MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A drunken driver slammed into Liberty’s Restaurant and Lounge in Red Wing nine months ago.
For several weeks after the crash, no one knew if the historic building could be saved, including second-generation owner Doug Noreen. But all watched as it was put back together, brick by brick.READ MORE: Victoria Neighborhood Voices Concerns Over Level 3 Offender Matthew Vanhecke Moving In
Wednesday, a sense of pride was restored in the town with the big reveal. It was the countdown the city had been waiting almost a year for.
“The last time anyone seen it back in September, before they put the scaffolding up, there was a big hole and a big chunk of our building missing,” Noreen said.
He says Bauer Design Build noticed pillars in the debris that were original to the building built in the 1870s. He wanted to make sure to restore the iconic building back to its original form.
“We found some old pictures where they were exposed, and we have them exposed now. That will be the biggest thing for people to see is those pillars being exposed that haven’t seen daylight since the late 1800s,” he said.
Noreen says it was his customers and community who helped him through the tough times. He says seeing the crumbling of a business that has stood in Red Wing since 1975 was hard to take.
“The first couple of weeks was definitely some of the hardest times in my entire life,” Noreen said.READ MORE: One World Surgery: Twin Cities Surgeon-And-Nurse Duo Create World-Class Medical Center In Honduras
Mayor Michael Wilson says funds were raised to make sure restaurant workers, delivery drivers and the people who live above the restaurant had financial support.
“When something like this happens, it’s, you know, basically like part of your family got injured,” Wilson said.
He says that is when small towns thrive.
“It was something when this happened, and everybody came together and helped, and helped make sure that he could make it through these tough times,” Wilson said.
Now that the tough times are over, Noreen and Red Wing are celebrating the beginning of a new era.
“Hopefully it’s a great thing for the community and the whole downtown, and … Red Wing as whole,” he said.MORE NEWS: Many Restaurant Job Applicants Aren't Showing Up For Interviews
The reveal party was a thank you from Noreen to his hometown, which had his back for the past nine months.