Jannet Walsh

Litchfield and oompah music

In Family, Minnesota, Minnesota Native Daughter, Travel on September 9, 2010 at 1:34 am

By Jannet Walsh

Band stand and park bench at Central Park, in Litchfield, Minnesota.

Litchfield is my hometown.

Today I visited my hometown of Litchfield, Minnesota. It’s located on U.S Route 12, Grove City to the west and Darwin to the east. (I must go see the ball of twine in Darwin soon!)

My visit included a stop at Central Park, located across from the Meeker County Courthouse on U.S. 12, complete with an updated band stand like I played my French Horn in the summer city band when I was in high school. I remember playing a lot of oompah notes or downbeats for marching band songs made famous by John Philip Sousa.

Band stand at Central Park in Litchfield, Minnesota.

The Commercial Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996, according to the historic signs at the downtown park, with buildings dating from 1882 to 1945. There are about 40 buildings in the area that serve as examples of the late 19th and early 20th century business district of a small Midwestern farming community, according to the historic marker.

The Grand Army of the Republic Hall (G.A.R. Hall) located next to the Central Park, Litchfield, Minnesota.

Litchfield was named after the brothers E. Darwin, Litchfield, Egbert E. Litchfield and Edwin Litchfield. The brothers helped finance the construction of the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, later known as the Great Northern Railroad, in the area and other locations in Minnesota. (My late father, Martin J. Walsh Jr., worked for the Great Northern Railroad, but that’s for another day.)

I suggest you pay a visit to the Grand Army of the Republic Hall (G.A.R. Hall) located next to the Central Park. It’s a brick fortress building built in 1885 by Civil War Union soldiers to promote veterans causes and help their families. The historical marker notes this is the only building of its kind in Minnesota, meaning you need to visit. President Abraham Lincoln’s image is located outside the building under the U.S. flag.

Lake Ripley, follow South Sibley Avenue in Litchfield or Highway 22 southbound, has always been the center of activities for the community in all seasons. You can walk or ride your bike around the lake, about four miles according to www.litch.com.

I remember my first swimming lessons were at the beach at Lake Ripley. My mother Margaret I. Walsh would have a lunch ready after lessons and we would rest under one of the big trees by the shoreline. My Red Cross swimming lessons, including some of my lifeguard training was completed at Lake Ripley. I had a short career teaching babies to swim and life guarding at the local high school pool in Litchfield.

Litchfield is the town of many delightful memories from my childhood, but is also rich in history. Go to my hometown and explore!

Native Minnesotan Jannet Walsh is a blogger, columnist, journalist, photojournalist, terrier owner, hula hooper and more! Contact her at jannetwalsh@gmail.com. View her other blog at http://jannetwalsh.blogspot.com/.

  1. It’s located on U.S Route 12, Grove City to the east and Darwin to the west.

    Grove City is to the West & Darwin to the East. 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment!

      Yes, I saw I made the mistake last night after posting, but my internet connect is limited to a few locations, so I unable to edit. Maybe my directions will be better after I have adjusted back to my native Minnesota.

      Larry, are you from Darwin, the family that had or maybe still runs the hardware store in Darwin? Just curious. Best wishes, Jannet

  2. Have you read my books? They’re out of print now but some still floating around.

  3. Hi Jannet
    I happened across this article on line at the West Central Tribune of Willmar, MN. I live in Murdock and a stones throw from your Aunt Margaret. I can see her house out my door as I live kitty-corner to the NW from the Catholic church I also remember your father as he was a bit older than I but he was a railroad agent in the Murdock area before moving to Litchfield. I attended his funeral when he passed also.

    I have enjoyed your articles and will continue to look at them.

    Sheila Krattenmaker

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