Dundee MN

Dundee is a city in Nobles County, Minnesota, United States The population was 68 at the 2010 census. Dundee was established in 1879 when the St. Paul and Sioux City Railway Company built a branch line, then known as the Heron Lake & Black Hills Railroad.

The first station out of Heron Lake was proposed in the extreme northeastern corner of Nobles County, and was originally named Warren, in honor of Joseph Warren who fell at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

The town was surveyed and platted in July 1879, and construction of a depot began on August 13. Mr. G. Foils moved to town and assumed duties of stationmaster on September 1. He was also named postmaster when a post office was established on November 1, 1879. It was at this time that the name was changed to Dundee, after the city of Dundee, Scotland. The reason for the name change is lost to history, although it is known that stationmaster/postmaster G. Foils (whose first name is also lost to history) made the change.

Okabena, Minnesota

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a small town in Jackson County

Okabena is a town in Jackson County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 188 at the 2010 census. The community’s name is a Dakota term meaning “the nesting place of herons.”

Okabena was founded in 1879 after the railroad had been extended to that point. A post office has been in operation at Okabena since 1880.

Main Street Okabena MN

Main Street

Main Street

Main Street

The School

United States Post Office 56121, Okabena MN

United States Post Office 56121, Okabena MN

A creamery reminds us of the agricultural roots and a time when creameries were common.

A creamery reminds us of the agricultural roots and a time when creameries were common.

bowling alley

The bowling alley is now closed.

A little excitement in a small town

okabena bank

On May 19, 1933, the Okabena Bank was robbed by Bonnie and Clyde. After leaving the bank, they were shot at many times, but escaped on a country road with approximately $2500 (approximately $44,000 in 2013 dollars).

San Francisco a Minnesota Ghost Town

San Francisco was first settled in 1854 and named by the founder, William Foster, after the city in California. It was reportedly the original county seat of Carver County, Minnesota, but lost that status to Chaska a year later.

The town lasted about ten years from its founding and had a post office from 1856 until 1858 and again from 1861 until 1862. It still existed as a town in 1870, as there is a U.S. federal census record for it.

Today there is a town hall that reminds us of it’s existence.   It’s still the place to vote for residents of San Francisco Township.

San Francisco Town Hall

San Francisco Town Hall

San Francisco Town Hall

San Francisco Town Hall

San Francisco Town Hall

San Francisco Town Hall

Lake Benton Hardware

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Lake Benton Hardware - Lake Benton, MN - July 2012

Lake Benton Hardware – Lake Benton, MN – July 2012

Small town hardware store and auto parts.  The store seems to do a good business.  Probably in large part because it’s 30 miles to the nearest town with big box stores and the local residents can appreciate not driving 30 miles to buy commonly needed hardware items.

Farmers Co-Operative Creamery, Lake Benton

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Farmers Co-Operative Creamery - Lake Benton, MN - August 2012

Farmers Co-Operative Creamery – Lake Benton, MN – August 2012

Farmers Co-Operative Creamery - Lake Benton, MN - August 2012

Farmers Co-Operative Creamery – Lake Benton, MN – August 2012

“H. R. Keeler always believed in the principles of co-operation and early in 1897 he, with other prominent farmers, organized the Farmers Co-Operative Creamery at Lake Benton. He acted as secretary of the organization until he moved to Aitkin, most of the time without pay.” Excerpt from http://genealogytrails.com/minn/lincoln/bios_e.htm

This beautiful creamery was built of ACO Bricks from Springfield, MN. At least some of the bricks are marked with ACO and the color is consistent with bricks produced by ACO. The creamery is right next to the lake. I haven’t been to Lake Benton in a couple of years, but was saddened to hear the creamery has been torn down.

It’s understandable, the economics of renovating the building to put a business in there just aren’t favorable. Still it was a building that gave distinction to a small town due to it’s architecture and was a common business in most small towns in farm country prior to 1940. Minnesota was the center of the dairy industry and nicknamed the butter capital of the world.

Further Reading:
A great article about the brick used in building the creamery
http://www.mnbricks.com/lake-benton-creamery

Lester Prairie Hotel, Lester Prairie MN

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Lester Prairie Hotel

Lester Prairie Hotel

During its nearly 100-year history, it has served as a haven for travelers, and a home for the care of the elderly and the handicapped.

