Saturday, September 8, 2012


"moorhead laundry" 3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

As usual I was looking through newspaper archives for something inspiring. I came across a 1933 ad for Moorhead Laundry and thought it would make an interesting "layer" for this composition. Of course I just couldn't be satisfied there. Where was Moorhead Laundry? Was there a picture of it anywhere? Who owned it? Well, I got all my questions answered. Here is the story:
In his native Germany, Bruno Kippels learned the trade of a miller and that of a baker and remained there until the summer of 1880, when he came to this country, landing at the port of Baltimore, August 1. A few weeks later he came on out to Minnesota and located at Moorhead...

Mr. Kippels built the public abattoir in Moorhead and he still owns the same. In October, 1914, he bought the Moorhead laundry and has since owned and operated the same with much success, the excellent character of the work turned out at his laundry having recommended the place widely throughout this section.
Mr. Kippels has put on the market three quite successful inventions, a children's merry-go-round, a clothes hanger and a plaiter.

source: Clay and Norman Counties, Minnesota by John Turner and CK Semling, 1918
So now we know when Mr. Kippels bought the store and who he was. This is his photo, with his bride, Martha Mary Kuppich. His inventions also piqued my interest and I found the US patents for two of them here, the dryer and the plaiter.
Click on images to enlarge:

Mr. Kippels died in 1940, but Moorhead Laundry was still in business in 1944 when this shot was taken:

Detail of "The Moorhead Laundry of Moorhead, Minnesota" in a shot by David Anderson, photographer, 1943/44 when the Red River of the North flooded the area.

source: Photo Gallery of the NDSU Institute for Regional Studies

And maybe, just maybe, this sweater was washed there...

 "just washed" 3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

View complete set on flickr. 


  1. Bruno Kippels was my great grandfather. He operated a slaughterhouse across the street from the laundry. I'm thrilled to have found your blog!

    1. Thank you for letting me know this. I think it's great that you know your family history, I also love genealogy, so your responding makes me feel good. I would love to see any other photographs you might have and learn more about Bruno Kippels, if you are willing to share. You can email me privately at if you would like. I would love to hear more.
      PS. I took a look at your blog. What amazing images and adventures.