Listen to the Weekly Radio Readings by Sheila Winstead, RCHS Board Member
Recorded August 2021
August 1, 2021:
Recently at the Roseau County Museum, I decided to look back at some old newspapers from about the time Roseau County was newly organized, about 125 years ago. There were a lot of advertisements for businesses in Roseau. In the Roseau Region of December 6, 1895, I saw an ad for the City Restaurant and Bakery, Harry Miller, Proprietor. Fresh Bread, Pies, Cakes, Cookies, Baked every day. Oysters in any style. Board by the day or week, open all night. Warm meals at all hours, Give me a call. It was in the Sjoberg Brothers Hotel.
The same man, Harry Miller, was advertising again in June 1896, this time from the Hotel Roseau. The ad proclaims his hotel remodeled and refurnished throughout with a Good Barn in Connection with the Best of Care Given Horses, Harry Miller, Proprietor.
In the November 27, 1896, edition of the Roseau Region, Harry Miller is again mentioned. Harry Miller’s big Newfoundland dog “Zelo” is indeed a very intelligent animal. Every night the dog trots off to the electric light powerhouse with Mr. Marshall’s supper in a big tin pail, then returns to the hotel for a kettle containing hot tea. He waits until the electrician has finished eating and then in a dignified manner returns with the pails to the hotel, where he is always rewarded with a hand-out. Harry is naturally very proud of his dog, as on these cold nights it saves him going himself.
Another ad from early 1896: J. A. Cheetham, Dealer, Wines, Liquors and Fine Cigars, and agent for the celebrated Schlitz Beer.
In the same year of 1896, almost every edition of the Roseau Region advertised for Mike Holm, Tonsorial Artist and Proprietor of the Roseau Bath Parlors. Special attention is given to the dressing of ladies’ and children’s hair.
Of course, at that time, almost all of the businesses in Roseau and the neighboring towns were made from wood, and many were heated by wood, too. That led to many fires over the years. In August of 1896, a column in the Roseau Region was entitled “Roseau’s Big Fire”. Here is that article.
About half an hour after midnight Friday, Roseau citizens were awakened by the dread cry of fire, and within ten minutes after …listen for the rest of the story.
August 8, 2021:
Bicycles have been around in one form or another for over 200 years. I find on the Internet that the first contraption that can realistically be said resembles a bicycle was constructed around 1790 by a French man. It was a wooden scooter-like device with no pedals or steering. A similar model, improved with a steering mechanism attached to the front wheel, was created in 1816 by a German.
When using either of these devices, the rider perched on a seat between two similarly sized wheels, and using the feet, propelled the bicycle a bit like the “balance bikes” kids ride today, The German exhibited his bicycle in Paris in 1818, and while popularly received, its design limited its use to really just flat, well-groomed paths through gardens and parks, which were off-limits to a good portion of the population in those days.
Some historians credit the invention of the pedal bicycle to Kirkpatrick MacMillan, a Scottish blacksmith who lived from 1812-1878. One day back in 1839, MacMillan was out watching people riding bikes, kicking the ground with their feet. Seemed to him that there must be a better way.
According to later research done by family members, after musing on the matter a bit MacMillan came up with an idea for the first pedal set-up that could more effectively drive the bike. Using his blacksmith tools, he put his idea into place, and voila! bicycling suddenly took a giant leap forward.
His contraption had a wood frame and iron-rimmed wooden wheels. The front-wheel provided limited steering, while the slightly larger back wheel was attached to pedals via connecting rods. In total, Macmillan’s bike weighed 57 pounds. His creation gathered a lot of attention, and Macmillan helped generate additional publicity when he rode the bike 68 miles to visit his brothers in Glasgow. Copies of his invention produced by other firms soon appeared on the market, and Macmillan saw little profit from his innovation.
Many historians credit Pierre and Ernest Michaux as being the true inventors of the …listen for the rest of the story.
August 15, 2021:
There were a lot of baseball games played between neighboring communities in newly formed Roseau County in 1896. In the Badger news in the Roseau Region of June 5th, you can read about a game between Ross and Badger. It says a lively game of baseball was played here Sunday between the Ross Red Caps and the Badger Blue Caps, which resulted in a victory for the visiting team. After the game was over they repaired to Durgin’s hall and tripped the light fantastic for a few hours. A game will be played on the Ross ground on June 14th.
A later report says that the Jadis Pioneers (Book’s nine) went to Ross and succeeded.
