The History Corner
Here we will be posting articles and photos that originally
appeared in the 'History Corner' section of The Plainview News.
13. A Trip Inside Ernie Goetz's Shoe Store
It isn’t often that a photo can take us right inside one of Plainview’s vanished business houses, but that’s exactly what this week’s History Corner picture does, and for those readers who have purchased shoes, boots, or other foot apparel in this room, it may bring a flood of memories.
It was personal service at its best. Entering the store, the shopper caught sight of the racks and racks of the latest, up to date shoe wear at Plainview prices. Then it was time to relax in the chair while Ernie, or one of his employees, slipped off your shoe and placed it in the handy wooden measure guide, checking for the correct size so that just the right fit could be found.
And when the new pair of stiff leather was placed upon your foot, guided on by the handy silver shoe horn always nearby, it was time to wiggle your toes after the laces were tied and then take a stroll around on the running to check the feel. A visit to the angled mirror along the wall would be the final check to make sure the fashion was just right to the customer’s eye.
And there was plenty to choose from: Men’s, lady’s and children selections galore. And after the final sale was agreed upon, the box was wrapped in paper, tied with a string and you were out the door, looking back over your shoulder knowing you’d return to buy yet another pair of reasonably priced footwear from Ernie Goetz’s Shoe Store.
The center showcase was always an intriguing sight, and the familiar smell of shoes always greeted your arrival. For 53 years, this was Ernie Goetz’s domain as he greeted generations of shoppers in Plainview. Recently some of Ernie’s wares have made their way to the History Center: nickel plated shoe stands, a shoe stretcher, and even shoe boxes stored at the top of the shelves. These items will be displayed at some future date, along with photos of Plainview’s shoe store.
Currently this store is the site of Erin’s Touch of Style.
14. Red Crown Gasoline – Plainview’s Summer Fuel
The first task when any new photo arrives at the History Center is to attempt to determine its date of origin. The photo, showing the south side of Plainview’s Broadway, was a step by step process of that endeavor. Follow along and see how the date of this summer scene was finally uncovered.
In the foreground, the Standard Oil station was the first business to be observed. With a little research, it wasn’t long before uncovering information that H.R. Gray built this new station in 1926. So the photo was taken sometime after that date, but the hunt for the right date had only begun.
A short move up the street and the sign of ‘Foley & Lindsey Furniture’ captures the eye. A little more digging revealed that these two businesses merged in 1926, but not at this site! The two first ran their store on the opposite side of the street in the Henry Oliverson’s building.
More digging… and then… pay dirt! Foley and Lindsey bought out Kruger’s Pool Hall in 1936 and moved their furniture parlor exactly where it was in the photo!
But the search wasn’t over. Squinting at the hotel, tucked tightly into the maze of buildings further down the street, a careful observation revealed the absence of the once familiar balcony and large plate glass windows replacing the original front. More digging, and finally March 1938, the remodeling of the hotel into stores, one of which was rented to Nedrolow Jewelry. This identification was most to the end of its journey. Just a little more fine tuning.
And for that it was back to the Standard Oil station and a dandy sign in the boulevard standing clearly visible for every Plainview motorist. “Low Cost Per Mile – Red Crown” proclaimed a Scotch clad young lady, with an enticing smile, luring drivers into the station… and there it was! In the July 1938 issues of the Plainview News. The same ad with a few embellishments! “Drive at lost cost per mile”, claimed one ad. “Here’s where you get that ‘Scotch Gasoline!”, and “You can’t bear that Standard Red Crown Gasoline for mileage. Get some from your Standard Oil dealer.”.
This photo was the summer of 1938 when famers were fighting grasshoppers who had invaded hay fields, pastures, and grains. When band concerts were given weekly under the able baton of Bert Pehrson, and June bugs were plaguing the city, especially in front of the GEM theater. Work on Highway 42 between Plainview and Kellogg was almost complete with 50 workers employed on the job. When completed it would be one of the finest stretches of road in the state. And of course, those travelers would be pulling into the Standard Oil station and filling up with Red Crown gas! Why? Because it was the summer of 1938 and that’s just what people did!
15. Washing Windows at Duerre's Hardware - Right in the Middle of the Fair
There’s not much going on in this photo. Just an unidentified working making sure the windows of Duerrer’s Hardware store are sparkling clean. Where’s everybody? At the county fair!
The year was 1938 and the fair board had planned a gigantic celebration for the 39th annual event. Held August 26, 27, and 28th on the fairgrounds north of town, the fair was advertised as the ‘biggest entertainment bargain of your life’, and it was!
