Travels with Children

The adventures I embark upon with my four young children.

Owatonna’s “Jewel Box” Bank

 Jewel Box Bank in Owatonna

I had read about Owatonna’s Jewel Box bank in a few Minnesota travel guides, but I wasn’t convinced that it would be a good place to take the kids. After all, it’s a working bank, and I wasn’t sure if it would be a good idea to just walk in there with four kids and no business other than gawking around. When we were at the Village of Yesteryear in Owatonna, I asked the tour guide, as an afterthought, if it was worth seeing–and if they were accustomed to people just wandering in and looking around. He convinced me that we should go.

Still, I was undecided if it was worth a stop . . . meaning getting the kids in and out of their carseats an extra time. I decided to drive through downtown Owatonna and take a look, from the outside at least. When we drove around the town square, there was a parking spot available right by the front door of the bank. My excuses were pretty much gone since we didn’t have to cross a street or walk more than twelve feet to the door. So I gave the kids the “how do we behave in a bank” reminder speech and we headed in.

To the first employee we say, I apologetically said, “We’re just looking . . . ” To my surprise, she came over and asked the kids if they wanted to see a princess and an Indian. She ushered us into the bank president’s office since he wasn’t there at the moment, and proceeded to tell us the story of Princess Owatonna and showed us her picture on the mural in the president’s office.

She then told us how to get to the balcony so that we could get another view of things in this magnificent, beautiful building. The kids liked looking around and we couldn’t decide which we liked better–the grand murals on the walls or the beautiful stained-glass windows. It really was a sight to see.

More information about Louis Sullivan and his Jewel Box banks can be found at Sullivan’s Jewel Box Banks and Louis Sullivan’s Owatonna Bank.

If you’re in Owatonna, drive by the downtown square, and go into the Wells Fargo Bank if it’s open. If you’re fortunate to find the president absent from his office, you might get to see the princess and the Indian like we did. But if not, you’ll still be able to see the intricate designs that make this bank so beautiful.

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