Newspaper Archive of
The Ortonville Independent
Ortonville, Minnesota
November 4, 2008     The Ortonville Independent
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November 4, 2008

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lllallllmllilllll IlmilulllllllllllljltlLillllllmlllllll11:!il.LI,J liLlLill I111]!'| m L Musings from the Museum By Norm Shelsta This is seventh in a series of sum- maries of the eight towns in Big Stone County, done for the celebra- tion of the Sesquicentennial of MN CLINTON: According to the Cen- tennial history book, it states "In 1883 several businesses had already been es- tablished in Clinton, the population was increasing and prospects for a success- ful town were evident." The first store housed the post office and a lumber yard. The Fargo and Southern Railroad Company began to construct a loading platform two miles south of what is now Clinton and the railroad company called the station Rupert. Two years later the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St Paul Railroad Company purchased the line. They abandoned the Rupert station and constructed the depot in Clinton. Clinton was plotted as a town in 1885, although the railroad company per- sisted in calling it Batavia until the year 1890. Passenger service was eliminated in 1932. The railroad company closed the Clinton Depot in 1969, and discontin- ued freight service from Ortonville to Fargo, ND in 1980. The depot stood empty until the spring of 1982 when local residents formed "The Depot Committee". Recently a "Save The Depot" committee has been established to restore the building according to the specifications of the Minnesota Histor- ical Society, as it has been placed on the List of Historic Places. Open house and an interesting program was presented there this past summer, as part of the 125th anniversary celebration. Much work has gone into making the depot and park an attractive site. The central post office service was established May 10, 1878. Soon many businesses began to appear on the hori- zon of this newly formed village. Some of the early businesses were stock yards, livery barns, lumber yards, hardware stores, millinery stores, bar- ber shops, a milling company, drug stores and doctor's offices, and at one time Clinton had six elevators doing business in this booming agricultural center. Many other businesses thrived as well in this rapidly growing area. Like so many small towns, in more re- cent years many of the businesses dis- appeared as the coming of the automobile and the malls in larger cities tended to take their toll on the smaller areas of our state. Death and destruction devastated this area on June 29, 1908 when a dreadful cyclone hit this area. The cy- clone formed six miles from Clinton and first hit the northwest corner of the town, totally demolishing over thirty houses and severely damaging over 20 houses. Seven people were killed, and another man died during the night. In one of the first houses hit, a lady and her eight month old baby boy were hurled through the air and found in a nearby slough. The lady had been killed, but her little boy was found floating totally unharmed on a plank in the water. A man driving a team and buggy was picked up, hurled over a mile and set down unharmed. Only one tug had come unhooked in the process. A train leaving town was severely hit, smashing many of the windows and overturning a coach and seven of the freight cars. The First Methodist Church, The Norwegian Lutheran Church, the Advocate Office, the creamery, and the Primary School were some of the buildings that were totally destroyed, among all the other damage. Within an hour help began to arrive from many towns in the area. We have information in our museum files listing details about the cyclone. Many fires took place over the years. The Peavey elevator burned down in 1917, a saloon and two other buildings burned in 1907, the IOOF Lodge and movie theater burned in 1937 and the old part of the school burned in 1939. The Clinton Fire Department was organized in 1922, and in this modern time has a excellent fire department with the latest in equip- ment. The Memorial Building serves the needs of the fire department until 1997 when a new facility was built. The United Methodist Church, Elim Lutheran Church, and Trinity Lutheran Church have faithfully served the reli- gious needs of the town of Clinton over the years. 1 would like to mention my favorite historical church, Saint Pauli's Lutheran Church two miles south of Clinton. The local people have done a wonderful task of preserving this beau- tiful structure. Each summer they have three monthly services that I enjoy at- tending. The pastor from Trinity Lutheran Church in Clinton has con- ducted the services there. In the past year they re-shingled the church steeple. The old pump organ add s to the festive manner in which services were conducted years ago. It is the only RURAL church along Hwy 75 from Canada to Mexico. Hwy 75 has been designated King of the Trails Highway. Clinton has had wonderful medical care over the years. Their only hospital "The Samaritan" was built in 1897 on First Street. Based on the reputation the hospital received, it might have grown in just a few years to be a great medical center, but unfortunately, in just a few years it burned. It never was replaced. The Clinton community constructed a very modern Clinic in the 1950's and it was staffed by several doctors over the years. Dr. Bergan's medical office on