Six big free act shows had been engaged: Art LaFleur, The Human Top, Gautier’s European Novelty Dog and Pony Act, Naidia & Perez Perch Pole Hand Balancing Act, Fortunello & Cirillino Comic Acrobats, Larimer & Hudson Bicycle Act, The Littlejohns Rolling Globes, Lopez Comedy Juggling, Artour & Evelyn Adagio Dancing Act, and the Paul Sisters Singing Team.
And all of it on the stage in front of the gigantic grand stand. What more could you ask for? Well, let me tell you.
Did I mention the Musical Review featuring 75 performers Friday and Saturday in “The Laugh Parade” billed as one of the fastest moving variety shows ever presented on an outdoor stage?
And on Sunday the WLS National Barn Dance Radio stars had been engaged for an afternoon and evening performance. It featured Lulu Belle and Skyland Scotty, country sensations, along with the Hayloft Fiddlers, Winnie, Lou & Sally, Slo’n Ezy, Bill O’Connor and Tom Corwine.
The show was 80 minutes of fun and entertainment and it didn’t disappoint the packed grandstand audience.
Have you heard enough? Well, there’s more! Bremer Tri State Shows captivated midway audiences with their carnival rides. The Wabasha, Elgin, and Lake City Bands took turns during the three days providing music on the grounds.
So how did everything turn out? 10,000 people attended the fair on Sunday alone with 5,000 each day Friday and Saturday. Parking space on the grounds was packed and hundreds of automobiles filled the adjoining fields. The grandstand crowd overflowed onto the track at both afternoon and evening performances, and the Legion sold over $1,000 worth of beer!
The midway was packed all day so that you had to elbow your way through the massive crowd, and evening dances packed the Legion Pavilion.
Did I mention the four hundred 4-H club members exhibiting 565 entries including the livestock exhibits, demonstrations, health contest, the style queen contest and the Saturday afternoon 4-H Parade?
Now do you see why nobody is around Duerre’s Hardware? And I’m sure if the window washer had his way, he’d be at the fair too. After all, it was the greatest show ever stages at the county fair in Plainview. 20,000 people couldn’t be wrong, could they?
16. Plainview's Little German Band - An Encore Performance!
A special thanks goes out this week to Lois LaQua who rounded up the information about the photo printed several weeks ago. Through her, contact was made with Rudy Mason, 92, of Eagle Lake who played in the band. His son David brought the story to Plainview and now we’re able to bring the story to you!
According to Rudy, a group of Plainview men consisting of Tom Eggers, Dr. Glabe, Buzz Richmond, and several other members of the Junior Chamber of Commerce decided that Plainview needed a German Band. Evidently groups like that were popular at the time for both Elgin and Wabasha had similar bands.
Rudy Mason was in the “Little Dutch Band” in Elgin and was approached by Chamber members who suggested Rudy and his brothers, Frank and Fred, start a band for Plainview. Rudy had access to the German music in Elgin and Bert Pehrson, the local band director, agreed to loan a sousaphone (also called a brass horn) to the group. All that was left was the job of rounding up to more guys to fill out the roster.
Fred knew two guys from Kentucky had enrolled in the local CCC Camp, and the Mason boy’s father, Michael, who supplied the camp with vegetables knew the camp director. Mason suggested that perhaps special arrangements could be made for the two CCC boys to get off assigned duties once and a while when the band was scheduled to play. When the camp director agreed to the plan, Plainview’s Little German Band was born!
The group played for Lakeside Days, Viola Gopher Count, Pine Island Cheese Festival, the 4-H convention at Olmstead County Fairgrounds, as well as St. Charles, Lewiston, and other places. They also furnished music for the re-opening of Timm’s Café in 1937 after the owners finished a remodeling project that included an addition to the back of their restaurant. The band filled the places with their fast paced polkas, waltzes, schottisches, and dazzled their audience with good old fashioned German tunes.
The band was formed sometime after the CCC Camp opened in 1935 and disbanded around the time the camp broke up in 1940, but that didn’t stop Rudy from playing. He played for many years in the State Fair “Over 60s Band” and continued playing at events until just recently.
And finally, what you’ve all been waiting for, the names of the players pictured in this week’s photo! Left to right they are: Fred Mason – trumpet, John Drisco – cornet (CCC Camp member), Jani Rowske – sousaphone (CCC Camp member), Rudy Mason – clarinet, and Frank Mason – slide trombone.
17. Work on the Whitewater Bridge – Taking Out the Curve
Although the Whitewater River may appear to be a tame stream most of the time, it has had a tendency to rage and overflow from time to time, cutting off travel to Plainview from the south and making life difficult for travelers.
