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The Ortonville Independent
Ortonville, Minnesota
February 17, 2009     The Ortonville Independent
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February 17, 2009

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unc With the continuing economic squeeze, many Americans are con- cerned that the cost of a healthy diet is out of reach. However, a cording to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study, the cost of eating healthy hasn't changed as much as less-healthy alternatives. Eating healthy food within a budget does require smart shopping Farm Bureau's Food Check-Out Week, February 15-21, is devoted to houses. Big Stone County Farm Bureau will have drawings for food gift certificates, sign up at any Of the county grocery stores. Winners will be notified. We will also donate 100 dollars to the local food shelf to com- memorate FB Food Check-Out Week. "Farm Bureau's Food Check-Out Week is aimed at helping American consumers learn how to shop effec- tively to put nutritious meals on the table with fewer dollars," said helping teach Americans how to Cynthie Wasburn Christensen, MFBF stretch their grocery dollars with P&E Committee Chair. "Learning to healthy, nutritious food. America's use your grocery dollars wisely farmers and ranchers are committed to producing safe, healthy and abundant food. And they share a common con- cern with consumers when it comes to putting nutritious meals on the table while sticking to a tight budget. To mark the occasion, MFBF will donate $500 to be used for food to the Ronald McDonald Houses of Rochester and the Twin Cities. The Ronald McDonald House provides a "home-away-from-home" for the families of seriously ill children receiving medical treatment in these areas. The food will be used to help feed visiting families staying at the ensures that nutrition isn't neglected." Now in its eleventh year, Food Check-Out Week also highlights America's safe, abundant and afford- able food supply, made possible large- ly by America's productive farmers and ranchers. According to the most recent (2007) information from the USDA's Economic Research Service, American families and individuals spend, on average, less than 10 per- cent of their disposable personal income for food. For more information on Food Check-Out Week, contact your county Farm Bureau or log onto rll "r,ORTO'V LLE X ~H SCHOOL*H EA*E, O E~,MEN, presented a Oi nner ,hea er Exper ence on Saturday and Sunda, ~eb 78 w tha I performance of "The Last Gladiator" at the New Life Community Baptist Church Gymnasium in Ortonville. Pictured above infront'from left to right are Annie Voecks, Matt Fellows, Ryan Delage, Kelsey Reisdorph, Emily Weber, Ashma Treinen, Bryant Zahrbock, Seth Maas, Jeff Watson and (You're reading this one aren't you?) * Keven Berdan. Back row left to right are Elsa Hegge, Kayla Holker, Ben Johnson, Mike Lee, Kaylee Helgeson, Nicole Gulley and Charlie Stattelm~n. Those in attendance enjoyed a wonderful meal andterrific entertainment. The Military Salute Project of Woodbury will conduct 80 gravesite visitations in Minnesota and western Wisconsin during May, June, July and August to .honor those who served our Nation during the Global War On Terror. The 2009 Remember The Fallen Tribute isdedicated to the fam- ilies and friends of Minnesota's Fallen so that they will know their loved ones have not been forgotten. Participants will present a memor- ial floral arrangement and sound "Taps" at the graves of Minnesotans who served on or after Sept. 11, 2001 in the United States Arm3, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Navy, the United States Air Force or the United States Coast Guard; including activated Reservists or members of the Army or Air National Guard, in support of Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom, including a-passenger on United Airlines Flight 93 and those who died while working for compa- nies contracted by the United States Department of Defense. Participants will visit Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery near Little Falls and ceme- teries in or near Albert Lea, Anoka, Breckenridge, Cass Lake, Cormorant/Lake Park, Dawson, Eden Prairie, Edgerton, Frazee, Granite Falls, Green Valley, Hermantown, Janesville, Kandiyohi, Lake Benton, Lake City, Madison, Mankato, Maplewood, Moose Lake, Northome, Pelican Rapids, Red Lake Falls, Rochert, Rochester, Saint Paul, Sank Centre, Sebeka, Shakopee, Stewart, Trimont, Virginia, Welcome and Willmar in Minnesota and Spooner and Superior in Wisconsin. In addition, visitations are sched- uled, or have already been completed, for 15 Minnesotans buried in other states, including six at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, two