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Cedar Building seeks 'history hoarders' and provides glimpses into past

Among her many discoveries, Tvrdik found out with research that the Cedar Building was once used as a hospital run by nuns. (Alexis Habberstad | Echo Press)1 / 2
Tvrdik found most of her resources on the history of the Cedar Building at the Douglas County Historical Society (Alexis Habberstad | Echo Press)2 / 2

Stephanie Tvrdik is calling all "history hoarders" in the area who have any knowledge about Alexandria's Cedar Building on Lake Winona.

As the building's manager, Tvrdik has been seeking out background on the property for the past several months in preparation for a Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce "Off the Clock" networking event the Cedar Building is to host at 4:30 p.m., Sept. 28. With any clues she can gather, Tvrdik plans to create displays that offer a glimpse into the history of the building at 600 Cedar Street, which was previously known as the Marian Building, Douglas County Hospital, Our Lady of Mercy Hospital, Tanquist Hospital and Brown residence.

Later this month there will also be historical exhibits throughout the building including information on Dr. Tanquist and L.J. Brown, both movers and shakers that helped to build up the town of Alexandria around the turn of the century.

The historical displays will also be available for public viewing starting this fall.

"I want people to see the building for what it's worth," she said. "We are a throw-away society in our culture. Whatever we can save, reuse and repurpose is good for our history."

The building, Tvrdik said, is not unfamiliar to most Alexandria residents.

"Everyone knows someone who was born here or had a baby here - or even today everyone has had their driver's test here," she said.

The building now houses a large variety of service businesses and offices.

As a history lover, Tvrdik said she has enjoyed the search and the stories and people she has encountered because of it.

"I'm trying to preserve any historical integrity I can," she explained. "If no one writes this history down or puts it out there, once it's gone, it's gone."

In her search thus far, Tvrdik said she has gathered some valuable insight on previous uses of the building. Despite her discoveries, though, there are "pieces missing in the puzzle," she said.

Tvrdik urges anyone who knows anything about the building or anyone who may have resided in it to contact her.

"I think some people are hoarding some history. Who's got it? Because I don't." she said laughing. "I have a lot of ideas, I just need an implementer - and someone who can hang pictures straight."

Tvrdik can be reached with any information or questions by phone at 320-763-6646 or email at

The Off the Clock event is open to the public and the cost of entry for Chamber members is $1 and a business card. Chamber members may make an announcement. All proceeds and any donations will directly benefit the Douglas County Historical Society.