Why Gilbert? Good question. You might ask that all month long, perhaps, so I'll tell you what's up. This month we look at four towns, the Quad Cities of the Iron Range. Each town had its own character; Gilbert's might be summed up by an attempt in 2005 to hold "Whorehouse Days" to celebrate its past. (City Council nixed it.)

The population is below 1,800 souls, down from 3500 in the mining days of 1920. So this sems apt:

I'm sure it's fixed by now.

The most basic small-town government building possible:

Just a little massing to show it's important, and just the hint of curves to show it's modern.

The building on the left looks like a kindly robot who plays the "dumb hick" role; you can hear it say "duh-uhhhh" like a Warner Brothers cartoon moron:

I'm onfident the building on the right was a gas station, but the bays were oddly situated.

 

The force of gravity is so strong in Gilbert the letters are frequently dislodged:

The pop machine looks like a little pet, with its own concrete apron.

THE GLADIATOR.

It's a strip club.

You're wondering: is everything covered with siding? Look to the right, and there's some Buckaroo Revival full enshinglement. Isn't there any naked brick in town?

Yes: At Yo'r Mudders Place.

Who ever spelled YOUR like that? Note the Buckaroo Revival shingles over the second-story windows - oh, that really kept the blazing sun out.

The architect of the building above apparently sold the plans to whoever wanted them:

Another of those buildings that look like it lost a fight.

You'll note that the town is not underserved when it comes to drinking establishments.

This poor fellow is wearing a Phantom-of-the-Opera style mask, perhaps to hide horrible scarring:

Couldn't center the letters for the anal-retentive types in town, could you? Did that just to irritate them, didn't you?

Finally, a sober citizen:

Doric columns for extra seriousness; clock for civic responsibilty. The facade does look as if you could peel it off with a crowbar, though.

From the days flush with money, the City Hall. Complete with fancy terra-cotta.

 

There's something about that space on the left that says it was used for something besides office space. It was one broad window, as indicated by the ornament above - a garage? Fire station?

To emphasize the point about all the siding:

Who knows what interesting facades were smothered-up. It does give the buildings individual identities, but they look a bit scuffed and busted now.

So why did I do Gilbert? Because a young lad walked past this building, and I'd like to think he was making amusing sounds as he imagined the noises made by comical animals.

 

This was the birthplace of . . .

Tregoweth Edmond "Treg" Brown (November 4, 1899 in Gilbert, Minnesota, USA – April 28, 1984) was a motion picture sound editor who was responsible for the sound effects in Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons starting in 1936. Before that, he worked with Cecil B. DeMille. Adding to this, he also gave legendary Warner voice actor Mel Blanc his big break. He also won the 1965 Academy Award for Sound Effects for his work on the film The Great Race.

In the famous Warner Bros. cartoon One Froggy Evening (1955), the skyscraper into which Michigan J. Frog is entombed is named the "Tregoweth Brown Building".

One more thing: when folks tell you that the mine's played out, they're not kidding.:

 

Wikipedia:

Lake Ore-be-gone is a 140-acre artificial lake, formed by the flooding of three open-pit iron ore mines, within the city limits of Gilbert, Minnesota, USA.

Since the flooding of the mining pits, the area around the lake has been subject to land reclamation, and there now exist beaches and docks. As of June 2011, the beaches previously closed due to low water have been excavated and a new swimming area and boat landing are in the works.

Yes, the name is a reference to a certain famous, and mythical, Minnesota town.

Have a look for yourself: here's Gilbert.