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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • Photographer N.B. Anderson captured Redwood’s early days

  •   If a picture is worth a thousand words, a photographer plays a huge role in the story of any event. While still true today, it was even more the case in the early days of Redwood Falls, and standing behind the camera taking those pictures was  Niels B. Andersen....
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  •   If a picture is worth a thousand words, a photographer plays a huge role in the story of any event. While still true today, it was even more the case in the early days of Redwood Falls, and standing behind the camera taking those pictures was  Niels B. Andersen. Andersen, who came to town in 1884, immediately established himself as a photographer extraordinaire and took photos of some of the most important events and people in town. Born near Copenhagen, Denmark Jan. 29, 1855, Andersen came to the United States with his family when he was 14. He started working in the field of photography when he was 28. The very next year, he arrived in Redwood Falls.  According to the Redwood Gazette, when he was dropped off he made his way to the current photo gallery and within a short period of time became its new owner. The era of N.B. Andersen Photography was born. In 1889 a fire burned the original Andersen studio to the ground, but the businessman quickly adapted erecting a large tent on the site soon after the fire. By the turn of the century, Andersen had a new storefront and a well-established photo business in the community and captured the history of a community through its events and its faces for nearly 60 years. While Andersen dabbled in meteorology and spent a number of years serving as an official weather observer for the federal government, it was truly in his photographs that Andersen’s reputation had grown. “His portraits by the thousands are of people almost impossible to identify now, stretching as they did over three decades, but they have recorded the faces of the pioneers, farmers and merchants and the styles of dress of the day,” recorded the Gazette in its Jan. 2, 1964 edition. For years the public benefitted from the work of Andersen, and long after he gave up photography his photos were still admired. In fact, the negatives of those photos became a valuable part of the town’s historic record. Unfortunately, said Gary Revier, local historian, those negatives have disappeared. However, he is confident they are still somewhere in the community, and one day he believes they are going to reappear. Andersen took many photos of street scenes in Redwood Falls and recorded events, including when the first car rolled down the street. Andersen’s wife, Sarah was killed in a automobile accident in 1936. She was struck by a car as she was returning to the photography studio. The couple had moved to Florida for a period of time, but returned to Redwood Falls to live out the rest of their lives. Andersen died in 1944 and is buried in the Redwood Falls Cemetery. Today people still enjoy the photos of Andersen. He certainly left a legacy behind that helps tell the story of those early days in Redwood Falls.
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