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[graphic] J. H. Austin Block
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[photo] Austin Block, now The Thoughtfulness Shop
Courtesy of Lorraine Draper

This 25 foot by 85 foot two-story Sioux quartzite building was constructed by P. H. Theil in 1902 for J. H. Austin. The historic building is notable for its checkerboard-patterned frieze made from alternating pieces of Jasper and Sioux quartzite, and for its Jasper quartzite belt course. Austin's Confectionery operated in this building from its inception in 1902 until Austin's bankruptcy in 1914. The 1893 Columbian Exposition introduced many Americans to a machine which mass-produced candies or "confectioneries." Confectioneries, like Austin's, during this time also sold items other than sweets, such as tobacco and other foodstuffs.

Over the years, the building became home to a number of different businesses including a hospital run by Dr. Richards in the 1920s, and a grocery store, which inhabited the space

Historic image of the Austin Block, c1910
Courtesy of Pipestone County Historical Society

for 26 years. Apartments and other professional offices once occupied the second floor, but now are vacant. Several barbershops and ice cream and candy factories have also occupied the basement level. The facade of the building has changed when red tiles replaced the transom lights and aluminum siding once covered the first floor facade. Despite these alterations, the building remains important to the city of Pipestone.

The J. H. Austin Block is located at 124 West Main St., Pipestone. Now the Thoughtfulness Shop, it is open during regular business hours.

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