Also in June, this story: Our baseball boys accepted a challenge from Badger last week, and Sunday they put on their war paint and started out to win “fame and name” for themselves. At 10 AM the Roseau Stars (2nd nine) and the Second nine of Badger crossed bats and after six hard-fought rounds, they quit for dinner, the score standing 15 to 36 in favor of the Stars. In the afternoon the Rippers and Blue Caps got together and tramped the brush down all over the field trying to get the ball. Those present say every inch of ground was hotly contested by the opposing forces. One thing we were glad to hear was that the game was free from that awful craze – “rag chewing?” It was a fine exhibition of the American game, the score standing 23 to 53 in favor of the Roseau Rippers.
Later, another competition: “Our base ball nines will cross bats with the Ross boys next Sunday. The Ross nine has not lost a game this season and those who attend may expect to see a good game of ball.”
Here are the results of that competition: “Last Sunday the Rippers and Stars went down to Ross and played two interesting games of ball. The Stars were the first on the ground and played a five-inning game with the 2nd nine of Ross in which they came out ..listen for the rest of the story.
August 22, 2021:
Roseau’s first creamery was a long frame structure built at a point on the Roseau River known as Pelcher’s Crossing, just east of what is now the fairgrounds. Articles of incorporation were adopted March 4, 1905, undersigned by the first board which consisted of Oluf Efshen, president; Sven Oie, vice president; A. Waag, secretary; Erick Sjoberg, treasurer; and John Rosen, Karl Funseth, and John Efshen. The first buttermaker was August Holmberg.
By the early ‘20s, the increase in dairying in the area made the original plant inadequate. A proposal from S. T. Holdahl of a gift of land on Highway 11 as a site was accepted, and a brick creamery was erected there in 1923.
In 1926, some articles appeared in the Roseau Times-Region describing their search for water to use in the butter-making process. The shortage of water was a serious handicap in producing high-grade butter.
The article of June 25, 1926, said this:
A. Espe pulled out his well drilling outfit from the Roseau creamery grounds yesterday without being able to strike a source of water ample for the needs of the local creamery. Two holes were sunk, one on the south side and the other on the east side of the creamery. Both attempts ended when the drill struck strata of granite rock. Samples were sent into the University for analysis and the report received was that the granite bed was deep and that a good water supply underneath was not probable.
A limited supply of water can be pumped from the well on the south side but is considerably short of …listen for the rest of the story.
August 29, 2021:
Gust Nyquist, who was mentioned in my story last week about providing water for the Roseau Creamery, had a business in Roseau in the 1920s called Roseau Machine Works. An article in the Roseau Times-Region of January 15, 1926, told about some of his projects at that time.
One of the most interesting and busiest places in town at present is the Roseau Machine Works, of which Gust Nyquist is the owner. The place has from seven to nine men working all the time. The shop is equipped with up-to-date machinery for turning out parts or complete machines, and it is run by Mr. Nyquist who knows how to use his equipment.
Mr. Nyquist and his force are working on parts for the new lath mill ordered by Anva Comstock. The mill will be a one-unit machine, having five saws, besides the four stripping saws, a blower, and all run without any other belt than the drive belt from the steam engine which Mr. Comstock will use for motive power. It will be a portable mill, which can be moved by the traction of the steam engine. This feature will mean a big saving in moving, as the moving of a stationary mill entails expense that runs into big figures. Roller bearings running in oil will be used in all bearings. It will have a capacity of 35,000 to 40,000 laths a day.
Mr. Nyquist is using tractor gears and casting in the machine. All gears will be enclosed. The plan is all Gusts. When he has finished this machine he will start on another one ordered by one of the Roseau farmers.
Another machine of interest is the ice saw rig which Louis Larson and Petter Strandberg are assembling in Nyquist’s shop. The machine is mounted on steel runners. The machine consists of a Franklin four-cylinder auto engine which is connected with the 40-inch circular saw by transmission and beveled gears. The saw, gear housing, and transmission shaft housing are held up by tension springs, and when ready to commence sawing, the operator throws in the clutch, grabs a lever, and pulls the saw into contact with the ice. The saw revolves backward while the machine is pushed forward as fast as the saw cuts. In this way, a clear cut is made.
The capacity of the machine is to be determined by tests, but Mr. Strandberg believes that it will only be necessary to run it a little while each day to supply Big Louis and himself with enough cakes for the day’s haul.
W. C. Rader of Warroad has had his iceboat built here at the Machine Works. It is built on …listen for the rest of the story.
Thank you to for letting us share the history of our county with your listeners.