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One of the most notable additions to the Little Log House Pioneer Village is the Cottage View Drive-In sign. Little Log House owner Steve Bauer acquired the sign earlier this year after Walmart purchased the property the drive-in once occupied along Highway 61 north of Keats Avenue in Cottage Grove. (RiverTown Multimedia photo by Katrina Styx)

Cottage View Drive-In sign finds new home

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Cottage View Drive-In sign finds new home
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The Little Log House Pioneer Village south of Hastings will open its grounds to the public in the annual Antique Power Show this week, and several new additions are joining the already diverse village.

One of the most notable additions is the Cottage View Drive-In sign. Steve Bauer, owner of the Little Log House Pioneer Village, acquired the sign earlier this year after Walmart purchased the property the drive-in once occupied along Highway 61 north of Keats Avenue in Cottage Grove.

The sign went up recently on the newer, 1950s end of the village, near the restored Porky's diner. Once it was lifted and secured in place, the sign had to undergo a complete refurbishment, including a fresh coat of paint.

This season, only the Cottage View sign will be in place. Bauer also purchased the screen and said he expects to have that up possibly for next year. He plans to play old movies on it in keeping with the decade. No modern films will be played there.

"We're talking some stuff that's way back in the '50s," he said.

A new building also has joined the village. In 2000, Bauer purchased an old bank in Wanamingo that had burned. He took the bank apart, and after 13 years has it put back together and restored. The building was built in 1918 as Security State Bank and later converted to an office building.

It's the inside of the bank that Bauer's really excited about.

"You'd have to go way back to the turn of the century to see something like this," he said.

While the exterior brick and limestone structure comes from Wanamingo, the old-west interior came from Rushford.

"This thing is really, really primitive," he said.

To go along with the old west theme, Bauer said there will be members of the Old West Society performing re-enactments.

Bauer has also added a 6,000-pound liberty bell, a remnant of old Red Wing. The bell has a four-foot diameter and stands about five feet tall. Made in the 1870s in Winona, the bell was used to alert people in the city of a fire and summon the fire department. Made entirely of bronze, it was in use in Red Wing for 67 years, Bauer said, and then was put into storage. Eventually, the Red Wing American Legion took it, but as aging members could no longer handle its weight, they figured they would take advantage of the high price of bronze, scrap the bell and use the money (roughly $1.75 per pound, Bauer said) to do other work in the community.

Bauer was able to talk with them, and they decided to sell it to him. Now the bell will decorate the Pioneer Village, surrounded by four flags representing the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and the Air Force.

The Carriage Club of America is getting involved this year. Horse-drawn carriages are on their way to the village from all over the country, and some from England have already arrived, Bauer said. The carriages originate from the 1850s to the early 1900s, a time before the first automobile was invented.

"These carriages are nothing you would see normally," Bauer said.

To round out the experience, a Ford Model T will also be on the grounds.

Visiting the Antique Power Show offers visitors a variety of experiences. For the young, it shows what life used to be like 100 years ago.

"It's something you don't see everyday," Bauer said.

But it's also an opportunity for families to connect with their elders and learn more about each other. The main street in the village is named "Memory Lane," and it's aptly named. Many older adults have memories of using some of the equipment or experiencing the type of lifestyle displayed there. Displays in the village often stir up those memories, which are often then told to younger family members and friends.

"It's quite a family event," Bauer said.

This year's Antique Power Show is scheduled for July 26 to 28. For more about the show, go to

Katrina Styx
Katrina Styx has been a reporter for the Hastings Star Gazette since 2010. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in journalism from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls. Prior to coming to Hastings, Katrina reported for weekly newspapers in Jordan, Minn., and River Falls, Wis.
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