Monday, August 16, 2010
What brings us to Sauk Centre, Minnesota? Family.
This past weekend was a big, BIG reunion involving cousins, aunts and uncles. So we decided to spend some time up here and get a chance to visit Jim's Dad, who is 99 1/2 years old! and in a nursing home. The doctor's scratch their heads as to how his Dad is still alive because his kidneys are barely functioning. Up until a few years ago his Dad was doing pretty good, but lately he has really gone down hill and his quality of life has, too.
Sauk Centre, MN is famous (okay, semi-famous,) for two reasons: Sinclair Lewis, and the Palmer House Hotel.
Sinclair Lewis is a famous author who was born in Sauk Centre in 1885.
He became famous when he wrote the novel, "Main Street", based on life in a small town.
Altogether he penned 22 novels and 3 plays. He was the first American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature back in 1930.
This modest home is where Sinclair Lewis was raised. It is now a museum.
The name of the street where Sinclair Lewis grew up was changed to "Sinclair Lewis Avenue" and the other sign refers to the "Main Street" that Lewis refers to in his book, AND it is, indeed called "Main Street."
This is the Palmer House Hotel located in downtown Sauk Centre, and it is HAUNTED.
It was built in 1901 on the original site of the Sauk Centre House, the town's first hotel, which burned to the ground in 1900. The Palmer House Hotel was the first building in town to have electricity. It was a first class hotel filled with clientele who traveled by train to the town. Sinclair Lewis worked at the Palmer House, and used it as the model for the "Minniemashie House" in his 1920 novel Main Street. (Per Wikipedia)
The whole hotel is haunted, particularly rooms 11 and 17. Guests specifically asks for these rooms to see if they can experience any ghosts.
There is a small cafe off the lobby and we ate there one day on a prior trip. We found out that there are copies of "journals" that guests have written about their paranormal experiences. They were quite interesting. One woman saw an apparition of a young boy sitting on the stairs bouncing a red rubber ball. Later she found out that a young boy had died at the hotel. If you are interested in some of the stories, click here.
The Sauk River runs through the town and eventually connects up with Sauk Lake. The campground where we are staying is a county park with no amenities, except that it's right on the river, and you can experience sunsets like this over the river.
Of course, there's also boating and fishing. Down the street is a nice playground for the kiddies, and next to that is a band shell, where summer concerts are held each week.
Farther up the walkway is the adorable fountain of a boy and girl sharing an umbrella in the "rain".
I walked a little further to get a shot of the gazebo with the fountain in the background.
Sauk Centre is a typical small town in middle America. I find every place we go, no matter how small, offers something to learn.