The exterior of the clock affixed to the former Farmers and Merchants State Bank building (now Kevin Anundson's State Farm) is the original from 1916. The inside mechanisms were replaced 10 years ago. The clock was taken down for several years and replaced by a digital version until the original one was restored and returned to the building.  This undated downtown scene of Minneota shows the original clock on the Farmers and Merchants State Bank building.


Clock took a licking, but keeps on ticking

Years ago, it was the norm for banks to have a large clock affixed to the corner of their building. As the years went by, those clocks were removed and replaced with modernized by digital boards that include the time, temperature and messages.
One of those yesteryear clocks, though, remains is on the former Farmers and Merchants State Bank building built in 1916 that now houses Kevin Anundson's State Farm Insurance business.
Even that clock was replaced for a short while with a digital clock that had been anonymously donated to the city. The original clock was then tucked away in storage.
"The clock was in disrepair and the city was approached by an anonymous person that wanted to donate a new clock, which they did," said Anundson, who took over ownership of the building in 1990. "I then offered the city to take the original clock, which then did and stored it in a shed."
Todd Bretschneider, a former Minneota city councilman and business owner of Brick's Auto Body, was adamant about restoring the original clock and returning it to its original place on the corner of First and Jefferson Streets.
"Every month during our city council meetings starting in 2008, I put the clock on the agenda," said Bretschneider, who teaches Auto Body at Lake Area Technical School in Watertown, SD, where he lives. "It got to be kind of a joke that I would keep putting the clock on the agenda.”
Finally, the council relented to Bretschneider's request.
"Todd took on the project of raising the money and overseeing the project to restore and put back up the clock you see today," said Anundson. Bretschneider sandblasted the clock to make it look new again. The top and bottom caps were smashed in and Tom Johnson straightened them out.
The exterior of the clock and the hands and numbers are original.
"The 'Welcome to Minneota' on top of the clock was on plywood at one time," said Bretschneider. "I duplicated it as much as possible. Dusty Anderson did the artwork on it."
The mechanism's inside the clock were not functioning anymore so Bretschneider went online and found a company in Iowa that could restore them.
"They came down and looked at the clock and gave us a price on the repair cost," Bretschneider noted. "We then hauled the clock down to Iowa on a trailer to get it working again."
Bretschneider admits that when he now returns to Minneota, the clock grabs his attention.
"I lived 47 years of my life in Minneota, as well as three generations before me," he said. "That clock was there when I was growing up so it was important to me to get it put back up. I look at it every time I come to down."
At one time, there was a dentist and doctor's office, as well as a law office upstairs in the former bank building. H.P. Tillemans was a longtime president of the Farmers and Merchants State Bank.
When the present Bank of the West building was built in 1962, the former Farmers and Merchants State Bank moved to that location. Albert and Margaret Boogaard bought the former bank building turned it into Boogaard's Clothing/Variety/Crafts Store until 1990 when Anundson purchased the building.
Despite all the changes to the former bank building and the downtown businesses over the years, the clock is back in its rightful place and has withstood the test of time.

Todd Bretschneider

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