Slight changes coming to downtown

Sid’s Signs workers look to tear down the frame where Eleanor’s banner once was. Sid’s Signs co-owner Jan DeLeo said it was taken down at the request of building owner Mary Ann Bezdichek.

NEW ULM — It’s beginning to look a little different in downtown New Ulm.

Several projects have begun recently to either fix or change part of the downtown or take something away entirely. The Eleanor’s sign, which has hovered over downtown since the early 70s, was recently taken down piece by piece.

Sid’s Signs co-owner Jan DeLeo said they were hired by building owner Mary Ann Bezdichek to take the sign down. Due to the disrepair the sign had fallen into, all of it was taken down and trashed. She said it was not saveable for historical purposes.

DeLeo said they used several pieces of equipment and a specific technique to take the sign down.

“We have crane and boom service and lifts to lift awnings,” she said. “There were four sections taken down and we took it down one piece at a time. Cut the fabric off first and then lifted the sections down.”

Patterson’s owner Ben Patterson stands in front of the construction happening at his store. He said the project should be completed in around 3 weeks.

Currently, there are no plans to replace the sign.

Across the street, work has begun on Patterson’s.

It has been a year since the plans were approved to renovate Patterson’s front facade due to a Nov 22, 2022 incident where a car accelerated into the storefront. Now repairs have finally begun. Owner Ben Patterson said the rebuild would satisfy historical standards and look brand new.

“We’re doing a facelift on the front of the building,” he said. “Putting in bigger windows and bringing in more lights while also retaining historical features. Best of both worlds.”

Originally the project was meant to be completed before the winter of 2023. Patterson said extenuating circumstances changed those plans.

Jeff Bradley works to clear gunk from behind the Kaiserhoff sign. While not as extensive as the Patterson’s or Eleanor’s projects, the Kaiserhoff will be freshened up and receiving a new coat of paint.

“There were some insurance holdups with a lack of adjustors in the area,” he said. “That’s what took the longest; to get them down here and take a look at it. Once they did get here at the end of the season, we went past the point we wanted to get it done. We didn’t want to do it in a cold month.”

Patterson said it had been so long since the damage happened that people had stopped pointing it out. He said to get the process underway after one and a half years is a huge relief.

“It feels like we’re getting somewhere now,” he said. “I think the last facelift was in 1979 so getting a new makeover on the front of the building is a long time coming. It fits with the rest of the theme downtown and keeps the old look with a modern feel. I’ve gotten compliments thanking me for keeping the business looking good.”

Workers just completed the demo stage, where they took the entire front of the building apart and down. Patterson said they will be reframing and bringing in the window next, and the remaining work should be completed in around three weeks.

While less extensive, Kaiserhoff is also getting some work done. Two workers were out Wednesday cleaning behind the sign and wiping down the exterior in preparation for a fresh coat of paint.


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