A history of change

The building’s current condition is a stark contrast from the days when it was a landmark known throughout the region.

Les Baumann, a life-long Lester Prairie resident, remembers the days when it was a successful hotel.  “Salesmen from all over would come in on the train, and they would stop and stay at the hotel overnight,” Baumann said.

Julius and Karoline Klatt and their family had leased a hotel in the city since 1891.

In 1910, they built a new three-story brick hotel on property purchased from C.A. Ingerson.  The hotel had 23 bedrooms, a large kitchen and dining room, two reception rooms, and a waiting room.  On the outside, there was a large two-story porch in the front, and another porch in the back. The property was surrounded by a white picket fence.

The business was run successfully by the Klatt family for many years, but began to decline as roads improved and salesmen began to travel by automobile rather than by rail.  The hotel business ended about 1936, although the Klatt family maintained ownership of the property.

The next brief chapter in the life of the building came in 1941, when Dr. James, a faith healer, practiced there.  Patients from a wide area came “to be healed by the laying on of his healing hands.”

Martha and Bertha Klatt sold the property to Adah Spellum and her son, Karl Spellum, in January, 1946.  The Spellums planned to convert the hotel to a nursing home for the care of elderly or handicapped patients.  Many changes were needed before this could happen.  The gas lights were replaced by new electric lights, the building was re-plumbed to add more bathrooms to replace the outhouse, and fire escapes replaced the knotted ropes in the upstairs hotel rooms.

The new business was named the Alice Haney Nursing Home, as a tribute to Adah Spellum’s mother.  It opened to patients Feb. 15, 1946.  There were two classifications of patients. “Up patients” were charged $60 per month, while “bed patients” paid $90 per month.  Over the years, the focus changed to serve the mentally handicapped.

Adah Spellum died in 1969, and Karl Spellum sold the property to his assistant, Tom Bettendorf, in 1981.  Bettendorf continued to operate the business for a time.  Eventually, the business was closed, and the property stood vacant for a few years.

It was then purchased by a family with 12 children, and used as a private residence. The current owners purchased the property several years ago.

Note: information on the history of the property was adapted from the book “Lester Prairie Community 1886-1986,” researched and written by Barbara and Milan Dammann, with additional research by Charlotte Ehrke.

History from http://www.herald-journal.com/archives/2006/stories/hotel.html

Mobil Gas Station, Lester Prairie MN

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Closed Mobil Station - Lester Praririe

Closed Mobil Station – Lester Prairie MN

Closed Mobil Station - Lester Prairie MN

Closed Mobil Station – Lester Prairie MN

Mobil, previously known as the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, is a major American oil company which merged with Exxon in 1999 to form a parent company called ExxonMobil. It was previously one of the Seven Sisters which dominated the global petroleum industry from the mid-1940s until the 1970s.

Through the years, Mobil was among the largest sellers of gasoline and motor oils in the United States and even held the top spot during the 1940s and much of the 1950s.

Source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobil

 

Bakery and Coffee Shop in Elmore, MN

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Cafe - Elmore MN

Cafe – Elmore MN

Elmore is also known as a former hometown of Vice President and US Senator, Walter Mondale who lived there from 1937 to 1947. Mr. Mondale graduated from Elmore High School in 1946. During the 40’s and 50’s the population was just over 1000.

Today it has fallen back to around 630. Elmore has had a post office since 1863 and was named for Andrew E. Elmore an early settler of Waukesha and Brown counties in Wisconsin.

Brewster MN

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Brewster State Bank - Brewster MN

Brewster State Bank – Brewster MN – August 2011

The bank was built in 1902 at a cost of $6000 source Tom McLaughlin

Brewster Electric - Brewster MN

Brewster Electric – Brewster MN – August 2011

Brewster’s population peaked in the 1970 census when it hit 563.  Today it’s a little over 400.  At one time it had it’s own school district, but later paired and shared with Sioux Valley and Round Lake to create Sioux Valley – Round Lake – Brewster.

Today they are Round Lake Brewster.  Sioux Valley was a township and a cross roads with a couple of businesses, never really a town, but prior to Brewster pairing with them, the district was Sioux Valley – Round Lake.

More at my other site

Brewster – Fading In and Out