Your Town Tuesday: The Unique People, Places and Things of Holdingford [VIDEO]
HOLDINGFORD – This week on ‘Your Town Tuesday’ we take a walk along the Lake Wobegon Trail to Holdingford. As you come into town along the trail you will pass under the iconic covered bridge.
At 186 feet long, it is the longest covered bridge in Minnesota. Joe Christensen, of the Holdingford Historical Society, has been a part of the covered bridge since its conception. He told me about the day the town began talking about it.
“And one of our members, Bob Peterson, was in the army and had done projects like this and he said maybe the army reserve could help. So, he got going on that, and we got a couple builders in the club, and designers and whatever and we created this thing.”
Christensen went on to give credit to the 367th Engineering Battalion from Mankato for helping put the bridge together. It was actually built in Mankato and then shipped to
"…it’s nice to hear them say ‘thanks for making this bike trail really look nice, it’s one of the nicest ones around."Holdingford. Christensen said the community pitched in, staining all the wood on the outside, as well as hosting the army while they were in town.
The bridge acts as a gateway to the rest of the community of Holdingford. Along the trail you will find a sculpture telling the story of Holdingford, a garden put together by the Petals to Pedals Garden Club, a kids’ playground, and a place to go camping.
As I made my way up the trail I came to the Pedals to Petals Triangle Garden. Pedals to Petals was established in 2007 after the community showed interest in having a gardening club in town. Since then they have grown to 10 members and manage different gardens along the trail. Lois Schmit, a member of the club, said that they have always had one goal.
“Our goal is to beautify the community and since the Wobegon Trail is running through Holdingford we have maintained and made new gardens along the Wobegon Trail. Gardens along the box car, and the Wobegon Shelter.”
Pedals to Petals felt that the trail needed to be utilized and saw the trial as an asset to the community — something to be maintained and built upon.
The club was even able to secure a grant to put in an irrigation system along the trail to help their gardens and their mission to beautify the trail.
Pedals to Petals member Barbara Konsor says the community has been very supportive.
“Lots of response, and it’s really nice. All the bikers that come through on the bike trail and when we are working in the flower beds, or in the triangle over there, or even doing the weeding, no matter where they are from they stop, and we get to know the bikers, the bikers get to know us, and it’s nice to hear them say ‘thanks for making this bike trail really look nice, it’s one of the nicest ones around.’ It gives us a little more incentive to keep it going.”
One of the last things you see as you leave Holdingford is an old train car that was left by the Soo Line. Murals portraying Holdingford were painted on the old car.
One of the pictures was of a baseball team from 1947 whose members were all from the Ebnet family. I happen to run into one of the members of that baseball team while I was in Holdingford.
Elmer Ebnet was born and raised in Holdingford and after some time in the service, he moved back to Holdingford, saying that he had seen as much of the world as he cared to.
Ebnet remembered the days of the Ebnet Baseball Team and told me some other stories of his baseball days.
“I hit my last home-run when I was fifty years old. I went up to the high school, and we decided to play the high school team. They loaded up the bases and I cleaned them out at fifty.”
There’s so much more in Holdingford you’ll have to head into town for yourself.
Be sure to check back as ‘Your Town Tuesday’ continues to feature the unique people, places, and things that Central Minnesota has to offer.