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Some pianos sold, some did not

By Staff | Apr 30, 2017

Mandy Warmka was thrilled to be the successful bidder on this piano during the auction at the Three Sisters buildings in Blue Earth on Saturday, April 22. It was definitely the one she wanted, she said.

While quite a few pianos and organs were sold at an auction at the “Three Sisters” buildings in Blue Earth on Saturday, April 22, many were not.

“I would say about a third of them sold,” says Blue Earth city administrator Tim Ibisch. “And to be honest, that is just about what we had expected.”

There had been around 40 pianos and about five pump and pipe organs that were part of the sale. Plus, there was also a large assortment of piano and organ parts, as well as a large amount of miscellaneous including household items and old movie posters.

Many of the items up for auction came from a time when the buildings had housed a music store and music museum. The upstairs of one of the buildings had also been the home of the local Masonic Lodge at one time.

The buildings and contents had been sold some years ago to a nonprofit organization called Hot Springs Citizens for Progress, located in Hot Springs, South Dakota.

Many of the pianos and organs were marked “NV” for no value, after they failed to bring a single bid at the auction held inside the Three Sisters buildings in downtown Blue Earth on Saturday, April 22.

However, eventually Faribault County took over the buildings and then gave them to the city of Blue Earth last year.

The items in the buildings, including all of the pianos and organs, stayed as the property of the county, but an agreement between the city and the county gave the city the right to sell off the property and use the proceeds to fix up the buildings.

The city and its Economic Development Authority (EDA) has plans to sell the buildings to someone willing to fix them up and use them.

“Our goal is to get these buildings sold and filled with businesses, and possibly also the apartments upstairs,” Ibisch says. “And to do that we have had to get them cleared out.”

Ibisch says the next step is to decide what to do with the remaining pianos.

“If anyone is still interested in any of the ones left, they should contact me at City Hall and we can look at them,” Ibisch says. “Of course, it is the better quality ones which sold at the auction, so the ones left could need some fixing up.”

The plan is to probably move all the pianos into one of the three buildings, at least for now, to get them out of the way. Eventually, they will have to be disposed of, Ibisch says. The goal is also to eliminate all of the other leftover things, including household items, which did not sell.

“We need to clean the buildings up as much as we can in order to properly show them to potential buyers,” Ibisch says. “Ultimately it will be up to the EDA and the City Council as to what happens next.”

One of those decisions will be made on Monday at the next City Council meeting, Ibisch adds.

“We did not have the large pipe organ upstairs in the Masonic Hall on the auction list,” he says. “But someone has made an offer on it and the council will have to decide whether they will accept it or not. I think they probably will.”