Listen to the Weekly Radio Readings by Sheila Winstead, RCHS Board Member
Recorded May 2021
May 2, 2021: The Community Hall in Badger was built in 1931 to replace the structure that previously had burnt during a devastating fire in 1927 that took out what was called the Sjoberg Block. One of the buildings that burned was the Sjoberg Store, and it had an upstairs used as a hall for events. The fire started there following a dance and was thought to have started from a smoldering cigarette. Six business houses were lost in that fire, namely Sjobergs, First State Bank, Elmer Setran’s pool hall, Minnie Larson’s restaurant, John Hanson’s jewelry and finally Enoch Steen’s store. The high school assembly-auditorium was limited in its use. There was no gym, and basketball in prior years had been played in the Royal Theatre, a place far too small. To give you some idea of its size as a basketball-playing floor, the free throw circles overlapped as much as three feet at the center court.
At the December 8, 1930, meeting of the Badger Commercial Club, with a report submitted by the PTA committee on the community hall project showing that a majority of people in the community were in favor of building a hall, the Commercial Club moved and adopted a resolution to sponsor and plan the proposed project.
Committees were formed and by January of 1931, the old First State Bank lot and the Eric Carlson lot could be secured for $185. Personal donations and a great variety of fund-raising benefits raised $10,000 during the height of the Great Depression, an indication of the pioneer spirit that still keeps Badger alive. The “Pioneers and Progress” book documenting the history of Badger in 1981 tells that farmers with horses and scrapers excavated the basement. Others who could pound a nail reasonably straight assisted with the carpenter work. Albert Moen, local contractor at the time, was in charge of construction.
Articles in the Roseau Times-Region during 1931 tell of the progress. On April 16 that year a column tells that excavation of the basement for the 40×80 community auditorium at Badger was completed the previous week and the forms were ready for the concrete. Work of pouring the concrete for the basement walls would be started that week, reports I. B. Setran, Badger hardware merchant, who was a business visitor in Roseau, Tuesday. The stucco work and the finishing of the basement will be left till fall, he said. Another news article printed on May 28, 1931, says that a flagpole on which to unfurl Old Glory was raised, …listen for the rest of the story.
May 9, 2021: Last week I told you about the building of the Community Auditorium in Badger. It took less than a year from start to finish to raise funds and build it using local experts and community volunteer labor. By September 24, 1931, an article in the Roseau Times-Region told about the Dedication program.
Badger formally dedicated its new Community Auditorium Sunday evening, at a program in which Congressman C. G. Selvig, Senator Wm. Petersen, and R. J. Knutson were the speakers. The dedication program was listened to by a packed house of people who came out in spite of the downpour. A. H. Fikkan was chairman of the evening.
The festivities opened with the singing of “America” by the audience. Other musical numbers on the program were selections by the orchestra, composed of Morris Goodwin, Newell Lee, Miss Bertha Goodwin, and O. G. Gunderson; songs by the Badger Community Chorus of twenty-five voices directed by J. W. Swenson; violin selection by O. G. Gunderson and a piano solo by J. W. Swenson.
Congressman C. G. Selvig centered his talk mainly about his observations on his European trip. France, Italy, and England were making big military preparations and it is costing these countries huge sums of money. The military preparations bring a big burden on the people in the form of taxation, he observed. The congressman found much of interest in a number of the countries visited which could be of value to our own people. Denmark especially captured his eye in this respect. The Danish farms are owned by 93 percent of the farmers who operate them. That is a high rate as compared to this country. Co-operative marketing is on a high plane in that country, and every farmer there is a member. The development of agricultural prosperity in Denmark has been mostly achieved in the last half-century. The dedication address was delivered by Senator Petersen of Lancaster. In his talk he touched on …listen for the rest of the story.
May 16, 2021: The United States was in the midst of what would come to be known as the Great Depression ninety years ago. In the local news of 1931, there were references to robberies, completed or attempted.
In the Roseau Times-Region dated October 15, 1931, a holdup was reported at the general store at Fox. Here is the report:
Two men held up Mrs. Clara Erickson in her general store at Fox, Thursday morning, last week, and made her give them all the money she had in the till amounting to $28.00.
The men entered the store about 8 o’clock in the morning and asked if Mrs. Erickson would change a $10 bill. She took the bill and opened the till. Then one of the men pulled his gun and ordered her to hand over the cash on hand. Mrs. Erickson had no choice but to comply with the request. The men traveled in a dark-green Pontiac car, having a Wisconsin license plate No. 206-921. The car is a 1931 model. The car came from the south into Fox and left on the Trunk Highway going west. A car answering the description of this car has been seen passing through Badger at 9:20 and was later at Thief River Falls, where the men got a supply of gas. They had apparently spent the night in the schoolhouse south of Fox. One screen had been removed and a great many burned matches were found on the floor by the teacher when she arrived in the morning.
