A couple of years ago I bought some locally raised meat from a farmer and went to purchase it from a butcher in a small town called La Salle, in southern Minnesota. I got lost and ended up in a really small town called Godahl. There were no businesses in operation other than a Coop that was housed inside an old building and had a historic marker next to it.
I was frustrated as I had no idea where I was, but happy the coop was open. When I went inside, I was taken back to another time like I just went into the “Twilight Zone.” The shelves were situated in the same way as a store from the 1930’s. The selection of items included factory made foods as well as homemade goods.
A woman in her fifties behind the 1930’s press button cash register was having a conversation with a man who appeared to be in his seventies. They looked at me with surprised eyes when I opened the door.
“Can I help you?” the woman asked.
“I’m lost,” I said. “I can’t find La Salle. But this is an amazing place and I just want to walk around and look at it.”
They turned to me, and smiled with eyes lit up by pride.
“La Salle is only four miles down the road,” the woman said, and she gave me a few more road directions.
“I’m coming back someday to take pictures and talk to you more if you wouldn’t mind?” I asked.
“We would love that,” she answered.
I never went back though I thought of it often, until recently. I bought a quarter beef from a local farmer and it was to be processed at La Salle. I couldn’t remember how to get to La Salle so I put the location on Map Quest and set out to get the meat that day as a blizzard was forecast for the next few days. Map Quest got me all screwed up and somehow I was driving on a road that would have taken me to Iowa.
I started thinking of the way to Godahl and it wasn’t too much longer before I found it. This time I did not go to the Coop because I knew the way to La Salle from the directions the woman had given to me.
I wasn’t able to get back to Godahl even though I wanted to, for a couple of weeks when the weather went unseasonably mild.
This old garage would make a great art studio, or maybe an awesome bar and restaurant. There are some fixer uppers that are not currently for sale, but you may be able to negotiate with the owners, if they are still alive.
I submitted these images and some information to #Ghosts of Minnesota.Com. Not sure if they will be interested in my idea for more pictures and stories or not. One thing I do know is that I am going back to go to the store again. It was founded in 1894 and is the oldest surviving coop in Minnesota.
I’m going back to Godahl for sure!