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.
“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.
A great article about the brick used in building the creamery
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, 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.
Elmore is also known as a former hometown of Minnesota Governor, 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.
The bank was built in 1902 at a cost of $6000 source Tom McLaughlin
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.
TV repair has changed a lot. With the march towards a throw away mentality with home electronics the small tv repair shop that was common in small town USA is out of place in 2018.
In larger cities there are places to have television’s repaired but even then, if not under warranty I would bet a lot of people have would toss it and buy the latest and greatest because that’s what we are taught via marketing.
Today, it’s an antique shop, but in 1972 Eldon Nordmeyer purchased Jensen Produce and opened Valley Feed & Seed, a Vigorena dealership, and was a feed salesman until near his passing in 2012.
One can imagine that the sign is the part of the original signage but the part featuring the Vigorena logo and colors are gone.
A before and after for this post.
And three years later it was closed.
From what I’ve read online there was some drama involved and not everyone was sad to see it go by any means. Maybe it was the type of place my grandfather said didn’t need a front door, but could use two back doors. His meaning was that customers would want to go here, but wouldn’t want to be seen going here.
I have read that this is currently a custom cake shop. I will need to confirm that and will post a followup with new photos.
Tarkio is a city in Tarkio Township, Atchison County, Missouri, United States. The population was 1,583 at the 2010 census.
I was able to find newspaper ads from the mid 1970s for Friendly Boys. It appeared to be a pretty big operation at that time. This article covers pretty well what is going on with small towns and businesses in rural areas. http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/atchison-shrinks-more-than-other-mo-counties/article_7b898ca8-06c9-5756-992a-fe551491b1c2.html