in Kansas, and one each in Arizona, Illinois, I0wa, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina and Vermont. Members of Bugles Across America, Tribute To The Troops, the Minnesota Patriot Guard, the North Dakota Patriot Guard and Troop 60 of the Boy Scouts of America will par- ticipate in the Tribute.Details about the Remember The Fallen Tribute, including the Roll Call of Minnesota's Fallen, cemetery information, a description of the Visitation Ceremony, and daily itineraries are available on the internet at For additional information, please contact Jeff Seeber, the Director of the Military Salute Project, via e-mail at or by telephone at 651-730-5626. Musings from the Museum By Norm Shelsta This is the eighth and last summary of the towns in Big Stone County written for the Sesquicentennial celebration of the 150th birthday of the statehood of Minnesota. I will write it in two parts, as it is much too complex as it is also the County Seat of Big Stone County, Minnesota. When the town of Ortonville celebrated their Centennial from June 5-9 of the year 1974, they culminated 100 years of history, which is just the beginning, as we now look back! The founder of the town was Cornelius Knute Orton who was born on Oct. 11, 1846 at Dane County, WI. He later lived at Lanesboro where he was a pioneer settler of the town. He later arrived at Benson by train in 1871, and continued his trek on foot to first the Ole Bolsta home on Artichoke Lake, then onward to the hills overlooking Big Stone Lake. His formal claim to the 160 acres of pre- empted government land was made at Litchfield, the nearest land office. Three of his brothers arrived soon thereafter. The first post office was established in his home in the year of 1875. Since there was no railroad service at the time, everything used had to be hauled overland from either Benson or Morris. Very early businesses included mercantile stores, a farm machinery business, a law office, banks, a drug store, saloons, and soon many others began doing business as the small village grew. C. K. Orson died at the age of 44 on Dec. 24, 1890. His wife Augusta M. Orton continued managing the Orton holdings until her death in 1914. At this time their son Clark W. Orton enlarged the Orton home into a Hotel that was later operated by Alvah and Bertha Mathews. It was torn down in 1970 at which time the Lakeside Apartments were built and now stand at the original Orton site at 301 N W 1 st Street. There.were other hotels that did business in Ortonville as well. Perhaps the most well known of the hotels would be the Columbian Hotel which opened for business in 1902, and presently is going to be undergoing restoration. It features the Queen Anne and Romanesque architecture. On Sunday April 20, 1879 a terrible fire driven by strong winds, swept across the bottoms. In spite of all efforts, the fire almost totally destroyed the village of Ortonville. The fire destroyed more than half of the 28 buildings in the village. When it was all over, the only businesses left s/anding were three saloons, a hotel, the printing office, the meat market, the blacksmith shop, and the wagon shop. Goods soon arrived after the fire and stores were rebuilt to replace those lost in the tragic fire. In just a few years many more businesses, too numerous to mention in this brief summary, soon appeared on the horizon of Western Minnesota. In July of 1879 the Hasting and Dakota railroad line had reached Ortonville. The first passenger train arrived on Nov. 29, 1879 bringing many people who further enhanced the future of this thriving town. C.K. Orton gave the right of way to the railroad company, and a depot, water tank and engine house for the two engines was built. A spur track to the boat landing was soon built. A 75,000 bushel grain elevator was soon built along this track. At this time navigation on the Big Stone Lake was promoted and several shipping companies were formed to transport passengers and freight to and from the lake. At this same time C.K. Orton donated land to be used for a city cemetery. On Aug. 19, 1897 a small boy playing with matches started a fire that destroyed the entire block on the east side of the street between Madison and Monroe Avenues, consisting of 10 buildings. Undaunted by their misfortune, the people immediately began rebuilding their town. On Feb 8, 1898 the city of Ortonville opened bids for a water and light department. The 1899 plat book shows the City Water and Electric Works on the lakeshore. Many other buildings and business places started in this era and some of them stayed in the original family name for generations. In 1903 The Grand View Hospital was built and managed by Dr. Jacob Karn and Dr. Charles Bolsta. It was an imposing 17 bed hospital "and served the needs for many years. In 1944 the title was turned over to the city. An ordinance was passed creating a hospital board. In 1950 construction began on a much larger hospital. 