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MINNESOTA CITY HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION MEMBER NEWSLETTER – Volume 13, Issue 2: March 2018

Mark your
Calendars!

March 6: Tuesday; Minnesota City City Council Meeting; 7:00 p.m.; City Hall, 149 Mill Street.

March 10: Saturday; Minnesota City Historical Association Monthly Meeting; 9:30 a.m.; City Hall, 149 Mill Street.

March 22: Thursday; Minnesota City Community Readers, Selection: Henry David Thoreau’s Walden; 6:30 p.m.; City Hall, 149 Mill Street.

“Go Green!”
If you receive this letter in paper “hardcopy” and would prefer to receive it electronically, please call
689-2440.

Mayor Don O’Neil Presents Photographic History of Minnesota City on March 18 at 2:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s Church Hall
A visit with Don O’Neil about things historical in Minnesota City will often include his saying “I have a photo…” On March 18, at 2:00 p.m., Don will give a presentation of his photos of Minnesota City history. Many Minnesota Citians know Don O’Neil as the mayor of the village -- has been for many years-- or know him as the owner of Don’s Auto Body Shop at 105 Minnesota Street. Now they have a chance to appreciate yet another facet of his life, the reportorial aspect, as revealed in his collection of personal photographs. On Sunday afternoon, March 18 at St. Paul’s Catholic Church, 132 Anderson Street, MCHA will sponsor Don’s showing of some of his many photographic prints. At this time, many local persons will have seen only those which are at City Council Headquarters or the Cisewski-Wockenfuss Garage photo at the Archives on Mill Street. This collection will perhaps offer additional interest to many newsletter and area readers who have seen the Winona Memories Book outline on Page 2. MCHA is appreciative of Neil sharing of his personal collection.
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MCHA Member, Wallace Burley, Resurrects interest in 1938 Maybury School Bell

Since the beginning of increased interest in the history of the village at the time of the sesquicentennial in 2002, the question of history, location, ownership of the bell of the 1938 school building was a topic of discussion. In 2000 the bell was located at the Winona County Historical Society and was loaned to MCHA for the school reunion celebration. Now Wallace Burley (descendent of D.Q. Burley) has renewed that interest with considerable projection of possibilities for the bell. The topic was of high interest at the February MCHA monthly meeting, and will be continued as new information is gathered. Thanks for this initiative, Wallace.
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NOTICE: There may be irregular production of the MCHA newsletter in the coming months.




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MCHA Purchases Winona Memories Book

Many readers will have seen local advertising for the Winona Memories Book, a collection of photos from various sources including Winona County Historical Society, the Polish Cultural Institute and Museum and Winona State University. MCHA has purchased a copy of the book. It will be available at the archives along with warm weather meeting occasions, or can be requested from David or Brenda Eckert. The book contains photos from the 1800s to 1939. Persons who wish to purchase their own copies can obtain the book at the Winona Daily news, 902 East Second Street, Winona.

December 24 Death of Opal Fitch: area loses Hardworking Friend of People and History

Few individuals are as aligned with the history of their community as was Opal Fitch, who died at her Pickwick home at the age of 93. Many readers will have their “Opal stories.” From childhood, when she went to the active corn grinding mill with family, and through years of dedicated contribution of work and leadership following the1980 flood, Opal emerged as the steady force that encouraged possibilities where others hesitated. The phenomena of Pickwick Mill Days, Dickens Teas, hay rides, benefit “feeds” will include a memory of Opal sitting at a card table, selling chances, tickets and greeting visitors.
As Pickwick residents continue their preservation of the historic site, they have indicated appreciation for all help that will be forthcoming, to continue preservation of the contribution of Opal Fitch to their community and the preservation efforts of historians elsewhere. MCHA has maintained a small file which includes some of Fitch’s
........Family photo............newsletters. We believe that Opal Fitch will be as aligned with the mill as Grant and Davis, the original mill builders.
MCHA Congratulates Riverway Learning Community

According to information in Jan. 20, 2018 Winona Daily news, Riverway Learning Community has received a ‘high quality’ honor from the Minnesota Department of Education. Riverway, as noted in the article, was founded in 2000 and located in the former Minnesota City School Building, 115 Iowa Street. The community is now located at 1733 Service Drive in Winona. This high quality honor is significant validation of the philosophy of the school and of its Learning Community. Central to the model is parent involvement.

“Riverway Learning Community was named to the Minnesota Department of Education’s list of 2018 High-Quality Charter Schools, an honor bestowed upon 40 out of more than 160 charter schools in the state. By receiving this designation, Riverway becomes eligible to compete for the coveted Federal Charter School Program (CSP) grant for expansion and/or replication. This grant is designed to increase the number of high-quality charter schools in the state; establish a charter school accountability framework to increase academic performance and decrease the achievement gap; improve the capacity of authorizers to effectively authorize, monitor, and hold charter schools accountable; and disseminate promising and innovative practices of high-quality charter schools to each LEA (Local Education Agency) in the state.”

