Monday, February 25, 2013

Fun Facts – Sturgeon Lake

1. Swedish and Norwegian settlers came to the Sturgeon Lake area in the 1880s. They were followed not long after by Polish and Lithuanian homesteaders. Logging and farming were the primary occupations. 

2. The village of Sturgeon Lake was platted in 1889 by the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad, for a little community had already begun to grow up around the railroad's depot. The town was officially incorporated on April 5, 1901. 

3. Sturgeon Lake's first school term was taught by Marilla Ada Griffith in 1889. Mr. Murray, who owned the general store and served as postmaster, organized the term. Classes were held in an empty coke storage room (coke is a by-product of coal). The sixteen students sat at a long table, boys on one side and girls on the other. A barn door, painted black, was used for a blackboard. 

4. The Sturgeon Lake village school, also called the Wilson School, was organized officially on May 8, 1900. 

5. St. Isidore's Catholic Church was established and built in 1893. Prior to this, there were no churches in Sturgeon Lake, so residents used the depot as a funeral chapel. 

6. By 1909, Surgeon Lake was home to 175 people. There were three hundred residents by 1918. 

7. Sturgeon Lake businesses in the 1910s included four general stores, a blacksmith and wagon shop, two produce buyers, a lumber yard, a planing mill, a restaurant with an ice cream parlor, a garage, a farm implement dealer, five sawmills, a life insurance agency, a saloon, a hotel, and the Sturgeon Lake State Bank. 

8. The Sturgeon Lake Hustler newspaper was published from 1914 through 1917. 

9. On May 5, 1915, St. Isidore's Catholic Church was destroyed by fire, but parishioners managed to save most of the furnishings. The congregation immediately began to rebuild and dedicated their new church in September of 1916. 

10. The 1918 forest fire burned rural areas around Sturgeon Lake but did no damage in the village itself. 

Sources: Pine County...and Its Memories by Jim Cordes; One Hundred Years in Pine County

St. Isidore's Catholic Church, built 1893

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Name that Pine County Place #1 Answer

The photograph below is of the William Penn Stone Cutting Company cutting shed, located on the north end of Sandstone just a half block east of today's junction of Main Avenue and Highway 61.  Stonecutters, many of whom came from England, worked on the sandstone harvested from the nearby quarry.  They created everything from paving and building stones to intricate monuments and works of art.  A few of the men pictured here are Jack Gilliver, Fred McArdle, William Vesty, John McArdle, Otto Ploeger, Jake VerDerWerf, Oliver McArdle, William Aiken, and William Percy.  This photograph was taken in 1920.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Name that Pine County Place #1

Can you identify this Pine County place?  [Watch for the answer in a couple days!]

Sunday, February 3, 2013

An Old Timer Gone

From “The Pine City Pioneer” August 5, 1887 

An old Indian known as “Old Sod,” who has made Chengwatana his home a greater part of the time since the earliest recollection of the eldest settlers of Pine County, died last Sunday night. 

The life of “Old Sod” has been one full of romantic changes and had an interpreter placed the facts he could narrate in the English language, it would have made a story which would be superlatively interesting. From accounts given by himself and from what can be learned from others his age is variously estimated at from one hundred and eight to one hundred and twenty years. During his younger days he was one of the warriors of his tribe and a participant in the bloody Indian wars which have left their marks throughout the whole country. His breast had been bared alike to the flint tipped arrow of the belligerent savage and the rifle ball of the white man. The oldest among his tribe remember him as the warrior whom they had been taught to honor and revere because of his past heroic deeds. At the outbreak of the late Civil War he was one of the red men who swore allegiance to the stars and stripes and under its gracious folds shouldered his gun and marched to the front in '61. In '62, he was disabled and returned home, but having sufficiently recovered, he soon after returned to the front and fought valiantly for the perpetuity of the union. His last days have been spent in this vicinity, wandering from one Indian village to another, where he was always welcomed. He spent the greater part of his time in this vicinity, where his earlier life had been such an active and bloody one. Last Sunday night he returned from one of his trips and crawled into a wigwam at Chengwatana, where he died during the night of shear old age; and was found early in the morning. The body was buried in the Indian cemetery Monday afternoon, a number of men from this place assisting.