'In 1967 the structure was expanded, including care for the elderly, which eventually led to the building of the Northridge Residence much later. The first school in Ortonville was a tar paper structure which served the needs of the community for five years. A large two story structure was completed in 1882. This structure burned in a fire on the fourth of July. Various dates are on file when the fire took place. The first part of the Ortonville School was built in 1915. The next addition was started in 1928. Over the years much remodeling was done to bring it up to the structure that now serves the educational needs of the Ortonville and surrounding community. Our museum has much material about the history. The Big Stone County Court House was built over a two year period, 1901-1902, In a guide to "Architecture of Minnesota" the building is described as Romanesque with classical prejudice, the architect being Fremont D. Orff. The brick building has granite trim, as are the retaining walls, and steps to the side walk. Another large business started in 1902 when the Big Stone Canning Company began canning corn. Frank W. Douthitt who was the manager from 1903 until 1951 introduced golden sweet corn after he crossed Golden Bantam with White Crosby. In 1929, this company canned the first sweet corn ever sold on the world market. Mr. Douthitt invented a whole kernel cutter head which he patented and sold to The United Company. During the time of World War II, a prisoner of war camp was built at The Big Stone Canning Company grounds Quarters were erected to house the prisoners who worked at the canning factory, and also worked on local farms as laborers during the summer harvest of the years 1944 and 1945. One of the original buildings still is in existence just east of the Rausch Monument Company along Hwy 12 between Big Stone City and Ortonville. Several generations of the Kaercher family have edited and published a weekly newspaper over the years. Aaron B. Kaercher established the Big Stone County Journal which later merged with another paper. Lemuel A. Kaercher and his father A. B. Kaercher started the Ortonville Independent with the first issue being on May 13, 1920. Three other newspapers were also operating at this time, but only staying in business a short time. Upon the death of A. B. Kaercher in 1922, Lem became the sole publisher. In 1954 James D. Kaercher became the co- publisher and managing editor. They were located in other places, but in 1975 the Ortonville Independent held open house in their new location, where they still publish the paper at this time. Suzet~e Kaercher-Blake in now the editor of The Ortonville Independent. Twenty three blocks of city pavement were laid in summer and fall of 1930. After a successful pavement celebration and in an effort to counteract the general air of depression of that era, the Ortonville Town and Farm Club sponsored a Corn Festival on September 3rd and 4th 1931. The local canning company furnished the sweet corn served in. Central Park. Twelve thousand people attended the celebration, which has continued to be held to the present time. Men working under the Work's Progress Administration rip rapped Central Park and the lakeshore and alsQ built the pier. They also poured badly needed curb and gutter, constructed the nine hole golf course and golf club house, and built the original air port. The golf course later expanded. Company "L" of the 135th Infantry Regiment, 34111 Infantry Division, Minnesota National Guard, was mustered into the army for training at Camp Claibome, Louisiana for training. When Japan's attack on Pearl- Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, precipitated The United States' entry into World War II, many more men and women either volunteered or were drafted into the service. The returning service men had barely adjusted to civilian life when the local guard was again called for active duty. Battery "C" 175th Field Artillery Battalion, 47th Division Artillery was activated on Jan 16,1951 and left for a two year duty at Camp Rucker, AL. For many years before this time, the military has safely kept this country free and safe from harm by their heroic service to our country, and to this very day, keep us free. For this our most earnest thanks and prayers are being offered in their behalf. May God continue to protect you and bring you safely home again. Your service is appreciated beyond any words that can be expressed. In 1949 the Otter-tail Power Company built a