Kappel Wagon Works, Red Wing Minnesota

Date added: February 22, 2024 Categories: Minnesota Auto Companies
Southwest (1978)

The Kappel Wagon Works is a rare surviving example of one of Red Wing's vanished businesses. Small manufacturing businesses such as Kappel's were prominent among Red Wing's early businesses and played an important role in the town's commercial development.

Wagon manufactories flourished in Red Wing from the early days; some dozen firms were engaged in the wagon-making business at various times in Red Wing's history. Kappel's was one of the largest of these businesses and longest surviving. It was founded in 1865 by Michael and John Kappel, brothers who came to Red Wing in the early 1860s. The original building was torn down in 1875 and replaced by the present structure. A local furniture store owns the building and uses the upper two floors for furniture storage. A bottled gas company occupies the first floor.

The building today retains a significant degree of its 1875 appearance. This may be due in part to its location on the eastern edge of Red Wing's commercial district. Unlike most of Red Wing's downtown commercial buildings, Kappel's has not experienced a succession of modernization efforts.

Building Description

The Kappel Wagon Works is located on the south side of West Third Street between Plum and Potter Streets, on the eastern edge of Red Wing's commercial district. Just past Kappel's the street turns north, becoming U.S. No. 63, and crosses the Mississippi River into Wisconsin. The building stands out from its surroundings as the only surviving commercial building from Red Wing's early days on this edge of town.

The building is a three-story rectangular brick commercial building with brick coursework separating the first floor from the top two floors and more decorative brickwork forming the cornice. Brick pilasters at the corners of the building and between the windows separate the six bays on the street facade. The windows on the upper two floors are arched with stone keystones and sills. The window openings on these floors have been covered over with fireproof synthetic board. The first-floor facade is comprised of arched window and door openings extending from the street level to the ornamental brickwork separating the first and second floors. The building is symmetrical with a doorway in the center of each half flanked by large windows. The original windows are largely intact, the lower panes of three of them have been partially boarded over. The doorways have been altered, but the arched openings remain. The building has been relatively well maintained, and a great deal of the original design has been retained.

Kappel Wagon Works, Red Wing Minnesota Street facade North elevation (1979)
Street facade North elevation (1979)

Kappel Wagon Works, Red Wing Minnesota North elevation (1979)
North elevation (1979)

Kappel Wagon Works, Red Wing Minnesota Southwest (1978)
Southwest (1978)