In my family’s quest to visit the county seats of Minnesota, on a Sunday morning in early November we went on a trip to Glencoe, Gaylord, Le Sueur (not a county seat), and Saint Peter. We had never been to Glencoe before, and in all honesty, would find it unlikely to be there again, as our travels generally do not take us that far in that direction.
Glencoe, just past Norwood-Young America and thus 60 minutes Southwest of Minneapolis, is the seat of McLeod County, and is home to over 5600 people. While still mostly white, the Hispanic population is about 15%. It is most famous to the rest of the world as the site of a Louis Malle documentary “God’s Country“.
As with many such towns, there is a Courthouse, a Grain Elevator, churches, a school, a small set of local shops on a Main Street (the main corner I judge to be Hennepin and 11th), including a local cafe (Gert and Erma’s), a Hardware Hank, a bank, a post office, a former bank converted to something else, a local newspaper. There are also specialty stores not found in every county seat, e.g. Therapeutic Attainment Options, offering massage and bodywork, and a local watch store – which Central Place Theory says “should” be in higher order towns. Off the historic main street, but on the road connected to the highway, are the farm implement stores.
Glencoe is off of Highway 212 in an awkward way. [Map] A rebuilt Highway 212 is south of the old gridded town. Some newer suburbs have emerged just south of 212, enabled by the faster accessibility the divided highway brings.
A full set of photos are available on Flickr
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