Behind the Victory Flagpole – The first and the last

Everyone likes to be first at something or at least one of the first. And so did the pioneers. We all know that Rufus Farnham had the first shingle mill, and then David Morgan bought it in 1859 and made it into one of the first flour and grist mills. It was two stories high and 30 by 40 ft. The capacity was 100 barrels a day and there were two runs of stones. In 1872 Oswald and Begenheimer bought it from David Morgan, then re-sold it to G.A. Haertel, Sr. Unfortunately, it burned down in 1890, so that was the end of that!

Haertel, Sr. then decided to have a feed store, so he built a building on land leased from Frank Olsen. This feed store was located at 42nd and Lyndale. He later added a second story to the building where meetings and social events were held. At one time he even operated the Camden Post Office in a corner of his store. He sold flour by the names of White Rose and Phoenix Best and even sold axel grease, aside from the normal things you would find at a feed store such as animal feed, hay, seeds and grain. How many of our parents bought those type of things at his store? A side-note about Haertel’s son, G.A. Haertel, Jr., who was industrious like his father. He delivered the Minneapolis Tribune to “river pigs”–the name given to the men who worked on the river to break up the log jams.

The first furniture and hardware store was built by George Woehler. The first harness shop was opened by Claus A. Lohse. The first school in the county, outside of the then small village of Minneapolis, was established in January of 1863. It was Hennepin County School Dist. #2 and was a claim shanty reached by a plank from the other side of Shingle Creek and located where 44th and Dupont Aves. are today. Seventeen-year-old Mary Smith was the first school teacher of 12 pupils. The first school in St. Anthony was taught by Electa Backens. The first bridge was built over the Mississippi at St. Anthony. It had a span of 620 ft. and was later destroyed by a logjam.

The first brick yard was built in 1880 and was called Robert Hasty Brick Yards. It was located

at 48th and Lyndale. Most of the cream colored older buildings in Minneapolis purchased bricks from the brick factories in the Camden area. One of the first stock yards in the county was run by Charles Witt. It was located at 26th Ave. and 2nd St. North, receiving cattle from up river. In 1883 J.H. Donaldson became the first real estate dealer. The population in early Camden community increased at a steady pace. Most of the settlers were native born white persons. Immigrants that settled were mostly from Sweden, Norway and Germany. Also in 1883 the city formed its first Parkboard and purchased 21 acres at Lyndale and 26th (city limits at that time). It is now Farview Park. The first moving picture house was started on the 4100 block of Washington Ave.

One of the first hotels in the area was built by Ezra Ames and was appropriately named the Ames Hotel. It later was called the Lyndale Hotel because it was located at the intersection of Lyndale and Washington Aves. at 42nd. One early settler said, “It was a fine place for a while and then the “good time Charlies” from Minneapolis made it their rendezvous.” “A den of inequity” the ministers called it. It finally was operated as a respectable boarding house. A sign near one of the stores read, “a traveler could get a week’s board and room and good stabling for his horse for $3.00 at the ‘Bell House.’”

The first newspaper printed in Minnesota was the Minnesota Pioneer issued in St. Paul on April 28, 1849. James M. Goodhue was the editor and proprietor. The next newspaper printed in 1855 was the St. Anthony Republican with Charles Ames, a Baptist minister, as editor. The Minneapolis Tribune started in 1859 and was edited by Col. Wm. S. King.

At last, a last. In 1892 the last horse cars in northeast Minneapolis had been discontinued and double tracks laid as far as Camden for the new streetcars. Two local resident streetcar conductors were Asa Stevens and a Mr. Nelson. Stevens had a store and delivered with a horse and wagon. The tracks Y’d up the hill at Camden. Later, an extension to 49th was made; it was called the “dummy line.” The loggers named it the “Copenhagen Limited” or the “Snuss Flyer.” Sometimes when the loggers had a few too many, they would make the streetcar sway and it would jump the tracks, so they would have to get out and lift it back on. Sounds like good exercise to me! But that’s the last I have to say!