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The 700 Cedar Building

The property at 7th Avenue and Cedar Street in Alexandria has long served the community.1 / 2
The 700 Cedar Building is currently home to more than 20 businesses and agencies.2 / 2

The property at 7th Avenue and Cedar Street in Alexandria has long served as a historical cornerstone to the city.

From a majestic, stately home of an early resident to a hospital and nursing care facility to a business center that houses more than 20 businesses and agencies, the property has long served area residents.

700 Cedar Street

through the years

In the early 1900s, the village of Alexandria received a gift of property to be used as a hospital - the L.W. Brown residence at 7th Avenue and Cedar Street overlooking Lake Winona.

In 1922, Dr. Edwin "E.J." Tanquist and his wife, Ada, came to Alexandria. He began operation of the hospital, which became known as the Tanquist Hospital, in 1927.

In 1930, the hospital expanded when a brick building was built adjacent to the original home.

In 1944, operation of the hospital was taken over by the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls and became the Our Lady of Mercy Hospital.

In 1954 the original building that had served as the Brown residence and the first Tanquist Hospital was razed and a new 40-bed hospital was added to the 1930 structure.

The 1930 building was used primarily as a residence for the sisters and later became the Tanquist Nursing Home.

In 1955, two hospitals existed in Alexandria - Our Lady of Mercy (40 beds) and the Douglas County Hospital (52 beds), located at its current location on Broadway. The two hospitals operated independently of one another, but served the same population and offered basically the same services.

In 1969 a legal merger was signed between the Douglas County Hospital Association and Our Lady of Mercy Hospital.

Obstetrics and pediatric services were conducted in the Cedar Street facility, while other hospital services were conducted at the Broadway location, until all services were moved there in 1974.

The Our Lady of Mercy Hospital site sat idle for a year before it was sold to K.J. Wakefield to be used as a chemical dependency center. The loan faulted and the property went into receivership and was later purchased by a group of local businessmen who named it the Marian Building and converted it into offices.

In 1989 the building was sold again to an out-of-state firm. Today, it houses more than two dozen businesses and agencies and is known as the "700 Cedar Building."

The building is managed by John Widmark of Alexandria, who noted that there is office and conference room space available for rent by the year, month, week, day or even hour.

For more information, contact Widmark at (320) 762-7587 or 762-1751 or e-mail

Meet and Greet

at Cedar Street

An open house event is set for the 700 Cedar Building on Tuesday, November 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesday, December 1 from 3 to 7 p.m.

The public is invited to rediscover what was formerly known as the Marian Building, and is now the 700 Cedar Building.

The event is hosted by Birthright - Crisis Pregnancy Center.

There will be free coffee, treats, door prizes and cash drawings of more than $200. There will also be supervised play and free stuff for all kids in attendance.

Tours will be given of the two dozen businesses and agencies that operate from the historic building.

The entire building is handicapped accessible.

Following is a list of the tenants taking part in the open house event:


Childcare Resources & Referrals

Judy's Curls & Styles

Peterson's Rare Books & Bargains

Payee Central

Breakthrough Bodyworks Massage Therapy

Aflac Insurance

Credit Services

RAAN (Rural Aids Action Network)

Somplace Safe

Agape Guidance Counseling & Coaching

Red Cross

Experience Works

West Central MN Community Action

Northside Mini-Storage

Tara Bitzan

Tara Bitzan is editor of the Echo Press. She joined the company in 1991 as a news reporter. A lifelong resident of Douglas County, Tara graduated from Brandon High School and earned a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications and English with a minor in Scandinavian Studies from Moorhead State University. She and her husband, Dennis, and their children live near Alexandria.

(320) 763-1211