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Tour of Dows Street Historic District


Across from the Post Office on the north side of Dows Street you will notice a row of wood frame commercial buildings with boom town fronts and cornices supported by brackets, so typical of late Victorian commercial architecture in the Midwest. Although they are plain and modestly sized, as was the Bohemian, or Czech way, it is unusual for so many of these buildings to have survived into the 21st century.

North Side Dows Boom Fronts 1

The largest building on the corner was built jointly by J.C. Dvorak and the Independent Order of Oddfellows, Lodge #581, in 1901. Dvorak's business downstairs was a hardware store and farm implement dealership. The Oddfellows met upstairs. They were an organizing force in Ely with their ethical precepts, community events, sports teams, and volunteer activities aiding folks who had fallen upon hard times.

Next door to the west was another general store also built in 1901 which remained in business until 1967.


Adjoining that is a small building with a peaked facade (2nd from left in the photo) which was recently rebuilt in the exact configuration of the old Telephone Office previously on the site.

And finally, on the alley is a 1901 building, originally a livery stable and then a butcher shop. (far left in photo)


NEXT –South Side of Dows Street