Lanesboro to be featured in Smithsonian magazine
LANESBORO — As a member of the Smithsonian Institution, rural Lanesboro resident Dr. Jan Meyer often reads "Our Kind of Town," an occasional series in Smithsonian magazine.
Celebrities write most of the articles in the series, but occasionally there’s a shorter article written by someone with less notoriety.
"When I read one of those and noted the invitation to submit, I thought to myself, ‘Well, I like to write, and I know I can do better than that!’" Meyer said.
So she decided to write one about her kind of town — Lanesboro.
Meyer and her fiance purchased an abandoned farmhouse about a mile and half outside of Lanesboro in 1992. Both had been living in St. Paul when they decided to remodel the farmhouse to use as a weekend getaway.
"We were drawn to the area initially by the bike trail and the beauty of the surroundings," Meyer said.
The fact that Lanesboro has live, professional theater was an added bonus, she said.
In 1996, the couple moved to Lincoln, Neb., and got married. At that time they decided that when they retired they would move back to Minnesota and make their home near Lanesboro their primary residence.
They added on to the original farmhouse and moved there in 2003.
"We reversed the process, and now have our getaway place in St. Paul," Meyer said.
After writing the article for Smithsonian, she asked Lanesboro Chamber of Commerce director Julie Kiehne if she could help her find photos to submit to the magazine.
Kiehne referred her to Marv Eggert, who graciously gave Meyer an entire disk from which she could choose photos.
She submitted the article on the Smithsonian’s website and sure enough, it was published.
Later, she received an email from a Smithsonian editor informing her that her article had been selected as "Best of the Website" and that it would be published in the April edition of the magazine.
Meyer hopes the article will draw more visitors to Lanesboro.
"Not being a marketing person, I don’t know what constitutes the best appeal," Meyer said. "Smithsonian readers likely constitute a unique audience, however, and visibility among different audiences is always a good thing."
Kiehne said the chamber has gotten a good response from people who have read Meyer’s article through the chamber’s blog and other social media.
"She’s got a real knack for writing, and she’s capturing the essence of Lanesboro — a place to get away, where there’s no franchises and no stoplights," Kiehne said.
Since the article was released online on Feb. 11, Kiehne said Lanesboro.com has received 27,743 page views.
Kiehne said that isn’t a significant increase compared to the same time period last year, but she said the article is still substantial.
On top of the articles Meyer has written for business and professional journals during her professional career, she has also written stories for local newspapers.
Meyer has been writing the weekly "Biker’s Diary" for the Bluff Country Reader for almost 12 years. She also writes feature articles and does a variety of reporting assignments for the Preston-Lanesboro Leader.
While living in Nebraska, she also served a term as a community columnist.