Listen to the Weekly Radio Readings by Sheila Winstead, RCHS Board Member, or tune in to WILD 102 Radio Sunday mornings.
Available recordings will be linked to the Wild 102 “Looking Back in Time” page for the rest of the story. The entire week’s story will be printed if the audio is unavailable.
Recorded December 2022
December 4, 2022: LISTEN to the story here
The Badger Enterprise of February 14, 1952, gave a little history of the Ross-Pinecreek Improvement Association and some of the valuable projects they had taken on over the five years since they had existed. The article was written by Eugene G. Simmons.
On January 13, 1947, people of the Ross and Pinecreek areas met at Pinecreek for the purpose of forming an organization to work for the development of roads through our communities. The organization formed that evening, with Selvin Erickson, chairman; Gilbert R. Thompson, vice chairman; Eugene G. Simmons, secretary; and Clarence Wold, treasurer; became the Ross-Pinecreek Improvement Association.
It was evident from the start that this organization could do much for our communities, by working for a general improvement program, as well as for better roads. In fact, little time had elapsed, until our road program was just one of the many projects on our program, for the betterment of our communities.
Our constitution states that our membership shall be from “Ross and Dieter townships and those adjacent areas whose interest coincides with ours.” This takes in the No. 10 School District, as well as the patrons of the Ross Co-operative Creamery, and others who have an interest in developing this area. One of the outstanding features and it has accounted for the success of the organization, is the complete cooperation of the membership and the way the members have backed up the officers in any project.
Our first undertaking was to extend Highway 89 through our community. A bill was presented to the Legislature in 1947, but since no highway extensions were made by the Legislature that year, we had to present the bill to the 1949 Legislature before it became law. It was included in the 1949 Highway Bill and on July 1st of that year the State Highway Department took over the maintenance of what is now Trunk Highway No. 89 from Fox to the Canadian border.
In 1947 we also sponsored and organized a bus patrol for our schools at Ross. The first patrol was installed by Captain Dave Brown of Detroit Lakes on October 29, 1947.
In 1948, a committee was appointed to work with other towns and localities for improved mail service through this area. This committee met with other committees through this part of the state in an effort to improve mail service.
One of the education features we have always tried to present is a speaker from the different government agencies and local officials. Among these have been our County Agents, County Engineer, County Assessor, Mr. Richard Dorrerr, of the Conservation Department, Mr. Lee Boyd of the State Highway Department, Colonel E. B. Miller of the State Aeronautics Department, now Civil Defense Director for Minnesota, and our state senator and representatives, along with many good speakers from the Extension Service.
In 1949 we engaged in a co-operative movement on spraying the roadsides to kill brush and through this effort, 30 miles of roadside were sprayed that year. While the organization is entirely non-political, we have endeavored to present to the public as many of the candidates as time will allow.
In 1949, it was suggested that this organization work for an airstrip to be established on the International Boundary near the United States Customs. This appeared to be a larger project than we could handle and many times it looked as though we had taken on more than could be put over, but on December 8, 1950, we walked out of the governor’s office in St. Paul with the approval of the Legislative Advisory Committee, to have constructed an airstrip, not to exceed $18,000 in cost of State funds. The land has been purchased, the survey made and this spring will see the field in operation. It will be the second State owned airstrip in Minnesota.
In 1948 the Association sent a boy to the School Patrol camp for Boys at Camp Ripley. In 1950 we sent a boy to Boys State, in St. Paul.
A project that is still under way is the attempt to get a new Federal Building for Customs and Immigration purposes at the Port of Pinecreek. We were promised this building and the bill had been written including it, when the Korean situation came along and held it up for the second time. The money had been appropriated for it when World War II broke out. The government owns the land for the site and we have not yet abandoned the project.
These have been the major projects of the Association. There have been several minor ones, purely local in nature. We have joined with the local PTA in helping with the skating rink at Ross, we have placed a number of road information signs throughout the area, and a number of other things that have been for the betterment of our community. We have cooperated with other groups for the betterment of Roseau County. As yet, none of our projects have been of a nature that would affect real or personal taxes, but have been from dedicated funds, funds that would have gone elsewhere, if we had not obtained them.
The success of this organization has been due to one thing. The individual members of the organization have been willing to co-operate, not only among themselves, but with other organizations. Given a job to do every committee member has done that job to the best of his ability. Each has given of his time generously and this is what makes the Association CLICK.
Our annual banquet has been a success every year. The last one was held in Badger, as an experiment, for we are handicapped by not having room enough for the usual crowd attending these affairs.
When the record of our accomplishments are read, it may be said that they are not too many, but from the record of what it took to put them over, on the part of each member, it is a far different story. There is no miracle attached to any of them, but there is a lot of just plain hard work on the part of all the members. As secretary, it has been a great pleasure to work with a group such as the Association is made up of. I have never worked with a finer group of people anywhere and the spirit of co-operation could not be greater. No one person can claim credit for any of the accomplishments, for without every individual member’s support, no one man could accomplish the things that we have accomplished. It’s a healthy organization and we have a long life ahead of us yet.
Thanks to WILD 102 for this time to tell our county’s stories. We can all be very grateful for the hard work of organizations like the one I just read about. They made great improvements through foresight and hard work.
Thank you to (www.roseauonline.com) for letting us share our county’s history with your listeners by donating air time, studio time, and production staff every week.