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Winona Residents Shocked After Downtown Fire

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WINONA, Minn. (WCCO) – A Winona couple says they can’t believe a historic downtown building is gone after Friday morning’s fire.

Jerry Schuler and his wife, Karen, say they remember walking through historic downtown as kids — 70 years ago.

“Most these buildings downtown are old,” Karen Schuler said. “I mean, 1800s…so, it’s shocking.”

Three of those buildings are now total losses. One of those destroyed in the fire was on the national register of historic places.

“There’s a hole in our downtown,” said Mayor Mark Peterson.

The mayor says the last major fire downtown was in 1862, and then the city had to rebuild the entire block.

“This is unfortunate, but we will pick up and move on and try to help those businesses that are displaced,” he said.

There’s no decision if the three businesses and several apartments destroyed will be rebuilt.

“I know it won’t be the same, structurally, but I hope they rebuild them,” one resident said.

For longtime Winona residents, however, the buildings –and town –won’t ever be the same.

“I think the history is lost,” Karen Schuler said.

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