Another historic Betsy-Tacy landmark will soon be gone. The Butternut general store in Butternut (Butternut Center) collapsed sometime in December 2018. Although the building had been abandoned for years, it stood up to the weather until high winds likely brought it down.
Located about 20 miles west of Mankato, the village of Butternut was established in 1894, the same year the Lake Shore Creamery and a general store was built. By 1897 Butternut had a railroad depot, feed mill, harness and shoemaker shop, blacksmith shop, meat shop, livery, hotel, and town hall. The bustling village would have been in its heyday when Maud (Betsy) visited in the early 1900s.
Maud’s fictional name for the Butternut General Store was Willard’s Emporium. It was here that Betsy met Joe Willard.
“The store reminded her that in the excitement of her unexpected return, she had forgotten to buy presents. No Ray ever came home from a trip without bringing presents for the rest. Willard’s Emporium, said the sign above the door. It was one of those stores, perfect for her purpose, where everything under the sun was for sale. A single glance revealed kitchen stoves, buggy whips, corset cover and crackers. Betsy browsed happily along the overflowing counters until a boy sitting in a corner, eating an apple and reading a book, threw away the apple and came forward.” ~ Heaven to Betsy ~
These photos showing the remnants of the Butternut general store were taken January 8, 2019.