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This issue: Contents
Tuesday, July 14th, 2015
Hello and welcome to this week’s Historical Messenger!
And a very special welcome goes out to all the folks who signed up for the e-newsletter at our “Andersonville Prison” Civil War program a few Sundays ago! Thanks for coming out to the museum!
In case you missed it, we had another clean-up day out at the Boutwell House! Click here for Fox 9 News’ coverage!
If you’re coming out to Stillwater for Log Jam Days this weekend, be sure to swing by the Vintage Base Ball exhibition that will be held at the Old Athletic Field throughout the afternoon on Saturday. Using 1860s rules, six teams from Minnesota and Wisconsin will cross bats for your enjoyment! Come cheer on your favorite club!
Do you still want to learn more about the Civil War? Well you’re in luck! Our next Hay Lake Speaker Series program this Sunday will be highlighting a few Washington County soldiers who went toe-to-toe against Johnny Reb. Check out the first News Story to learn more!
Our busy July calendar will wrap up at the Warden’s House on July 26th as we take an insider’s look at the history of Masonry in Minnesota. Knock three times, give the secret handshake, and scroll down to the second News Story to read the details.
After covering our upcoming programs, I’ll ask you to listen closely as I reveal last issue’s audio-related “What Is This Thing?!” artifact. Of course, there will also be a new item to identify for all you historical sleuths out there.
The remainder of today’s issue is dedicated to the Washington County community of Hugo!
Located in the northwestern portion of the county, Hugo is one of the fastest growing cities in the state. We’ll first take a look at it’s origins recorded in the Stillwater Messenger in the Old News section, before heading down to the Featured Article for the rest of their story.
Want to learn more about the history of Washington County? “Like” WCHS on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and explore our massive photograph collection through our intern-run Instagram!
Historical Messenger editor and Warden’s House Site Manager
“Washington County in the Civil War” Program
Join the Washington County Historical Society on Sunday, July 19 at 2:00pm for the 3rd installment of the “Hay Lake Speaker Series.”
Local author Robert Goodman will give a presentation on life during the Civil War, as told by people from Washington County.
The presentation is free to the public and Goodman will be selling and signing copies of his book “In Their Own Words: The Civil War As Seen by Washington County Soldiers.”
Company B of the First Minnesota Volunteer Regiment, composed of 101 men from Washington County, and was sworn into the Army of the United States on April 29, 1861. It was the first regiment to answer Lincoln’s call for volunteers. Four years later in May of 1865, over 2.9 million men had enlisted in the Union Army.
Letters from Adam Marty, Samuel Bloomer and newspaper correspondent “Raisins” give great detail into the world of soldiering and to life during and after battle.
Fifty Union regiments suffered more than half their men killed or wounded in a single battle, and at least 14 lost more than two-thirds. The First Minnesota lost 82 percent of their men at Gettysburg.
To celebrate the 150th year since the end of the Civil War, Robert Goodman will tell the story, in their own words, of some of those soldiers. None of them had seen anything like the war they were in, but this presentation will speak on their experiences and memories of this time of war.
Goodman, and his wife Nancy, have authored several publications about local history including topics as Joseph R. Brown; the Last Rafter – the Bronson Family; Paddlewheels on the Upper Mississippi and Washington: A History of a County.
The Hay Lake School Museum is located at 14020 195th St N, Marine on St Croix, MN 55047.
Please contact Dustyn Dubuque at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-433-4019 with any questions regarding this event or to schedule a tour of the museum.
“Accacia Masonic Lodge: A 150 Year Legacy” Program
Join Grand Lodge District Representative Greg Guffey on Sunday, July 26th, 2015 at 2:00 PM at the Warden’s House Museum for a free presentation covering the 150 year history of the Cottage Grove Accacia Masonic Lodge.
As a former Master of the Accacia Lodge, Guffey will present an insider’s perspective into the history of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota while exploring the historical context surrounding the foundation of the Accacia Lodge in 1865.
By using original Lodge meeting minute books, Guffey will also provide a unique insight into Masonic culture and its legacy.
This free and open to the public presentation will be held at the Warden’s House Museum which is located at 602 Main Street N., Stillwater, MN.
Please contact Sean Pallas at email@example.com or 651-439-5956 with any questions regarding this event or to schedule a tour of the museum.
What is This Thing?!
What Is This Thing?! (Round 12)
Last week’s What Is This Thing?! was definitely pretty tricky…
According to WCHS intern Lauren Anderson, this item is actually an early form of a hearing aid known as a “conversation tube”!
The smaller end would be inserted into the user’s ear while the other person’s voice would be amplified by speaking into the larger opening.
They’re easily confused with the monaural stethoscope. While both tools look very similar, several differences exist between the two. Conversation tubes usually have curved or bent ear pieces, while stethoscope ear pieces are generally short and straight. The length of the object is also a determining factor – stethoscopes tend to be shorter than two feet (to allow the doctor to hold both ends of the stethoscope while examining patients and to preserve the clarity of the sound), but conversation tubes are usually three to four feet long. Finally, conversation tubes are much more common than monaural stethoscopes.
