This issue: Contents
Tuesday, June 30th, 2015
Hello everybody! Hope you’ve been having yourself a couple of fantastic weeks here since we last got together for a chat!
Today, we’ll start off by hearing Hay Lake Manager Dustyn Dubuque recap our 8th Annual Beer Tasting… and in case you missed the event, please try to rein in your jealousy of all the fun we had.
In our second News Story I’ll give you all the information about our next Warden’s House program: “Newell Burch: Surviving Andersonville Prison”. During the presentation on Sunday, July 5th, you’ll be asked to spend an afternoon with the horrors of the Confederacy’s deadliest prison camp.
I’ve wandered into one of our storage rooms and pulled out another obscure artifact to continue the always popular “What Is This Thing?!” series.
In the Old News of the day, we’ll take an in-depth look at the creation of a Stillwater staple. This well-known local locale is so popular that people are literally dying to get in!
Wrapping up today’s issue, summer school is now in session when Dustyn returns to begin his “One Room School” series. His first lesson covers the big-wigs and decision-makers of the rural school district: the Teachers and the School Board.
Historical Messenger editor and Warden’s House Site Manager
Beer Tasting Recap
Dustyn Dubuque, Hay Lake Manager
It was another great day for the Beer Tasting event this year that is located on the ground of the Hay Lake Museum. On June 20th, 2015 we welcomed breweries of old and new to the festivities. The day began with many HUZZAH’S as 1860s vintage base ball was being played next to the Hay Lake School Museum. This year featured the Rum River Rovers (Anoka, MN), Menomonie Blue Caps (WI), and Washington County’s own St. Croix Base Ball Club. It was a perfect day for this gentlemen’s game.
Game 1: Menomonie Blue Caps – 1, St. Croix BBC – 0
Game 2: Rum River Rovers – 11, Menomonie Blue Caps – 2
Game 3: Rum River Rovers – 8, St. Croix BBC – 0
At 4:00 the festivities began. The crowd began to line up to collect their take–home tasting glass sponsored by Lift Bridge Brewing (Stillwater, MN) and their bag of Dot’s Pretzels (ND). Each attendee had a variety of choices with 13 different breweries and 1 bloody mary mix out of Somerset, WI (Redneck Juice). The returning breweries were Joseph Wolf, Lift Bridge, Still H2O, Tin Whiskers, Summit, Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas, St. Croix Brewing, and Bent Brewstillery. Newcomers were Mankato Brewing, Eastlake Craft Brewery, and Granite City Brewing. From Pilsners, to IPA’s, to Double IPA’s, and even raspberry lager’s there was sure plenty of different beers to try. The craft beer scene is booming in Minnesota, all over the United States for that matter, so if you have an opportunity to try anything by these different vendors…go for it!
In addition, food was provided by the Scandia Lion’s Club. Doug Hoverson, author of Amber Waters: History of Brewing in Minnesota, gave a quick presentation of the border battle between Minnesota and Wisconsin when it comes to brewing beer. Photographer Mark Fay of Bottoms Up: Wisconsin’s Historic Taverns and Breweries was also on hand to show photographs and sell books. Many attendees also tried their hand at Hammerschlagen (which quite simply is pounding a nail into a piece of wood – it is a little harder than it looks!)
To round out the day a silent auction with terrific items was on hand. All in all roughly 230 people attended the festivities, raising more funds than last year. Each year the event is growing in popularity so please join us next year on June 19th, 2016 for the 9th installment of this fantastic event!
Newell Burch: Surviving Andersonville Prison
Join WCHS Museum Manager Dustyn Dubuque on Sunday, July 5th, 2015 at 2:00 PM at the Warden’s House Museum for a free presentation on Civil War soldier Newell Burch and the horrors he faced at the infamous Andersonville Prison.
Burch, a New York infantryman, was captured at the Battle of Gettysburg. Unfortunately, Burch soon found himself held captive at the Confederacy deadliest prison. Of the 45,000 Union soldiers held at Andersonville – almost 13,000 died of malnutrition, disease, and brutal discipline.
During his Master’s thesis, Dustyn Dubuque extensively researched Burch’s life. During the presentation, Dubuque will delve into the hardships this simple, uneducated man faced and explain how Burch managed to survive the ordeal that so many of his comrades did not.
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.
What is This Thing?!
What Is This Thing?! (Round 11)
While everyone who made a guess at the last What Is This Thing?! did correctly assume this metal contraption would have been found in a kitchen, only a few folks were able to correctly identify it as a lemon squeezer!
Yes, indeedy, this elaborate looking device was used for making lemonade! There’s a small opening in the base of the ‘cup’ where the presser squeezes that would have allowed the juice to flow into a cup or container while filtering out the seeds.
Now unfortunately, the only identifying information about this particular squeezer comes from a handwritten note jammed inside the ‘cup’. It states that this squeezer was “Used in Stillwater’s Pioneer Days”…which isn’t particularly useful. By whom? When are Stillwater’s ‘Pioneer Days’? Was it used in Stillwater or just during this time period?
Whoever wrote this ‘label’ leaves too many questions unanswered. When we receive artifacts as donations today, we meticulously document any available information from the donor to help prevent this type of situation in the future.