Mrs. Erickson described the men as being rather tall and about thirty years of age. Both were smooth-shaven and well dressed. The man who pulled the gun wore a mackinaw.
When Sheriff O. A. Rice was notified, he called Fargo and had the news broadcast, and he notified police and sheriffs in this section of the state. Fox is located six miles west of Roseau on Trunk Highway No. 11 and has a general store, a filling station, and a depot. It is the shipping point for Ross and Pinecreek communities. Sheriff Rice got in touch with the authorities in Wisconsin to trace the car. He found that the car came from …listen for the rest of the story.
May 23, 2021: Ninety years ago, six young farmers represented Roseau County on a 4-H sponsored trip to the Junior Livestock Show. In a Roseau Times-Region article of October 8, 1931, we get a few more details about one of them, who had also been selected for a special trip. Here’s the article.
Martin Hedlund of Stafford has been awarded a free trip to the National Dairy Show which will be held in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Hedlund will leave tomorrow to take in the big exhibition. He goes from here to Minneapolis where he will join thirty-five other farmer youths who are as fortunate as he. The boys are the guests of the Minneapolis Journal on this trip.
This coveted trip is awarded to outstanding 4-H Club members in the dairy calf project. Martin Hedlund has been in the front rank of the dairy calf project for the past three years, has won high honors at the county fair, and has been at the state fair. He was chosen by the county agent’s office after a comparison of records in that project.
Martin Hedlund is fifteen years old and is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Emil Hedlund of Stafford.
Six Roseau County boys have been awarded trips to the Junior Livestock Show to take place in St. Paul, November 2nd to 6th. Five of these have been announced in an earlier issue of the Times-Region. The sixth member is Charles Hlucny of Barnett township. The selection of him was being held up until the question of eligibility could be fully determined. He will go to the show with a fat barrow pig of the Poland China breed. He is fourteen years old and is the son of Mr. and Mrs. F. J. Hlucny.
The other five who will go are Melvin Hagen, Roseau, market poultry; Elmer Severson, Pencer, breeding class poultry; Wilson Radway, Roosevelt, market lamb; Morris Dalager, Greenbush, market lamb; Willie Dalager, Greenbush, market lamb; Martin Hedlund, Stafford, market pig.
These young farmers will have this enjoyable and educational trip by reason of having exhibited prize-winning animals at the county fair and is a reward for excellent work in their respective 4-H Club projects.
Martin was mentioned again two weeks later, having been enrolled the past season in the pig ton-litter project. He raised eleven pigs from one sow and made a good record.
The pigs when weighed on the 181st day tipped the scales at an average of 231 pounds each …listen for the rest of the story.
May 30, 2021: Over 75 years ago, in 1945, this article appeared in the Roseau Times-Region on August 30.
Page the sheriff! Two game wardens went out and hunted elk in Roseau county – and elk are protected.
Wouldn’t some like to have hung that on Game Wardens Ed Johnston of Roseau, and Paul Blid of Hallock Wednesday evening? The fact is that Mr. Johnston did shoot two bull elk and Mr. Blid was consenting and abetting him in the act.
It happened out on the Gust Diesen farm five miles east of Skime. The game wardens, however, were acting under authority of the State Conservation Department. The big elk herd in the Red Lake Game Reserve have been finding the succulent crops on the farms of Mr. Diesen and others along the border more appetizing than the food grown naturally within the reserve. So the animals have just stepped over the line and helped themselves. They just raised havoc with the crops and with their friendly relationship to the owners of the farms adjoining the reserve.
A short time ago Game Warden Johnston and D. L. Carver flew over the area in hopes of frightening the animals to leave the farms and scamper for the safety of the reserve. The elk were somewhere else but they did chase deer and moose into the protected area.
Last year and earlier Mr. Diesen and other farmers in that area have complained because the elk tramped down their grain shocks, went after their haystacks and tramped more down and spoiled more hay than they ate. These animals have good appetites, too, and saving of hay or grain was not in their books.
When the extent of the damage being done by these animals was determined, the game wardens made their report to the State Conservation Department. Recommendation was given that the wardens take the necessary steps to chase or frighten the animals off into the reserve even if some of the elk had to be shot.
Mr. Diesen kept the officers posted. When a big herd invaded his field …listen for the rest of the story.
Thank you to for letting us share the history of our county with your listeners.