Column: Here’s more information about the Herfindahl murals

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 30, 2003

There are two references in guides to this city about the murals created by Albert Lea Artist Lloyd Herfindahl who was born in 1922 and died in 1996.

One, under the heading of &uot;Exceptional Attractions,&uot; is on page 17 of the Visitors’ Guide issued about a year ago by the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau. It says:

&uot;Tour the three internationally known murals composed by the famous Lloyd Herfindahl, who called Albert Lea home. You will be able to see murals at the Naeve Hospital-Mayo Health Systems, city offices and the Freeborn County Courthouse.&uot;

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The second reference is on pages 21 and 22 of the &uot;Explore Southern Minnesota&uot; booklet issued by the state’s Office of Tourism. It declares:

&uot;Three public buildings in Albert Lea are adorned with internationally known murals by local artist Lloyd Herfindahl. You’ll find his work in the Naeve Hospital, the Freeborn County Courthouse and the city offices.&uot;

However, there’s more to this topic than just those two somewhat vague descriptive statements. Please allow me to be more specific. Here’s a more complete guide as to where to look and what to see regarding the Herfindahl murals in the city.

In reality, there are six artistic works by Herfindahl in the original part of the Freeborn County Courthouse. Three are displayed in the first floor lobby area. They are portraits of Rev. Dr. Guy Menefee and Ray Hemenway, plus a nice mural honoring Chester Nelson. Chester was the custodian at the Ramsey Elementary School from 1957 to 1974. This school no longer exists. Yet, Chester’s kind spirit as a friend to school children lives on with Lloyd’s mural.

The really large mural by this artist is on the south wall above the stairway to the second floor. It’s based on the history of Freeborn County.

Then there are two murals based on the history of law mounted on the east wall of Court Room Three, the county’s main court room on the second floor of the old courthouse building. However, these two murals may not always be available for public viewing. This particular court room is locked when not in use. Even the use of this place for a trial or hearing could still close off the court room, depending on the type of legal action (like juvenile, for example) is involved. Anyway, good luck on actually seeing these two specific Herfindahl murals.

Right about here I should emphasize that these art works are going to be put in storage for a few months sometime in the near future as the courthouse renovation projects evolve.

The Herfindahl mural in the &uot;city offices&uot; is accessible for viewing by a somewhat indirect route.

This large mural is on the west or back wall of the city council’s meeting room and has the history of government as its theme. What some folks call the council chambers is located on the top floor, or Clark Street side, of the City Center.

When one enters this building, the Albert Lea Public Library is on the left. Go right down the hallway and the second door on the left is the entry to the city council room. (On the right and across the hallway is the counter where we pay our water bills.) However, this door is usually locked. Not to worry; just go two doors further down the hall to the mayor/city manager offices. These fine folks will show the way to the location of this mural.

The Herfindahl mural at the Albert Lea Medical Center is now located on the wall in the hallway just to the right of the laboratory waiting area. It used to be located in the entry area of the Naeve Hospital. &uot;The History of Medicine&uot; mural actually consists of 11 separate panels with several small embedded historical objects.

There now, I hope this serves as a more complete guide to some of Lloyd Herfindahl’s art work here in Albert Lea.

Tribune feature writer Ed Shannon’s column appears Fridays in the Tribune.