Main Street also served the community well over fifty years prior to his death. Currently the Clinton Clinic is staffed by doctors from the Ortonville Clinic. The Clinton Good Samaritan Center was built by the community, and served as a nursing home for many years. More recently it has been an Assisted Living Plus Facility and is known as The Clinton Care Center. The Clinton Memorial Building was dedicated in 1953. It was built in honor of the Veterans who have served our country over the past many years, and is a tribute to the kirid of people who make up the town of Clinton. The Clin- ton Community constructed a new Mu- nicipal Building in 1997, which houses the Fire Department, City Offices, as well as a Fire 'Department meeting room, and Maintenance Department for the city. The former Fire Department area in the Memorial building was re- modeled into a Community Room and is the home of the Clinton Card Club as well as a meeting place for other or- ganizations. The Memorial Building has been upgraded over the years and in 2008 a new kitchen remodeling proj- ect was completed. Clinton's first school was organized in 1887. The first brick school building was built in 1914 and enlarged in 1935. In 1939 the older part was partially de- stroyed by fire, and that portion of the building was rebuilt. With declining en- rollment, for several years the Clinton and Graceville School Districts entered into a "pairing agreement", and later consolidated. Later the Beardsley School District also consolidated with that district and the school is commonly known as the CGB School District". Kindergarten through sixth grades are held in Clinton, with the seventh through high School being at Graceville. Big Stone County Develop- mental Achievement Center, (DAC) began in a building on Clinton's Main Street, formerly housing the IOOF Lodge. It later was located at the former Clinton State Bank Building and in the 1990's a new building was constructed and the name was changed to Main Street Industries and serves its clients well. Speaking of Banks, 1 would like to mention the Steen family who have been in the banking business in the Clinton community for well over a hun- dred years. Newspapers are of great importance to a thriving community. The Clinton Argus was published from 1890 to 1892. The Advocate began publication on August 6, 1892 to July 1, 1895. The Clinton Advocate was revived with a new numbering system in 1895 and continued until 1965. The Clinton Ad- vocate was purchased in 1961 by Dave and Lois Torgerson, and in 1965, it was consolidated with The Graceville En- terprise and was officially named "The Northern Star". Lois Torgerson contin- ues to serve as the editor of the news- paper. The Big Stone County Fair has been held in Clinton, beginning in 1907. The Big Stone County Agricultural Society functions as its fair board. It is a great place for 4-H clubs and other commu- nity people to exhibit their achieve- ments over the past year. The fair board does a fine job of making it a very in- teresting yearly event. The Big Stone Olde Power and Machinery Club have exhibited a fine line of antique tractors and farm machinery in the past few years. This group recently had a work- ing windmill moved to the premises and re-installed. The county fair is an event enjoyed by everyone. As for the present days of Clinton, space does not permit me to tell you much about it. The Centennial of Clin- ton was celebrated in 1983 with well over 10,000 people visiting the town of Clinton. There was also a huge gather- ing to celebrate the city's new infra- structure system, including streets, water and sewer projects in the year 1993. This past summer, on July 4, 5 and 6, the city celebrated their 125th anniversary with a multitude of activi- ties taking place. Well planned events took place in the school, churches, civic building, the depot, and other places. A well staged program took place at the Clinton School presenting the past years as the history of this great town unfolded and grew over the years. Folks over 80 years of age were paid special honor at a church function, and class re- unions were held in many places in town. The festivities culminated with a great parade on Sunday afternoon of July 6th, 2008. The best source of in- formation at this time is LOOKING BACK AT CLINTON, which is the story of Clinton over the Years, pub- lished for the 125th Anniversary Cele- bration. I wish to dedicate this writing to Dave and Lois Torgerson, editors of The Northern Star. In about 1959 they sold the Watson Journal to my aunt and uncle, the Arnold Berglunds, who then combined it with the Milan Standard. TWO BIG CARROTS, each weighing three pounds, were grown in the garden at the Harold DimbergJr's in Ortonvdle. Ellen Dlmberg said she has never seen carrots this-big grown in their garden. SAVE 50% ON YOUR HEATING BILL THIS WINTER! 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Addresses and telephone numbers will not be published. Letter writers are asked-to limit themselves to one letter per month. Please keep letter brief, preferably not over 350 words and to the point, i .......... NOVEMBER SPE Hurry before cold weather sets int. I N on all brands for the life of your tires if you purchase a set of 4 tires during the month of November. We sell Bridgestone, Mastercraft, Firestone, Toyo, Wild Country and Cooper tires! Offers expire Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008. :b, Page 14  INDEPENDENT Tuesday, Nov. 4,2008