann says. He would like to see it installed in a church someday.

But, he for sure did not want to see it simply demolished and disposed of. That will be the fate of all the other pianos and organs that did not sell at the recent auction.

Now the next part of this project is underway. The city and its EDA are asking anyone interested in the buildings to fill out a proposal of what they would do with one, two or all three (or is it four?) buildings.

All of us in Blue Earth are hoping it is something wonderful. Or several new businesses of any kind.

Like maybe a Chick-fil-A, right Tim Ibisch?

 
 

 

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