Lens on History: When the Weatherball is glowing red

March 13, 2019 GMT

The Brackenridge Building at 15 Second St. SW was the longtime home of Lyman’s Department store before the wrecking ball fell in the spring of 1956.

By the summer of 1957, the new Northwestern Bank was ready for occupancy. With a beige tile and red brick facade and floor-to-ceiling windows, the three-story building was a study in mid-century architecture. With a first-of-its-kind in Rochester drive-up window; you could do your banking from your car.

The top two floors became offices for many Rochester professionals, including the studios of KWEB radio.

There was one more feature of the new bank that Rochesterites had always wanted: their very own Weatherball. Northwestern Bank used its iconic Weatherball to forecast the weather by using different colored lights.

Can’t remember the colors? Any true Minnesotan of a certain age can sing the jingle for you.