Prairie Profiles: Art Rudolph

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 10, 2006

Retirement on the north side

By Ed Shannon, staff writer

We like it here,&8221; comments Art Rudolph who has lived in the same home on Albert Lea’s north side for 55 years. And it’s here where he and his wife, Helen, raised six children (three boys, three girls)

and have observed many changes in this part of the city.

The Rudolphs came to Albert Lea in 1944 and moved to their present home on Marshall Street in 1951. They both grew up in the town of Harding, located northeast of Little Falls. And a coincidence they enjoy mentioning is the fact that Albert Lea’s Harding Avenue has its south end less that a half-block from their home.

He started working at the nearby Wilson & Co. plant, then later at Queen Stove

which was even closer to his north side home. This was followed with employment at Scotsman, the successor of Queen. Rudolph retired in 1985.

&8220;We’re the only ones

left on the block,&8221; his wife commented as they reminisced about all the people who have lived nearby during the years. &8220;The neighborhood is still changing,&8221; she added.

The Rudolph home is up on a high point on Marshall Street. Thus, they can somewhat look down on a part of the city which has gone through many changes during the past five decades.

&8220;All we needed was nearby,&8221; Art said.

As proof for this, he said at one time there were three small grocery stores on the north side. Across from their home was the Cornick Store, and not far away was Larson Brothers and Oscar Dahl’s Store.

Also based on the intersection of Bridge Avenue and Marshall Street was a Mobil service station on the corner, what was then Security State Bank (now Security Bank Minnesota), a dry cleaner, drug store with a soda fountain counter,

hardware store, a small cafe, barber shop, a liquor store, what he calls &8220;two beer joints,&8221; a sheet metal shop and a lumber yard.

One place the Rudolphs really enjoyed going to for both dairy supplies and treats was the Albert Lea Cooperative Creamery.

Another nearby place they recall is the Lakeside Cafe near the bridge and dam.

&8220;It was just like a nice little town,&8221; he said.

Still another advantage they mentioned for their location is that they don’t have to go very far to find a place to watch the local parades as they pass by on Bridge Avenue.

Across the street near the Johnson Street intersection was the North Side Grade School. It’s here where their children went to kindergarten, and it’s here where their children also enjoyed using the playground facilities. Not far away was the playground at Valley Park. And at the west end of Johnson Street was the city beach, which in previous years was a very popular place for warm weather recreation..

The Rudolphs said their children walked to school at St. Theodore’s and later at Albert Lea High School They added this involved contending with some really rough

winter weather conditions for part of the way while walking on the sidewalk along Bridge Avenue on the south side of

Fountain Lake.

&8220;We’ve really enjoyed living here and seeing so may people. And through the years we have seen so many changes, &8220; he concluded.

(Contact Ed Shannon at or call 379-3438.)