Despite this eligibility, Riverway will not seek the grant at this time, instead preferring to focus on continued development of its programs. “It sure feels good for the school to receive this recognition,” said Patrick Sheedy, Riverway’s Primary Leader of Teaching and Learning. “But it doesn’t surprise me, the staff has worked so hard, they deserve this.”

MCHA Extends Sympathy to

• The family and friends of Melanie Mueller, age 57, of Winona, who passed away unexpectedly on Monday, February 5, 2018, at her home. She was born on August 29, 1960, in Winona, to Gerald and Esther (Sandstede) Erdpelding.

• The family and friends of James E. “Jim” McCormick, 56, Minnesota City, who died on December 26, 2017, in Rochester, Mn.

• The family and friends of Victor Ralph "Vic" Vaughn, Minneiska, who died on December 19, 2017 at his home. Vic was born November 19, 1944 in Rollingstone, grew up in Rollingstone and graduated from Holy Trinity Catholic School in 1962.

• The family and friends of Marian Mullen
Whetstone, 107, Stockton, who died at the home
of her daughter Darlene on January 1, 2018.

• The family and friends of Msgr. Leroy Literski
who died on Jan.3, 2018, at St. Anne of Winona.
He was 92.

• The family and friends of Shirley M. Tschumper
Green, 93, who died on, Jan. 12, 2018, in Eyota,
Minn. She was born in Winona April 14, 1924.
She was raised in Minnesota City, Minn., where
she attended grades one thru eight in the two room
school. Her parents, Roy and Elsie Tschumper,
ran the often discussed fuel station at the current
post office location. Shirley was an MCHA member, as is her sister Janice Drazkowski.

• The family and friends of Glynis R. Hoffman, age 59, of Rollingstone, MN, who died on February 2, 2018 at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, La Crosse, WI.

Roy Literski, Rollingstone Historian with Experience

Several year ago, Don and Sandy Evanson (Deceased 2013) invited
Roy Literski to visit at the O’Grady home; he was, they said, most
knowledgeable about the Rollingstone and Middle Valley areas.
Unfortunately, the notes from this visit were not transcribed, and
the intent to have future visits never materialized. Monsignor
Literski described land—the plat map locations were all familiar
names to him—and the people—Shermans, Raders, Literskis,
Valentines—of the area. A description of his own interests,
achievements and community significance emerges in research of
his history revealing his many interests and competencies. Most
Minnesota City and Winona persons will have heard him orate, and
Rollingstone was visited often for their school, community, and
church functions. He was loyal. His achievements in the area included graduation speeches, solicitation for playground equipment, labor union matters, support for lay volunteerism in the churches, discussion of discipline of children, the Gov. Freeman introduction in 1957. He was a respected community member.

Winona Daily News Highlights Minnesota City Resident, O.M. Lord

The recent Winona Daily News article was a surprise because of the apparent untimeliness of the material. To MCHA readers, the Lord story was interesting early in area history because of the subsequent ownership of some of his property and home by the Vernon and Delores Gallagher family. Newsletter readers’ responses to the article included Jean Gardner and Janet Seabern, whose father she believed was familiar with the Rev. David Burt mentioned in the article. Through the years MCHA has featured O. M. Lord in a caroling event historical skit, in numerous accounts of his legislative service, school service, community engagement and most recently as the focus of Jonathon Damery (U. of MN) in a speech to the Association on indigenous foods (plums) where attendees learned of Lord’s outstanding contributions to horticultural innovation and introduction in the area including the plum trees. Damery, accompanied by Clare Denzer, Susan Althoff, Marv and Gen O’Grady, hiked on former Lord property searching for wild plums.

Saint Paul’s Congregation Reroofs Church Rectory
Drivers by St. Paul’s rectory on Anderson Street in Minnesota City during the late summer months will have noticed the ongoing installation of new roofing on the church rectory. Albert Buttenhoff supervised this project. Albert Butenhoff and Peter Horton are the parish trustees.

Thank you City Council for Contribution to Historic Site Marking

Minnesota City City Council has contributed $300.00 to MCHA which will be used for their historical site marking effort. The work on these signs continues and will focus on the Martin Shoe Store, the Cisewski-Wockenfuss Garage, Sandstedes Night Club, and the former St. Paul’s Church (Schoen Home). All of these buildings have significant city histories.


“One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of March thaw, is the Spring.” -Aldo Leopold

Anyone who wishes to donate to or be a member of the Association is invited to send $15.00 to:

MCHA, P.O. Box 21,
Minnesota City, MN 55959

All monies will be used to support
Association goals.

MCHA invites readers to submit
dates for the newsletter of family reunions,
milestone birthdays, and other events
about which readers wish to share
information.
Check www.minnesotacity.org
Submit information to (mgogrady@embarqmail.com)