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Column: Brewster is still looking great after all these years

WORTHINGTON — I decided to take a drive one evening lately. Oh, I wish you had been with me. I saw a sight I never saw before.

I was in Brewster. It was shortly after 7. The sun was still above the horizon and still slightly in the northwest sky.

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The last time they remodeled Brewster High School, they installed aluminum frames. There must be three dozen of them on two levels. The name — Brewster High School — also is set off with an aluminum background. The sun reflecting directly off the shiny metal and the polished glass made a sight that seemed unreal — brilliant, gleaming double ivory. You had to wonder if they had come up with a new kind of lighting in the school rooms. The BHS name seemed like something on a theater marquee. As I say, I wish you had been there. You never would forget it.

If you haven’t been in the Brewster neighborhood lately, I can report everything is looking great. The biodiesel plant on the east side was glowing almost like the high school. The awesome maze of New Vision’s warehouse and concrete silos on the west side, in close-up, causes heads to turn. A rewarding ride.

Brewster High School has been carefully maintained through the passing decades. Across the way, in the Brewster park, the good old white bandshell also has been carefully preserved. I wish eight or 10 musicians would come together at Brewster some summer evening and do a bandshell concert. It would be fun for everyone.

I was thinking as I drove that you really can find no separation between Brewster and Worthington any longer. The communities are tightly bound by the extended Union Pacific railyards, the multiple UP tracks and the long lines of Union Pacific rolling stock.

I checked lately with the U.S. Census Bureau. They hold firmly with the decision to label our area not Nobles County but the Worthington Micropolitan Area, population 21,378. You can understand this when you note how Brewster and Worthington have been bound as one community. “You people are one community with several neighborhoods.”

I have been accused of “Old Think” more than once. I focus on years — 1870-1900 — when the pioneers worked and sometimes schemed to found and to build new towns — 15 of them all inside the borders of Nobles County. Changes in commerce, the passing of time, roads and new technology have erased our many city limits and have brought everything into one city. You can’t buy flippers and pineapples in Bigelow. You leave your ’burb and go to the Micro’s retail center for such. This is the “New Think.”

While I was driving along the streets of Brewster, I noticed the old Geyerman house is being remodeled and enlarged. Peter Geyerman was a son of Henry Geyerman, who was a soldier in one of the armies of Napoleon Bonaparte. Peter came to America and became a Brewster pioneer and retailer. Geyerman’s large general store with four big panes of glass at the front, facing east, had a following beyond the village limits. Peter built a house notable both for its size and it architecture, which was inspired by architecture of Europe. The house had a notable contrived peak at the front and it became a Brewster landmark.

In the late 1920s and through the 1930s going for drives in the family car on a Sunday afternoon became an American institution. Neighbors advised neighbors on things to see. If you are in Brewster, make sure you swing around and see the Geyerman house. That house appears now on the verge of becoming even more noteworthy. The Geyerman store is gone. Some may remember Saturdays from later times. Dick Cotter had the old store for groceries and people drove to Dick’s for meat and (especially) dried beef. Walking along Brewster’s main street in that time and stepping inside the store when the morning sun streamed over everything was a memorable shopping experience.

Peter Geyerman had two sons who took over the operation of the store — oh, a hundred years ago. A third son, Peter, named for his father, studied medicine even in England and Austria and became a doctor at Worthington.

Ray Crippen is a former editor of the Daily Globe. His column appears on Saturdays.