plant at the foot of Big Stone Lake. The official dedication of the Big Stone Lake Whetstone River Project on June 7, 1974 honored Lem Kaercher "as chief promoter of the project. The celebration was a great success. Many people returned to attend an all school reunion and to renew old acquaintances, while they participated in a variety of entertainment. This brings us up to the time of the Centennial of the City of Ortonville, which was held on July 5th through the 9th 1974. As the town of Ortonville was preparing to celebrate the centennial of the town, there were plans in the making for the building of the Northridge Residence, and the Big POST PROM FUNDRAISER Stone County Museum, the next part of this story will enlarge upon lot of things that I could not 'condense enough for this summary of our town and county seat. There are many things not mentioned in this first of two parts of the story of Ortonville, which is also the county seat. It is difficult to summarize the story to the liking of some people. As chair person for the Sesquicentennial I was instructed to not mention names of businesses and of even prominent people, but it was necessary to do so in describing certain events that took place over the first century. Hopefully I will be able to include things about other businesses, the Chamber of Commerce, the school, the armory, the hospital, the bottling works, the county museum, the many churches, the granite business, and many things that involve the lake in the form of transportation of long ago, and the present time. We are known far and wide for our resort and water recreational activities. Following the second part of this writing, I would encourage anyone interested to add to the writing of the history of not only Ortonville, but also the other seven towns in our county, mentioned previously in other articles. I appreciate all the suggestions, historical facts; and even a few compliments I have received. This has been a most interesting endeavor. I appreciate having anyone interested to either join me or write the second half of this history. It has been very difficult to summarize this history. It has been interesting to serve on the Big Stone County Museum board over the past years. J. From un-seasonal warmth to heavy snow and freezing temperatures, this winter has been packed with plenty of surprises, and it's not over yet. A cold weather culprit that could become a problem following a snowstorm is ice damming on top of a home. Ice dams develop when heat from a home rises up through a roof covered with sever- al inches of snow and melts the bot- tom snow layer creating an icy buildup. "Ice dams are lumps of ice that form on gutters, eaves and valleys, and prevent melting snow from run- ning down," says Sam Whiteman, Claims Field Director for Allstate's Midwest Region. "As the snow melts, the water backs up and seeps under shingles or tiles and eventually into your home. Preventing ice dams can be as simple as mounting proper insu- lation and avoiding improper removal of ice and snow." To help minimize ice dam forma- tion on your roof and protect your home from winter damage, Allstate, Insurance Company offers the follow- ' ing tips: Keep gutters and downspouts clear of leaves and natural debris. Identify areas of heat loss in your attic and properly insulate them to prevent heat from escaping. Minimize heat loss through the attic by wrapping or insulating all heating ductwork. Avoid using sharp tools or ice picks, which can damage roofs, on gutters or downspouts. Use a snow rake or soft broom to clear fresh snowfall from gutters. Contact a professional snow removal company to clear existing ice dams. Avoid falling icicles or avalanch- ing snow. Avoid getting on the roof and working on a ladder or beneath a roof that has accumulated large amount of snow. Do You Qualify for Assistance? If you participate in certain low-income programs, you may be eligible for telephone payment assistance. Lifeline Provides a monthly discount to eligible customers on their telephone bill. Link Up Lowers the cost eligible customers pay for connecting new service at home. For more information, visit our office, e-mail, or call us. A customer service representative can answer your questions and help determine whether you qualify. First Bank & Trust is serving food at the following game- with proceeds benefitting this year's Grant- Deuel H.S. post prom party! * . Friday, February 20 Grant- Deuel Wildcats vs. Great Plains Lutheran Panthers First Bank Trust MENU Turkey Combo or Turkey & Gravy w/Salad Bars & Pop $4.50 per plate Serving 5:00 - 7:30 . . Member FDIC 215 W 4TH AVE MILBANK 432.5111 WWW.BANKEASY.COM Page 8 INDEPENDENT Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009