Red Wing Sewer Pipe Garage torned down

Sewer tile garage is now history

Red Wing Republican Eagle – Published October 12 2010
By Ruth Nerhaugen

It’s gone, but won’t be forgotten. On Sunday, Peter Jacobs tore down his unique garage made of conduit tile from the old Red Wing Sewer Pipe Co. factory that once operated just over the hill from his West Sixth Street home.

It’s gone, but won’t be forgotten.

On Sunday, Peter Jacobs tore down his unique garage made of conduit tile from the old Red Wing Sewer Pipe Co. factory that once operated just over the hill from his West Sixth Street home.

But first, the garage was documented and videotaped for possible inclusion in a new book or public television program.

Cathy Wurzer, a host of new Twin Cities Public Television’s “Almanac” and Minnesota Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” was at the site Saturday with a videographer, Jacobs said.

She is considering a sequel to her “Tales of the Road: Highway 61” project, which was published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press and also released as a video.

“The first edition did not include the clay works of Red Wing,” Jacobs said. Wurzer indicated a second volume probably would include both the Red Wing pottery and sewer pipe industries.

Few structures made of sewer pipe have been found aboveground. There’s a shed with a couple of walls on 21st Street, and a wall of a Red Wing Shoe Co. building on the east side, but nothing else quite like Jacobs’ building.

It was a two-story structure, with a garage at ground level and a walk-out garden shed below. The exterior walls were the same vivid red-orange as the day the garage was built, probably in the 1920s or ‘30s.


Safety issues

But while the conduit tile was as sturdy as ever, the wood floor, roof and support structure had deteriorated and it was not safe to use the 20-by-20-foot square building. The Portland cement holding the blocks together was crumbling as well.

Last fall Jacobs determined he needed to replace it with a usable garage, and began looking for a buyer for the 3-foot-long, vitreous tile blocks.

Despite interest in the historical aspect of the garage, he found no takers.

Wurzer, a member of the Red Wing Collectors Society, learned about the sewer tile garage through that organization and came to document its story as part of Red Wing’s industrial history.

The next day, it came down.

“It’s gone,” Jacobs said. But it wasn’t easy.

“We had a rotten pillar,” he explained, so he put a chain on it, hooked it up to a four-wheel-drive pickup and pulled it away.

“Nothing moved,” Jacobs said. So he got in a Bobcat and started pushing the walls in.

He’s stacking the 70-pound blocks and chipping off the mortar; most are still intact. Disassembling the building revealed that all of the blocks are stamped “RED WING.”

By the end of the week, Jacobs hopes to have some of the 200-plus conduit tile blocks for sale on Craig’s List. People also can contact him online at to talk about them or make an offer.

But one way or another, he doesn’t plan to keep them around for long.

He’s got a garage to build, a solar-engineered building he can actually use.

It’ll stand in the same spot as the sewer tile garage. And it’ll do double duty as a historical marker, because Jacobs plans to leave some of the blocks underground — like buried treasure, perhaps to be rediscovered by a future generation of archeologists.

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MidWinter 2011 Information Available!


Cmon Yall!
MidWinter Get Together

When: February 11, 12, 13, 2011

Where: Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites
4800 Merle Hay Road, Des Moines, Iowa.

Room reservations for 2011 now open!
CALL TODAY: 515-278-4755
Housing Information Sheet

Hotel Driving Directions

NOW Available:

Registration Form

Schedulecurrent as of Oct10

Seller Table Contract

Promote the MidWinter! Download today!
Event Poster
Small Flyer

Both are 8 1/2 x 11 sheets, four color

New Show and Sale Hours!
1:30 pm to 4:00pm
Move in 12:30pm – 12:45pm, Unpack & Set Up 12:45pm – 1:30pm

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RWCS Launches YouTube Channel

Red Wing, MN- The Red Wing Collectors Society (RWCS) has been a leader in the collecting club world in expanding its online presence and promoting the organization and membership benefits. Today, it announced the launch of a YouTube Channel.

Over the past year, the RWCS and its Membership Committee have been developing ways to attract new collectors and increase its membership numbers. In 2009, the RWCS launched its presence on several social networking, online collecting forums and antique blogs; YouTube is the next step in expanding the organization’s web presence.

Working closely with students at the Minnesota School of Business, Stacy Wegner, RWCS executive director, received two videos that were focused on membership benefits and how to become a member. In addition to these membership videos, the RWCS hopes to expand its channel to include short informational videos on how to start a collection, more information about the potteries of Red Wing, MN, and the Society’s annual events.

“YouTube is another way for us (RWCS) to promote our membership benefits and reach people interested in the Potteries of Red Wing in a new way,” Wegner said.
YouTube is the leading online video community that allows people to discover, watch and share originally created videos. It allows people and organizations to easily upload and share video clips on across the Internet through Web sites, blogs, social networking and e-mail.

To see the videos please click here.

The Red Wing Collectors Society was founded in 1977 in Red Wing, Minn. and is devoted to educating people about all American pottery. There are more than 4,000 members worldwide. The Red Wing Potteries had diverse pottery lines that included stoneware, dinnerware and art pottery. For more information or to become a member, call the RWCS business office at 800-977-7927, e-mail or log on to

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2010 Chapter Commemorative Exchange Pieces

2010 Convention

Chapter Commemorative Exchange Pieces

Each year the RWCS Chapters produce a commemorative for their Chapter Members. These pieces are available to their current members as outlined in their Chapter rules.

During the RWCS Annual Business Meeting held at the Convention in Red Wing, Chapter Presidents or their representative brings their piece to the meeting and exchange their commemorative for the RWCS Official Convention Commemorative. The Chapter Commemoratives are on display in the RWCS Business Office and can be viewed each day during Pottery Place Center normal business hours.

Click Here to read the descriptions of each piece.

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