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Businesses of years gone by live on, thanks to Hardwick native
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Mavis Fodness

Tucked inside a spare bedroom in Bruce “Buzz” Anderson’s Eagan home is a little remembrance of growing up in Hardwick during the 1950s and ’60s.
Resting on top of a 4-by 8-foot antique table, the miniature town started with an N-scale train 18 months ago.
“It sounds like a real diesel engine,” he said of the 1:160th scale locomotive.
The sound reminds the Luverne Class of 1966 graduate of when he and his friends would hang out at the Hardwick depot, especially when the 3 p.m. train came into town.
“We would be attuned to listening for that whistle and we would run down to the train depot to greet the conductor and the train when it got there,” Anderson said.
In his tabletop version, Anderson deviated from the traditional prairie landscape, adding a mountain along one side of his town.
Gradually, he added trees, foliage and a few homes complete with electric lights.
When it came time to construct the Main Street of his miniature town, however, he began constructing businesses from his childhood memories.
“It’s not an exact replica of the way Hardwick was laid out, but it’s got a lot of the buildings that Hardwick had when I was growing up,” he said.
His first replica has special significance.
For 34 years his parents, the late Elmer and Esther Anderson, operated the hardware store.
“I grew up in the store,” Anderson said. “My parents had me working when I was 6 years old, waiting on customers, putting away stock and pricing items.”
The store used to be in the southeast corner of Hardwick’s main street intersection. Today, it’s the location of the town’s veterans memorial.
Using pre-packaged model buildings from hobby stores, he paints and adds signage similar to their full-size models.
At times, however, making a reproduction has its challenges.
With his first replica, Anderson said the hardware store had a large yellow sign that read “Gilt Edge Paint – Anderson Hardware” attached to its side.
“I Googled to find the logo but couldn’t find it any place,” he said.
At a lunch date with his daughter one afternoon at a Mexican restaurant, he found the depiction of a parrot on a poster.
“That was in the logo from Gilt Edge Paint,” Anderson said.
Since then, Anderson has made model buildings of Jud’s Feed and Seed Supply, the post office, Raschke’s Clover Farm grocery store and the old Hardwick State Bank.
“I don’t have the Green Lantern yet, but I will get there,” he said.

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