Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Red Wing Minnesota Historic Mall District

Public Buildings Church Steeples Residences Rail Depots Ferry Landings and Landscaped Parks
The Red Wing Historic Mall District is located at the center of the original town; a piece of land running north and south between the Mississippi River and Seventh Street and along East and West Avenues and Broadway roughly outlines the District. The town's streets were laid out parallel to the river.
The buildings within the district are oriented primarily towards the river and along East and West Avenues and Broadway. As the land slopes gently upward from the river, the Mall widens, creating an impressive rise of parks, public buildings, church steeples, and assorted residences and other buildings. The irregular street formation, the open parklike spaces, the rich vegetation of landscaping around the churches and in the parks, and the concentration of churches and large public and institutional buildings set the mall apart visually and functionally from the commercial part of town to the east and the residential sections to the south and west.
The boundaries of the Red Wing Historic Mall District are determined largely by this unity that sets the Mall apart from its surroundings. Most of the buildings included in the District are located between East and West Avenues and bordering along these streets and Broadway from the river to Seventh Street. These boundaries jog out to include four areas that extend beyond the property immediately adjacent to the major streets defining the area:
Levee Park is included as the entrance to the mall; here are located the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Passenger Depot and the ferry landing.
The Fleischman complex extends west to approximately Dakota Street and serves as an anchor to the northwest portion of the District. The boundaries extend on West Third Street and West Fifth Street to include the C.F.J. Smith House and C.C. Graham House.
Dating to the 1850s, these houses anchor the district on the west side and contribute to the historic and architectural character. Both houses pre-date the buildings located between them and the mall: when they were built they bordered the mall directly.
The southern boundary of the District has been determined by the location of significant buildings which serve to anchor the corners of this part of the District.
Of the 49 buildings comprising the District twenty-two were built by 1890
Public and Institutional buildings of the Mall are the most prominent. Their scale and masonry construction make them stand out from the smaller, more modest residential and commercial buildings around them. The Goodhue County Courthouse occupies a prominent position on Fifth Street between East and West Avenues; Central High School occupies the block to the east of the Courthouse and faces the Mall; The Post Office, Red Wing Public Library, and T.B. Sheldon Memorial Auditorium flank the Mall off of Third Street; the YMCA stands prominently on the northeast corner of Main and Broadway; the Milwaukee Road Passenger Depot is located to the east of Broadway in Levee Park at the river and railway entry to the city. Seven churches are also scattered along the Mall, the most prominent being Christ Church, which faces John H. Rich Park and the river on Third Street.
The three parks located within the District, Central Park, John H. Rich Park, and Levee Park, further set this portion of town apart as a public place. They are integral to the Mall's composition, providing ample open spaces and vegetation to set off the large public buildings. Several residences and commercial buildings and one industrial complex on the waterfront are also located within the District and its historic character and active role in the community's history.
The appearance and function of the Historic Mall District has not changed significantly over time
The Mall changed the most during the first decade of the twentieth century when many of the more substantial civic buildings were built and when the John H. Rich Park and Levee Park were established.
The continuity of the mall's design and function makes it distinctive and worthy of recognition and preservation. Additionally, Red Wing's mall is unusual in that civic malls of this size are very rare in Midwestern towns.
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