If you have ever taken a ride on Highway 19 near Red Wing, Minnesota you may have noticed the big barn. Nothing unusual about that because this is farm country and big barns are everywhere, but this one is different. There are no hay bales or farm equipment to be found in this barn. It is home to Hobgoblin Music where Stoney End harps are made.
Stoney End had its beginning on a little dead-end country road in Red Wing, Minnesota. The business was founded by none other than Gary Stone, a cabinet maker with a passion for musical instruments. Hence the name Stoney End. He purchased a small music company in 1984 and began designing and making dulcimers and harps. Gary’s wife, Eve, left her career to work full time at Stoney End in 1998.
In 2001 Stoney End moved to the big barn near the Mississippi River and they named it Hobgoblin Music. It houses the workshop where the five expert harp-makers hand craft the instruments.
The harps are beautiful and some of the harps that were designed and made by Gary Stone were named after close friends and family. Two of them are the 29-string Lorraine which is a Gothic-style floor harp and Stoney End Harp Brittany is a 22 string Celtic-style lap harp.
The retail shop is on the second floor of the barn and it’s very eclectic in nature. It is filled with harps and a wide variety of other string instruments as well as penny whistles, pocket saxes, accordions and drums, sheet music, CDs, books, etc. Plan on at least an hour to browse through the merchandise.
Moving up to the third floor of the barn is the Music Loft and sometimes it is an art gallery. Gary and Eve Stone are active community members of Red Wing and promote Red Wing through hosting outdoor music festivals and tours. They support local artists and musicians through a series of concerts and art shows. I can attest to the quality of the performers. They are terrific. Most events take place in the Fall, Winter and Spring. It can get a little warm out there in the summer even with the outdoor theater. As you walk up to the second floor the walls are covered with autographed photos of those who have performed at The Music Loft.
A few weeks ago the Hobgoblin hosted an art show for Mark Abrahamson, an environmental advocate. His work was still adorning the walls of the Music Loft when we visited there. His collages were amazing and really sent a message. Born and raised in Washington State he now resides in Red Wing. Here are three of his many collages. Please check out his website to see his other works of art and photography: http://www.markabrahamson.com/
One word of caution to those of you who may have allergies. Keep in mind that this is a place where they make harps out of wood and as a result sometimes it is a bit dusty in the barn. I have noticed it particularly in the summer months when it is warm and the workshop door is open.
Have a great little trip to the Hobgoblin!