The Washington County Historical Society is not a collection of ‘old stuff’, we are a collection of knowledge.
And now it’s time to put your knowledge to the test!
Can you identify the WCHS artifact photographed above? If you’d care to venture an answer, you can send an email to me at email@example.com, tweet @WCHSMN, or post your guess on our Facebook page.
A Cemetery With A Fair View
After the Civil War, Stillwater’s lumber industry and with it the city itself was booming. Between 1860 and 1870, the population nearly doubled from 2,380 to 4,124.
During its infancy, the needs of Stillwater’s deceased were handled by either a small, loosely organized community cemetery on the bluffs above the Stillwater Prison or by even smaller family plots on private land. As more and more people began calling Stillwater ‘home’, a longer term solution had to be created.
On October 31st, 1867, a committee comprised of civic leaders formed Stillwater’s first Cemetery Association. Their primary goal was to identify and set aside land in the growing community for a permenant cemetery.
The area of land they settled upon became known as “Fairview” and would house the remains of Civil War heroes like Samuel Bloomer and several of the Valley’s lumber barons – including the most powerful of their cadre and a founding member of the Cemetery Association, Isaac Staples.
The following article is a detailed description of the grounds before even a single headstone was set in place. From the paper’s glowing praise on the beauty of the landscape you’ll see that the name “Fairview” is very appropriate.
The New Cemetery – Stillwater Republican – June 30, 1868
There is no disputing the fact that the selection of the site for the new Cemetery was the best that could be made, and we doubt if there is a more beautiful one in our whole State. It is situated about one mile south from the Sawyer House on probably the highest place of ground between here and Afton. It is now enclosed with a good substantial picket fence. The entrance is from the east end or side, and as you enter the grounds you immediately come to a mound which is of an oval shape and very symmetrical in its proportions, upon which there are some two hundred lots laid out, quite a number of which are thirty three feet square.
Some twenty by twenty, some eighteen by twenty, and some sixteen by twenty. From the top of this mound looking to the north, the poor farm is visible over the bushes and trees some six or seven miles distant. Turning round towards the east the eye gets a wide and beautiful range of country, varying from five to fifteen miles in width. Turning toward the south and you have a beautiful view of the lake for a number of miles, including the villages of Hudson and Lakeland and a few farms under improvement.
Continue turning toward the west and you have a view of quite a number of improved farms, some five or six miles distant. Among them is the farm of Rev. Mr. Langely. Turning still further to the west and the ground continues to rise and the view is not so extended but just as picturesque, the ground being more broken, with occasionally a little lake. A good view of Lilly Lake and Holcombe’s addition is also had. On the north and south sides of this large mound are two smaller ones of equally symmetrical proportions which are not yet laid out into lots, but will form the basis for some beautiful deigns to correspond with the larger one. About half way down this large mound a broad avenue is laid out, in an oval form, corresponding with the mound, and sufficiently wide for teams to pass. With a pleasant day it will form just a nice walk for most any of our citizens to visit, and we assure them that they would be fully repaid by a visit to the place.
We understand that many of the most desirable and largest lots have already been engaged and that in a few days the Association will be ready to give deeds for the lots. It is in good hands and we have no doubt that ere long the place will be all that it should be and one of which our citizens will not be ashamed.
One Room Schools
Lesson #1: The Teacher and the School Board
by Dustyn Dubuque
Can you imagine being a teacher in a one room school? In most cases, teachers were young women, often times only 19 or 20. In the 1930s a man or woman only needed to attend a normal school for 2 years to get their teaching certificate. The first of these being Winona State Normal School which opened in 1858. These schools were necessary as some counties had over a 100 one room schools, Washington County had 79.
For a one room school teacher there were many expectations for them to follow. Parents expected them to be role models for their children. Teachers often dressed up and treated the kids like their own. In many cases if a teacher wanted to be married or have a child, she would be fired. In a teacher’s contract it was provided they have proper “room and board.” Often the teacher would live with a family of one of the children they taught. Teachers could be moved from house to house throughout the school year (some cases moving a dozen times).
There were many rules of conduct a teacher would have to follow when being in charge of a one room school. Some examples would be keeping the schoolroom clean, clean the black boards, sweep the floors, ring the school bell at 9 o’clock, start a fire early, have drinkable water on hand, prepare for Christmas, and on Arbor Day beautify the school grounds. A century ago in order to serve on the school board one must have a child in that school. Each member would be elected and each member would receive a payment for their duties (between $5 and $10 a year). The school board also had the duty of hiring and firing teachers for their particular school. On July 15th, 1937 Florence Lagerstrom signed a contract to teacher a School District #2, Hay Lake School for $810 for the year, $90 in monthly payments. It was also noted in the contract Florence would receive two weeks of vacation for Christmas and one week for Easter. Lagerstrom was also off all legal holidays. She taught at the Hay Lake School for one year, 1937-38.
The school board was also in charge of paying the teacher along with an issues with the building itself. One room schools were a staple in most communities and maintaining its appearance required constant attention.
A school board member’s job was taken very seriously.
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Washington County Historical Society collects, preserves, and disseminates the history of the county and state of Minnesota.