Automobiles, Baseball and Schools

Fred Rudberg owned Dassel’s first automobile and that was in 1904, was called the Rambler, and named after a bicycle of the same name. This car is now the Nash. Since that eventful year, nearly every family owns a car, so parking space on our streets is sometimes difficult to find.

The national game of baseball has been played in Dassel since 1880 and during that time seven different baseball grounds have been occupied but the present ground’s have been in use forty-two years.

Dassel’s first schoolhouse was built in 1870 at a cost of $625 and a three months term of school began October 15th, with Mrs. W. C. Russell as the teacher, with 28 pupils and a salary of $25 a month. In 1873 Sarah Phelan became its teacher at $30 a month with a four months term and 44 scholars, the village now having 227 inhabitants.

In 1878 a new $1500 two-story building was erected with two rooms and in 1883 the downstairs was made into two rooms, making three rooms in all. The old schoolhouse was sold to the Swedish Lutheran Church and used by them until 1886 when their present church was built. The old school house church was sold and made into a residence, and it’s now a part of the Kopplin Garage.

This new school building was in use until 1886 when an $8000 building was built which is now a part of our modern buildings for school purposes. The old schoolhouse was then sold to the Village on April 8. 1887 for $300 and moved to Lot 17 in Block 8, where it was used as a Village Hall and Fire-house until 1912 when it was sold for $147, torn down and the lumber hauled away by the owner. The Auditorium was built in that year and in use until February 24, 1930 when it was destroyed by fire. A semi-fire proof municipal building was built in the same year and it’s still there on that location.

The first principal of schools was J. H. McKenney, whose son, Harry B. is a conductor on the Empire Builder and in the employ of the Great Northern for over forty years. J. H. McKenney died in 1901, age 58.

Other principals of the schools in the early days were W. D. Bangs. G. G. Robinson. R. McKay. Thomas Moore. C. M. Christianson. O. L. Peterson and T. E. Wolfenden.

Dassel has always been famous for its 4th of July celebrations. The first one was held in 1869 and then every three or four years. The parade headed by about thirty ragamuffins was made up in Breed’s front yard and then went north across the tracks and thru the business district and then returned to the starting point. Children whooped and dogs barked. In the afternoon the program was catching a greased pig, climbing a greased pole, potato races, wheelbarrow races, biscuit eating contest, foot races, sack races and other interesting contests. At 3:00 a. m. it was 100 guns, anvils under the supervision of P. F. Spath, and the celebration closed with a grand display of pyrotechnics.

Dassel’s greatest Fourth of July celebration was in 1898. It was a perfect day with 100 guns at sunrise, and during the day a good line of sports and amusements, ending with a big display of fireworks at night. A bowery dance managed by B. A. Records and O. E. Linquist with music by Cafarelli’s Orchestra all day and night, was one of the main events: the gross receipts being $375.75. the orchestra one-half of this amount for their excellent music.

In 1884 the Dassel Manufacturing Co. cast a cannon according to plans of A. J. Whitaker and Pat Doran; it had a six inch bore and was seven feet long. July 4th, 1884, at 3:30 a. m., the first shot was fired which got nearly everybody up, they thought it was an earthquake. The second shot was still heavier and before a large crowd, it blew a big chunk off the breech that went so far that it was never found. In recent years, great celebrations are few and far apart.

The first traveling dance orchestra to visit Dassel was Cafarelli’s, at Rudberg’s Hall on March 17, 1893. They came about every thirty days for dances and in addition furnished the music for our street fairs and celebrations. It was managed’ by R. V. Cafarelli who played the first violin and called the square dances, all expert musicians and giving the best of satisfaction to the public. Their last engagement here was the Fireman’s Dance at the Auditorium on December 27. 1917. Cafarelli’s Orchestra continued to make regular visits to our northwestern villages until the death of R. V. Cafarelli on February 22, 1918, age 54. He was the Northwest’s greatest violinist.

March 17, 1875, Cokato and Dassel arranged for monthly fairs, the first Saturday in Cokato and the third in Dassel. This day was also called “Marken”. Farmers brought in their livestock for sale or trade, the stores gave bargains in merchandise and the elevators a cent more for wheat. A tanner from Cokato was on the street with leather for all purposes and also took in hides for tanning.

Paddle-wheels, spindles, and chuck-luck games were on the street corners. People came in from all directions to renew acquaintances and others to celebrate the occasion. Fire water flowed freely which caused fights.

Rural free delivery service commenced April 1, 1903 with two routes, Emil Nygren, Carrier No. 1, and Louis J. Mattson on No. 2. In 1915 we had five rural mail routes, now with the excellent roads they have been made longer so there are three: Joseph E. Anderson. No. 1: Caesar L. Wilson, No. 2, and Arthur Sundell, No. 3.

Rural delivery resulted in the closing of Bonniwell’s Mills, Lamson, Jennie and Kingston Post Offices, but a much better service is being given by our honest, prompt, and efficient rural carriers.

Up to 1886, Hutchinson received mail service from Dassel, a stage making a round trip every week day with the same service from Glencoe. Then a branch line of the Milwaukee road was built from Glencoe which discontinued this service.

Dassel, with 302 inhabitants, was incorporated as a village March 4. 1878 and is still governed by the charter granted at that time by the State of Minnesota.

J. B. Smith was the first President of the Council
Charles A. Morris, Recorder
Horace P. Breed, Trustees
Allan Weatherby, Trustees
J. J. Rudberg, Trustees

The running expenses of the village during its first year was $193.90

Council Presidents 1878-1904

  • Horace P. Breed

  • J. J. Rudberg

  • John Rudberg

  • Erick Hagelin

  • Peter Rudberg

  • L. W. Leighton

  • August Sallberg

  •  J. H. Remick

  • J. H. McKenney

  • W. D. Bangs

  • Peter Johnson

  • L. M. Norgren

  • J. H. Kauffman

  • J. W. Norgren

  • C. D. Brown

  • L. E. Larson

  •  George E. Sherwood


  • W. L. Van Eman

  • C. A. McCollom

  • Douglas Martin

  • Samuel O. Lindgren

  • Wm. S. Cox

  • John W. Asp

  • Milton Forder

  • R, C. Wills

  • Isaac Vervalen

  • Oscar E. Linquist

  • John A. Moberg

  • J. W. Norgren


  • Horace P. Breed

  • C. A. McCollom

  • Frederick Spath

  • Chas. A. Morris

  • H. L. Babst

  • Louis Rudberg

  • J. H. Remick

  • August Sallberg

  • Wm. Galiger

  • J. M. Johnson

  • L. W. Leighton

  • J. W. Norgren,

  • Nels Wreisner

  • Wm. R. Benson

  • A. M. Bell

  • John Rudberg

  • L. A. Whittemore

  • John Norgren

  • John Johnson

  • Alex Cofield

  • Peter J. Wreisner

  • J. J. Sundquist

  • P. F. Spath

  • John Thompson

  • O. B. Knapp

  • B. C. Benson

  • Erick Hagelin

  • L. M. Norgren

  • Louis Larson

  • C. W. Sidnam

  • Louis Palmersten

  • John Riordan

  • Peter Rudberg

  • J. H. Kauffman

  • Bengt Peterson

  • Louis Osterlund

  • J. C. Thomas

  • Chas. A. May

  • Peter Olson

  • John Clarquist

  • John Sandell

  • George E. Sherwood

  • L. E. Larson

  • Linzay Pankake

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