This issue: Contents
Tuesday, July 15th, 2014
  • Editor’s Note
  • WCHS News: Professional Wrestling in Minnesota
  • WCHS News: Warden at the Warden’s House
  • Photo of the Week: New Display at Hay Lake Preview
  • Old News: You Can’t Outrun the Telegraph
  • Featured Article: Deutsch-Bier in Stillwater

Editor’s Note

Even though we’re already half-way through July, you shouldn’t fret because there’s still plenty of opportunities for summer fun! For example, the Washington County Fair runs from July 30th to August 3rd this year. Say hello to your favorite WCHS personalities at our booth and be sure to cheer for the heroic St. Croix Vintage Base Ball team as they duke it out against the dreaded Afton Red Socks! The match will be held at the fairgrounds, Sunday, August 3rd at 1:00 PM.

And if you’re heading to Stillwater this weekend for Log Jam Days, don’t miss WCHS’ Annual Vintage Base Ball Exhibition on Saturday, July 19th. Click here for the full schedule. Afterwards, why not swing by the Warden’s House for a tour? Tours run Thursdays – Sundays and begin at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00.

Of course that’s not that’s not all coming up on the WCHS calendar! Head down to the WCHS News to hear about two more events at our museums.

Up at the Hay Lake School House Museum, site manager Dustyn Dubuque and intern Emily Batroot have been busy re-designing a few displays in the school. Grab a sneak peek of their project in today’s Photo of the Week.

In this issue’s Old News, you’ll read the story of a common criminal who was no match for modern technology.

In honor of Germany’s victory in the 2014 World Cup, today’s Featured Article highlights one of Washington County’s many German immigrants: beer brewer and Stillwater businessman, Gerhard Knips.

Want to learn more about the history of Washington County? Become a fan of WCHS on Facebook or follow us on Twitter! See a new photo every week, read special articles, and stay up-to-date with the latest WCHS happenings.

Sean Pallas

Historical Messenger editor and Warden’s House Site Manager



Professional Wrestling in Minnesota

Join Professional Wrestler John Devine, also known as Horace the Psychopath, at the Hay Lake School Museum in Scandia on Sunday, July 20th at 2pm to discuss the history of Professional Wrestling in Minnesota. The event is open to the public and is free!

Minnesota has been a feature hub for professional wrestling since the 1950s and really gained fame in 1960 with the founding of the AWA (American Wrestling Association). Verne Gagne is a name synonymous in not only Minnesota, but in the history of wrestling. For its thirty one year run, the AWA was touted for being the top wrestling company in the United States. The AWA launched some of the biggest names in professional wrestling to superstardom. Some of the talents include Mad Dog Vachon, Baron Von Raschke, The Crusher, Jesse Ventura, and even Hulk Hogan. Until its demise in 1991 when all rights were sold to the WWF (now the WWE) the AWA had a rich tradition in bringing terrific wrestling entertainment to Minnesota.

For this presentation, professional Wrestler John Devine (known as Horace the Psychopath) will speak openly about his career, his idols, his memories, and some of the great things professional wrestling has brought to his life. John was trained by Eddie Sharkey & the renowned wrestling tandem of the MOONDOGS. He made his professional debut in April of 1991. In 1999 he achieved one of his career goals by wrestling in Japan for a year (professional wrestling is very popular in Japan). John has also wrestled for the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and received try out matches with both the WWE and ECW. Now, in 2014, Horace the Psychopath is still an active wrestler in Minnesota. The venues are smaller but the crowds are more dedicated than ever.

It is a rare appearance where Horace the Psychopath’s face paint will come off and people will be able to meet a professional wrestler, John Devine.

For more information contact Dustyn Dubuque at the Hay Lake School Museum in Scandia, MN at 651-433-4014 or email at:


Warden at the Warden’s House

Join the current head of the Minnesota Correctional Facility – Stillwater, Warden Michelle Smith on Wednesday, August 13th at 7 PM at the Warden’s House Museum.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Stillwater prison moving from downtown Stillwater to it’s current location just south of the city. In commemoration, Warden Michelle Smith will visit the historic Warden’s House Museum to give a free and open to the public presentation.

Warden Smith will dive into the day-to-day operations and challenges she encounters while leading a 100-year old facility with roughly 1,600 male inmates. She also will detail her personal career path; from corrections officer to warden of the Stillwater Prison and discuss some of the improvements and goals of her tenure as warden.

The Warden’s House Museum is located at 602 Main Street N., Stillwater, MN.

Please contact Sean Pallas at or 651-439-5956 with any questions regarding this event or to schedule a tour of the museum.

Photo of the Week

Antique Doll Jig-Saw Puzzles – Hay Lake School House Museum – 1960s

It’s only natural to include an exhibit of children’s toys at WCHS’ school house musuem. The above artifact is one of the many items being showcased this summer in the display. This particular puzzle dates from the 1960s and is marketed as an “Antique Doll Jig-Saw Puzzle”.

