Archived Story

Iconic building on Cascade St. demolished [UPDATED]

Published 11:41am Tuesday, November 5, 2013 Updated 1:20pm Tuesday, November 5, 2013

In Fergus Falls, the building at 305 S. Cascade St. has been home to the city’s buses and cabs, a service station and multiple car dealerships. There have been apartments on the top floor of the building and service tanks buried on the property.

The building’s current owner, Mike Rudh, has been there since 1985. But Rudh is moving his Rudh’s Auto Sales to Underwood and the building has reached the point where it was cost-prohibitive for someone else to buy it.

“The cost of repairs outweighed the benefit to anyone,” Rudh said.

So the building is being demolished.

Earl Strande Excavating is handling the demolition. Rudh has been cleaning out the inside of the building for the past two weeks, going through the vast back rooms which used to hold the school buses in preparation for the move.

Rudh’s Auto Sales closed its doors on Friday, and Rudh had friends and family help him move the cars from the lot to the new site in Underwood. Rudh usually has between 15 and 20 cars on site, but had been selling down recently and had just seven cars to transport to Underwood.

“I knew this day was close,” Rudh said.

Rudh bought the building from Otter Tail Power Company in 1985. For much of his time in the building, he also managed the two upstairs apartments, but those become untenable several years ago.

The past few months have been ones of reflection for Rudh. Going through the property’s history recently, he found the land was plotted in the 1860s and the cost for gas was just 5 cents per gallon when the building was a service station in the 1930s.

But some of his favorite moments in the shop involved his family, including his son Jake.

“He just enjoyed coming down here and being able to work with dad in the shop,” Rudh said. “Those were some of the fonder memories.”

The demolition brought out mixed emotions in Mike’s wife Luann Rudh, who has been a part of the business since the beginning. She really appreciated the number of people who stopped by the demolition site Monday to wish her and her husband good luck in the future.

“It was pretty bittersweet, knowing that it had to be done because of the condition of the building but also knowing it was our business home for 28 years, Luann Rudh said.

Mike Rudh will be keeping the shop’s name at the new Underwood location, which should be open by the end of the week. He does not plan to work as many hours and would like to be able to fish a lot more.

But Fergus Falls will always hold a special place in his heart.

“I would like to sincerely thank anyone who did business with us,” he said. “We appreciated it very much.”

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