The exact date of the large iron Whitewater Bridge may be known to some, but for many it just always seemed to be there. Besides being narrow and outdated for modern vehicles, it also had another major problem; it didn’t jibe with the section line, causing a nice graceful, but irritating curve for motorists navigating the roadway. Most preferred to wait, letting one car pass through at a time. That meant coming to a halt. In the early years this was no problem, but as speeds increased it became a major concern.
In 1961 that all changed. Patterson Quarries was awarded the low bid of $12,737.94 to re-grade and straighten the road bed. It was also raised to combat flooding. The bid called for re-routing the river. It would be quite a change to the Whitewater.
For the new crossing, forty-foot piling were driven into the ground. The 12 to 14 in poles ended up about 20-25 feet into the ground, making it a structure to outdo the old bridge, and that old familiar bridge was finally removed ending a familiar landmark for many, but increasing the safety for all travelers.
It was at this same time that a new approach to Carley Park was also constructed, changing the way people entered the park, and paving the way to new improvements in the state owned land.
The new time you travel south of town towards Carley, when come to the bridge, you might just lean a bit to the east and imagine a time that has passed away. A time before they took out the curve!
For those of you not familiar with the previously mentioned area you can click on this link, https://www.google.com/maps/place/County+Rd+4,+Plainview,+MNfirstname.lastname@example.org,-92.1713235,527m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x87f9c05ed4698d95:0x307241674bab8591!8m2!3d44.1109133!4d-92.1693768, to see it on Google Maps.
Also, we apologize for the quality of this week’s photo. We were unable to find original copy. Some, sadly, appear to be lost to history.
18. The 1926 Plainview Baseball Town Team
1926 was more than just Plainview baseball. It saw the formation of the Wabasha County Baseball League with F.A. Taylor, prominent Plainview fan, elected president of the league and Alfred Krinke of Mazeppa, secretary-treasurer.
By the end of the formal organization, 6 teams became part of the league: Kellogg, Wabasha, Pine Island, Plainview, Lake City, and Mazeppa.
A membership fee of $50 was decided upon, the money used for any joint expense and the residue returned to the teams at the end of the season.
Each team was allowed to hire three players to round out the town team, and the umpiring was to be handled by local men. The Spaulding Baseball Guide was adopted as official for the league rules.
The purpose of forming the league was to increase the interest in baseball for both fans and players, and the league provided plenty of action around the country with over 15 games played over the spring and summer months.
And although Plainview finished in the middle of the league standings, they played some red hot ball and gave the fans plenty to cheer about as they took the mound at the local fair ground for their home games.
Shown here kneeling left to right are: Paul Jacobs, Sam McCoy, Art Holst, Bill Shanke, Bob Reifkogel, and Ray Sell. Standing left to right are Louis "Red" Welp, Louis Graner, Ed Boehkle, Sam Purvis, Bill "Hook" Weimerskirsch, Sam Sloggy, August Johnson, and Sam Lance.
19. Plainview Church of Christ
The Church of Christ at Plainview came into being in the fall of 1861 under the direction of Broth Abraham Shoemaker. Faith led the way when such persons as Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Shoemaker, Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Freer, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Chapman, Mr. and Mrs. C. Ackley, Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Butts, and Mrs. James Butts became charter member of this work for God.
The group was known originally as the “Society of Christians”. The first services were held in what was then known as Wilcox Hall at the corner of Broadway and Jefferson Street. Sometime later the congregation secured permission to use the schoolhouse as a meeting place. This building was located at First Avenue and Fifth Street Southwest. In 1866 the congregation bought the school building and property so they could own their house of worship. On July 21st, 1874, the congregation adopted a Charter of Incorporation designating it to be known as the Christian Church. This charter was signed in the presence of A.B. Norton, justice of the peace, and C.T. Allair.
The property was sold to the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Company in 1883. The lots on the corner of Broadway and Church Streets were purchased by the congregation and the chapel building was moved to the north part of the property.
In 1896, under the leadership of C.W. Martz, the congregation moved the chapel to the east part of the property and began construction of the new house of worship.
In 1902, less than seven years after the first church was built, the congregation was free of debt. The former chapel had been moved to the east of the new church and was remodeled into a parsonage. This building was Plainview’s first publicly owned schoolhouse.
In 1954 the name ‘Christian Church’ was changed to ‘Church of Christ’. The church building, which was built in 1896 continued as the place of worship until 1963 when it was dismantled. Recognizing the need for more space, a new building was purchased in 1961 in the Northeast part of Plainview, the present location. The new property consisted of six vacant lots with a house to be used as a parsonage.
You can find more about the Church of Christ’s history by checking out their history page on their website at http://www.plainviewchurchofchrist.org/pcoc/Our_History.html.