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Recorded November 2022
November 20, 2022:
It’s that time of year when people are cranking up their furnaces and feeding their wood stoves to keep warm. It was the same 70 years ago, and several stories in the Badger Enterprise newspapers in 1952 told of some unfortunate results.
In the October 30, 1952 issue, the Pinecreek news had this bit of news in the column. Four of our local hunters, Rudy Nordengen, Holger Lislegard, Albert, and Olaf Kvien of Roseau made a trip to their hunting camp north of Salol on Sunday. They returned with long faces as they discovered that both camps had burned.
One week later in the November 6 edition of the Badger Enterprise, another fire was reported.
Fire of undetermined origin destroyed the largest school building of the Grass Lake Consolidated School District 90, last Friday evening.
Mr. and Mrs. Johnie Forst were driving by about 11 PM when they noticed smoke and flames pouring from the building. They immediately notified the neighbors but by the time help came the fire had gained such headway nothing could be done to save the structure. The other school building was in the path of the flames and for a time it was thought that would burn also. The well was between the two buildings and the intense heat from the burning building made it difficult to get water to pour into the other one, however, they were able to keep it from igniting. One wall is scorched so will have to be scraped and repainted.
The two teachers, Joy Vatnsdal and Joyce Soyring had their living quarters in the building which burned. They had gone home for the weekend and had only taken a few clothes with them. They estimate their loss in clothes and household furnishings to be between $700 and $800. They carried no insurance.
The school building and contents were insured in the Roseau County Farmers Mutual Insurance Company for $3500, a small percent of what it will cost to replace it.
Efforts are being made to purchase another building, but until such arrangements can be made school will remain closed. The building that burned housed 37 pupils.
Only two weeks later on November 20, 1952, The Badger Enterprise had to report on another fire.
In an early morning fire Sunday, November 16th, a half-century-old landmark of the Leo community was completely destroyed when apparently an overheated furnace completely destroyed Saint Aloysius Catholic Church at Leo. Father Adamiec, pastor.
The fire was detected shortly after a hunters’ mass celebrated early that morning, in the furnace room on the north side of the church. The Greenbush Fire Department was called to aid in fighting the fire, but too much headway had been made by the blaze and their efforts to stem the blaze were in vain. All that was saved from the fire was the Blessed Sacrament and some vestments from the sacristy, located on the opposite side of the altar from the furnace room.
Parishioners coming to the 10 o’clock mass was greeted by the fire and destroyed place of worship. No immediate estimate of the total loss is available.
Saint Aloysius was the largest Catholic church structure in Roseau County, being built in 1898 and at the present time served some 65 families.
Some years back the structure had been damaged by a tornado and restored with an addition being added giving it the distinction of being the largest Catholic church. The interior of the church had been completely redecorated a few years ago, during the pastorate of Reverend Wiesnewski, now at Florian.
The Leo community is an old Polish settlement about 18 miles northwest of town.
As I mentioned, these stories were all from the Badger Enterprise. Copies of many years’ worth of those newspapers and others are bound into book form and stored in the Research Area of the Roseau County Museum. There are also microfilmed copies of them and many more years’ worth of papers, even back to the 1890s. If you haven’t been to the Roseau Museum recently, I recommend a trip to the Roseau City Center to have a peek at the exhibits and resources available for research there. The exhibits are always being improved and added to. If you become a member, you’ll have access to many resources will receive three newsletters a year, and will hear about upcoming programs.
Thanks to our museum employees, Britt Dahl and Linda Wojahn for the work they do every day.
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.