This is a combination of two extremely popular turn-of-the-20th century childrens toys – dolls and puzzles. Of course Dustyn and Emily have selected excellent examples of both! Check out everything from a wide variety of paper dolls to an 1886 puzzle map of the United States.

Come visit Dustyn Dubuque at the Hay Lake School House and see this new exhibit Fridays – Sundays 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

More: Full Image

Old News

You Can’t Outrun the Telegraph

I find that repetition and continuity are great tools to help get a particular point across. And if there’s one recurring theme that keeps popping up in these ‘Old News’ sections, it is this: Life a hundred years ago is a lot more modern than we typically imagine.

Keeping this idea in mind, read the following article which details the demise of a burglar at the hands of a shrinking world and improved technology.

“A Clever Catch” – Stillwater Messenger – July 15, 1905

Chief of Police Roland F. Barnes made a clever haul of a young sneak thief last Wednesday. Tuesday evening he received a telegram from Pine City stating that a house had been burglarized there during the afternoon, while the Morris & Rowe circus was there, and that a watch and chain, some rings and a small amount of money had been taken. The owner had reason to believe that the culprit had followed the circus to Stillwater and when the train arrived here Wednesday morning a young man alighted and immediately started for a jewelry store where he offered to sell a watch. A description of the fellow was given to Mr. Barnes and in a few minutes the fellow was arrested. The watch and chain were found on his person and the man admitted that he was the burglar. He gave his name as John Anderson. And says he lives at Osawotamie, Kan. He is about 20 years of age. The fellow was locked up and will be taken to Pine City for a hearing.



Deutsch-Bier in Stillwater

by Brent Peterson

In the Schulenberg Addition to the north end of Stillwater, commonly known as “Dutchtown,” there was a man named Gerhard Knips who began a brewery in late 1858 or early 1859. This part of Stillwater had the largest German settlement in the city and it would only make sense that they would bring their brand of beverage to the area.

Knips, who was born in Germany around 1830, with his wife Matilda and young son Robert, constructed a three-story building at a cost of $1,000. They came from St. Louis, and it was here that he began the “St. Croix Brewing Company.”

In the Stillwater Messenger of January 2, 1866, there was described a fire at Knips’ Brewery. The fire started in the early evening. The two upper stories were “constructed of wood and occupied as a residence.” This portion of the building was completely engulfed in flames, “but through the exertions of our citizens the most valuable portion of the building, cellars, and most of the stock were saved. Loss $1,500.” For the citizens of Dutchtown, their beer was saved!

In an article in the Stillwater Gazette on December 13, 1870, the paper commented on Knips’ recent improvements to the brewery. “He has made large excavations under the bluff in the rear of his brewery, about 40 feet in length,” said the report. The reporter also commented on the expense of these improvements, saying “he has expended this season about $1,000 in the way of repairs and improvements.”

However, in the end these rennovations proved to be temporary solutions. Seven years later, the Gazette reported that Knips was getting out of the brewing business. “We understand” the reporter said, “that the Knips brewery has been leased to Messrs. Fred Maisch, D. Millbrook and Jos. Honar – the latter a practical brewer of good repute. The new firm will take possession of the works to-morrow, Feb. 1. We wish the success.”

The new enterprise did not work out, and just a few years later, the brewery buildings were sold to Seymour, Sabin & Company. At the peek of production, the Knips brewery produced 450 barrels of beer annually, compared to Joseph Wolf’s peek of 25,000 barrels per year.

The Knips family moved away from Stillwater in the late 1870s to Nobles County, Minnesota. On March 18, 1879, the organizational meeting for Leota Township in Nobles County was held at the Gerhard Knips home. Their daughter, Clara, was one of the first graduates from Stillwater High School in 1876. She later became a schoolteacher at the Lincoln School in Stillwater. Also staying in Stillwater was their son Emil, who worked for the Stillwater Mills.

Peter Newhouse later purchased the brewery building. Newhouse made some general repairs and added a 60 X 40 woodshed in the spring of 1913. He later made the building into a boarding house in which as many as 16 families lived there during the First World War when the Twin City Forge and Foundry Company brought in a lot of people to work in the munitions plant. When the state decided to widen Highway 95 in 1935, the building was torn down that November. The back wall was used as a retaining wall for the bluffs, and it was on that wall that a plaque dedicated to the Tamarack House was placed.

Today the roadside rest is all that is left of the once busy brewery that helped a thirsty German emigrant get through a tough day at the sawmill. The plaque that adorns the wall of the brewery honors the Tamarack House, but there should be a similar plaque to honor the emigrants that came and helped make Stillwater the lumber capitol of the world.