Listen to the Weekly Radio Readings by Sheila Winstead, RCHS Board Member
Recorded July 2020
July 5, 2020: The Greenbush Theatre started in the Village Hall in 1924 and was managed by William “Bill” Paulson. Besides managing the theatre, he was a rural mail carrier like his father before him. In 1930 sound equipment was installed in the theatre. He married Clara Aas in 1933. In 1935 a new projector was purchased with picture and sound taken directly from the film. The theatre was also remodeled.
Bill and Clara had six children: Ruth, Barbara, Mary, Ruby, Lois and William “Ray”. Bill was active in community affairs. He served on the hospital, school, and Bethel church boards. William’s brother Ellerd became a partner at the theatre, and in 1945, he bought the business. Bill continued to be a rural mail carrier until 1970 when he retired. Bill died in 1981 and Clara in 1998.
In 1947 Ellerd and Hazel Paulson decided to build a new theatre. The old village hall was too small and had be condemned as a movie theatre. The new building was to be located north of Temanson Motors. The main auditorium was 80 feet x 40 feet with 16 feet on the east end used for a stage, complete with dressing rooms. The auditorium was a Quonset shape of steel construction with a slanted floor. It had cushioned seats and a capacity of 360 people. The front 40 feet of the building were two stories with a fine brick front facing Main Street. It even had a crying room for young mothers to take their children and still be able to hear the show.
The school did not have an auditorium at that time, so the theatre was used for class plays and also for community activities. There were two apartments on the second floor and a jewelry store on the first floor for rent…listen for the rest of the story.
July 12 & 19, 2020: Over the years, Badger has suffered from numerous fires that have devastated the downtown area. Like most small towns, a volunteer fire department could make a difference in community survival. Information on the Badger Volunteer Fire Department is from Pioneers Progress, Badger, Minnesota, 1906 -1981.
“With Badger growing rapidly, it soon became apparent that it needed fire protection. Practically all the buildings were of wooden construction. The Badger Fire Department was organized in September of 1903. The Fire Department Relief Association was organized and incorporated in May of 1908, after Badger had become an incorporated village, in 1906. Since Badger was still a part of Skagen Township in 1903, it could not pass a special levy for purchasing fire equipment. Therefore, the first fire equipment, including a fire engine, was rented from the Waterous Engine Works of St. Paul. In November 1906, after incorporation, it was purchased for the sum of $404.21. To ensure a water supply, aside from the Badger Creek, a village well had been started. This was an eight-by-eight-foot hand dug well and was located across the main street from the school. At a special meeting of the village council in March 1904, a motion was made and carried [regarding the well]:
‘That we accept Mr. Strandberg’s offer to continue to dig the village well at the rate of $5.00 per foot, and after going down sixteen feet, at $2.00 per foot. Peter Strandberg agreed, ‘To go down as deep as the community wishes, but not over twenty-six feet.’
Then from the village council meeting of April 6, 1906, ‘The salary of the fire warden was set at $25.00 per year’. Also a resolution ‘that we adopt the old rule of paying $3.00 to the first person getting to, and moving the fire engine to the place of the fire, in case of an outbreak of fire in the village.’ (Better refer this to the earlier resolution, [which] included the use of a horse.)
‘That a dam be built on the creek to insure the supply of water for fire protection.’ Later this dam was involved in a tragedy, when two youngsters playing on the place, broke through this ice and lost their lives through drowning. The dam was subsequently removed… listen for the rest of the story.
July 26, 2020: 2020 has been a year of cancellations. We’ve just passed the days when we would’ve been enjoying the Roseau County Fair. Another thing that didn’t happen was a planned program celebrating Roseau County’s 125th anniversary. In 1995, a Centennial program was presented during Church Night at the Fair. One part of it was read by Pastor Louis Hermanson. His reading was largely taken from a book “Pioneer Pastor” by Joel Njus, based on the writings of Nils J Njus. Here are his words:
I finished my seminary education in 1903. They told me then that my first parish would consist of four churches in Roseau County, Minnesota. I was to provide my own house. I was also told that I would be installed the first Sunday in July. I did not know where Roseau County was located, much less the conditions I would face there. However, a man at the seminary, who had lived in Roseau for some time, gave me some information.
He told me that Stephen was the nearest railroad station and that I would have to take the stage from there. He also told me where the four congregations that I was to serve were located. His directions meant little to me.
The train for Stephen left St. Paul in the evening. We were due in Stephen at noon the next day. There was no sleeper. Late in the evening as I walked through the train, I met a pastor from Roseau who had accepted a call in Wisconsin. He was on the way home to pack his belongings and had arranged for a man to meet him in Stephen. If his driver agreed, I would be able to ride with them. That was good news to me. He also said that he hoped that it had not rained recently, as there were eight miles of gumbo road out of Stephen that was nearly impassable after a rain.The man who met us was from Badger. He had a team of western horses and a two-seat platform buggy. He agreed to take me, but not my baggage. He arranged for a freighter to handle my luggage which I would be able to pick up later at a Greenbush store. Our travels took us through Englund, across a big swamp, to a place called Fir. That place consisted of a store, and a large building that provided accommodations for those who wished to stop overnight. By evening we had come to Pelan, about halfway between Stephen and Badger. There was a hotel there, a couple of stores, a flour mill, a bank, and a newspaper print shop. We stayed overnight in Pelan, and by noon the next day we were in Badger.
The pastor I was succeeding met me there, and we traveled southwest to Greenbush. The business district boasted two stores, a blacksmith shop, and a printing shop. From there we made our way southwest to a farmer who had a team of three- or four-year-old horses for sale. For $125 I bought my team of partially broken western broncos, and a pair of old harnesses. He told me the horses were named Maude and Dandy…listen for the rest of the story.
Thank you to for letting us share the history of our county with your listeners.