Own a Piece of Bob Dylan

Sheree R. Curry is a full-time freelance journalist, whose work has appeared regularly at AOL, The Wall Street Journal and People. Based in Minnetonka, she is a former co-coordinator of the Jewish Singles Collaborative. She has never been to Hibbing.
When Brenda Shafer-Pellinen and her husband Eric purchased the former Agudath Achim synagogue in Hibbing, MN back in 2001, they had high hopes of converting this space, which is listed as No. 8 on the Bob Dylan walking tour, into a bed and breakfast that could house Dylan fans, among others. Now the 4,300 square-foot building is up for sale for $119,000 even though their dream never materialized due to time commitments.
To get the word out about the listing, the couple has put posts on Craigslist and Bob Dylan fan sites. Agudath Achim is where Bob Dylan had his bar mitzvah in 1954 when everyone simply knew him as Bobby Zimmerman. And many remember Dylan’s bar mitzvah, which had 400 people at the reception.
The synagogue, which purchased the building in 1922 from a Lutheran church, disbanded in the 1980s after the Jewish community on the Iron Range dwindled. A golden stained glass window emblazoned with the Star of David is about all that’s left to remind one of this buildings Jewish history. Only about six Jews live in the area now, says Marilyn Chiat, Ph.D., a Twin Cities architectural historian who has written extensively about Jewish Jewish structures on the Iron Range, and who is making sure the memories of the synagogue stay alive through memorabilia on display at another nearby former synagogue, B’nai Abraham of Virginia, MN, which is being preserved as a cultural and historical building.
Although the former Agudath Achim is listed by Perella & Associates as a 5-bedroom, 3-bath duplex, none of the bedrooms are traditional. There are no egress windows in the three bedrooms in the basement unit, and the two bedrooms in the main-floor unit are lofts that overlook the great room.
Listing agent, Robert Valentini of Perrella & Associates, says the building is not really set up as a house. “It would be more suitable for a small church if there were more churches being established. At this point it would be more of a duplex rental property or for someone who wants a unique place.”
Read more about this in “Bringing It All Back Home: Live in Bob Dylan’s Childhood Synagogue,” a piece written for AOL’s HousingWatch by Minnetonka-based freelance journalist Sheree R. Curry, a former co-coordinator for the Jewish Singles Collaborative.
And if you ever make it to Hibbing for the Bob Dylan walking tour, some sites you can check out are:
Agudath Achim Synagogue – 2320 2nd Avenue W.
The Agudath Achim where Bob chanted the parsha for his bar mitzvah. Most of the time the synagogue did not have a full-time rabbi, but one would come in occasionally from Duluth.
Androy Hotel – 502 E. Howard St.
Bob’s Bar Mitzvah reception was held at the Androy with about 400 people attending.
Zimmerman Furniture and Electric – 1925 5th Avenue E. (Excel Business Systems)
In 1941, Maurice & Paul Zimmerman purchased Micka Electric. Bob’s father, Abe, joined the company in 1947 and, as a teen, Bob worked at the store helping with deliveries.
Zimmerman Residence – 2425 7th Avenue E.
A two story, wood framed, flat roofed, stucco house and an example of the Mediterranean Modern style that could be found all over Hibbing in 1947.