A couple of weeks ago I spent the weekend in Decorah, Iowa attending a wedding. All three of my children attended Luther College in Decorah so I’m no stranger to the town. But every time I am there I cannot help but admire the wonderful historic buildings they have in their downtown. As a builder I have great admiration for work of the past and know what is involved to keep and maintain these grand old buildings.

There are two corner buildings that have wonderful turrets as part of their second levels. This was a fairly common item for corner buildings years ago. Often the entrances were on the corner right under the turret, as is shown in the photo on the right.

There are several buildings in the downtown that have projecting box or bay windows on the second level. I snapped photos of a couple of examples that are very nice. These details involved some planning and detail work to get just right—-too big and they look clunky and too small and they look silly.

The brick work on several of the buildings is of excellent quality. It is interesting to see buildings that were obviously constructed at different times carry the same masonry theme. In this photo it looks like the shorter building on the right followed masonry detailing of the larger building on the left, including arch windows with keystones and the use of brick corbels at the top of the parapet wall.

In the midst of all these fine old buildings sits a new building. This ice cream shop opened last March. It filled in a spot where a building was demolished. I had a nice chat with the owner while I purchased an ice cream cone. It is a very modern looking building. Clients can walk up to the second floor and sit. There are all sorts of 1940’s-50’s era memorabilia on display including a three wheel ice cream bike and an old time water fountain on the wall. I think this building shows that new and old can co-exist in harmony.

If you are looking for a nice place to visit that is within easy driving distance (125 miles) Decorah fits the bill.