As always, thank you for participating!
Now it’s time take a good look at this week’s “What Is This Thing?!”…
Can you identify the WCHS artifact photographed above? If you’d care to venture an answer, you can send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @WCHSMN, or post your guess on our Facebook page.
Full Image Front View Rear View
The French Village Secession
Washington County’s population is about to cross over the 250,000 milestone for the first time in it’s history. As the years have rolled by commuting to the Cities or e-commuting to wherever have become common alternatives to urban living. Here in Washington County, areas that have been farmland for a century and a half are becoming miles and miles of suburbia. One of the perfect examples of this ongoing shift is the growing city of Hugo.
We’ll take a look into the pages of the Stillwater Messenger to capture this city’s humble beginnings.
To Form A Village – Stillwater Messenger – July 14, 1906
A petition with 30 signatures was presented to the board of county commissioners this week asking for the incorporation of certain territory, described in the petition, into a village to be known as Hugo. The petition having been duly approved by the board, it was resolved that R. R. Kellogg, Nicholas Muller and Joseph Burkhard act as inspectors at a meeting to be held at the Town Hall of the town of Oneka, on the 7th day of August, 1906, where all persons interested, and who are residents of the territory to be taken for the proposed village, may vote for or against such project incorporation.
Hugo was originally known as Oneka Township. It was settled in the early 1850s and organized in 1870. Most of the population was and is of French and French Canadian ancestry. In 1949, people still spoke French fluently and followed some of the old French customs.
The township took its name from Oneka Lake, located near the center of the township. The name comes from the Dakota word “onakan,” which means “to strike or knock off,” the method of harvesting wild rice into a canoe. Nearby Rice Lake was once the resort of Dakota Indians who came from Mendota every summer to gather the wild rice, which they sold in St. Paul.
In 1856 land on Oneka Lake was surveyed and platted and given the name of Washington. Like many paper towns of those days, Washington never developed. The Village of Hugo was originally called Centerville Station. It arose when the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad (later the Northern Pacific) bypassed the village of Centerville, three miles west in Anoka County. Centerville Station Post Office was established in 1874.
Early entrepreneurs were French natives Louis and Françoise Kuchli. They came to the area in 1872 and built a store, hotel, and “sample room,” the first businesses in the village. The 258 people in the area decided to incorporate in 1906. However, the Post Office requested the village be incorporated under a different name to avoid the confusion between Centerville in Anoka County and Centerville Station in Washington County. The name Hugo was said to have been proposed by Michael Houle after the name “Houle” was rejected by the village.
Why Hugo? Some say it was named after the famous French author Victor Hugo; others that it was named after Trevanion William Hugo, who was chief engineer of the Consolidated Elevator Company in Duluth and former Duluth mayor (1900-1904) and who likely had ties to the railroad.
The area’s earliest settlers opened up stock farms and put up hay crops. The first road, connecting the settlement with St. Paul, was established in 1869. By 1883 the village consisted of about four or five families. That year the Piette family settled there and set up the first blacksmith shop.
After the railroad came through Hugo in 1869, many families made their living, at least in part, by cutting wood and hauling it to the railroad in winter. All the trains stopped here to refuel. The Inter-State Lumber Company opened in Hugo in the early 1900s. A telephone office was established in 1905, and a bank organized in 1910. The Hugo Feed Mill was built in 1917.
There were two separate school districts at one time: Hugo and Oneka. The first school in the area opened in 1868, a year after the Hugo school district was established, with Ruth Miller as the first teacher. A new school was built in the 1900s, but in 1957 the district was absorbed into the White Bear Lake School district. Withrow Elementary was built in the southeast corner of the township in 1955.
The southwest corner of Hugo contains a portion of Bald Eagle Lake, which straddles the Anoka, Washington, and Ramsey county lines. Development began around the lake in the 1880s. Resort hotels sprang up to accommodate vacationers coming out from St. Paul. Shadyside, a ten-block area, was laid out in 1880 adjacent to the railroad tracks on the northeast shore of the lake to provide summer housing. The railroad made it possible for families to live at the lake while the breadwinner commuted easily to St. Paul.
With the advent of automobile touring, businesses catering to the motoring public lined up along the Highway 61 corridor in Hugo. During prohibition many “soft drink parlors” peddled moonshine and installed slot machines. After repeal, and under new management, these places thrived as popular road houses and night clubs. However, for the most part Hugo has remained agricultural and is home to many horse farms.
In the 21st century, Hugo is one of the county’s suburban growth centers. Its bucolic atmosphere and proximity to Interstate 35E, just two miles away in Anoka County, have made it a popular commuter suburb.
In 1972, Oneka Township was incorporated into the City of Hugo. A new city hall was built in 2001. It is still an agricultural community; however, there has been considerable suburban development in recent years, more than doubling the population from 6,300 in 2000 to an estimated 14,082 in 2013.
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Washington County Historical Society collects, preserves, and disseminates the history of the county and state of Minnesota.