Drug, Harness, Blacksmith Shops and Fire Department

M. A. Scheldrup opened the Lion Drug Store in 1887, selling out to Anton Heedles in 1889 who operated the store until 1891, then moving it to Minneapolis. R. C. Trudgen started a drug store here in 1900 which he kept going for two years when he moved the stock to Shell Lake, Wisconsin. Peterson Bros, opened a drug store in 1905 which is still operating in its original location.

In the early days, our drug stores received most of their merchandise from Noyes Bros. & Cutler, and the Lyman-Eliel Drug Co.

In the old days, villages had harness shops. The first one was started by Theo. A. Pramhus in 1885, later on he sold out to M. Halvorson and in 1891 he sold the business to John Sandell. He ran this business until 1894 when he closed it out by a sale and then the stock and tools were sold to Frank Rudberg who opened a shop which he operated until 1901 when he sold out to the Brown Hardware Co. and entered their employ. Later on he was in this line of work in the hardware store of Fred Rudberg and then for many years with S. N. Gayner & Co., and Gayner Bros. He died January 12, 1943 at the age of 72.

Frederick Spath opened a blacksmith shop seven miles north of Minneapolis in 1855 where the village of Fridley is now located. In 1864 he moved it to Kingston and was there until 1866 when he took a homestead in Section 10, Dassel, then called the Swan Lake township. When the St. Paul & Pacific R. R. reached Dassel in 1869 he left the farm and on July 12 established the first blacksmith shop in our village on Lot 10 in Block 8 of the original town-site. In this work he was so busy that a roof didn’t get on the place until November. On April 1, 1881 he turned the business over to his son, P. F. Spath, and then moved back to his farm.

This blacksmith shop had many customers and was a busy place for many years. Frederick Spath died February 11, 1891, age 66. P. F. Spath died February 17, 1927. His age was 71.

J. H. Remick opened a blacksmith shop in 1882 for the main purpose of
doing his own horseshoeing and repairing. He also served the public but after a year discontinued this and kept the shop for his own work. His full name was John Henry Remick, but was always known to our people as Hank Remick and was one of Dassel’s leading citizens.

In 1876 Erick Rundquist became a blacksmith in Dassel and two years later he sold a half interest in the shop to John M. Johnson. This partnership continued until 1880 when Johnson bought the other half from Rundquist In 1882 when the firm of Leighton & Johnson opened their hardware store, the blacksmith shop was discontinued. John M. Johnson died April 17, 1909, he was 63 years old.

Olof Olson and his family arrived from Sweden in 1882 and he opened shop and for many years gave the best of satisfaction to his customers.

Wreisner & Mattson established their business as machinists, blacksmiths and wagonmakers in 1883 but on October 20, 1887 the place was destroyed by fire with no insurance. The enterprising business men of Dassel in that period promptly helped with necessary funds to rebuild the place and in two months the plant was going better than ever. The firm of Wreisner and Mattson was succeeded by Wreisner Bros., and they are still there as Wreisner Bros. & Sons, on that same location, with a garage, machine shop and oil station.

The Dassel Manufacturing Co. was doing business in 1883 with a most up-to-date plant, a foundry, and machine shop, with fifteen employees. In the Dassel News-Letter of March 13, 1884 their advertisement appeared as follows: “Dassel Manufacturing Co., Founders, Machinists’, Blacksmiths and Woodworkers. Owners of mills, factories, elevators and steam engines will find it to their interest to leave their orders for new work or repairs with the Dassel Manufacturing Co., manufacturers of all kinds of patterns and castings, experimental and practical machinery forgings, iron and steel, wood turning and scroll sawing. Persons having complicated inventions on their brains, difficult of clearing out will generally find ready help in time of need as we have had a long experience in such cases. We make drawings, specifications and anything in connection with our business.”

Not being a paying venture, the property was sold to Erick Hagelin who with the financial assistance of our citizens, it was converted in a flour and feed mill in 1885 which he operated with success until 1912. Then the country milling industry showed such a decline it was discontinued. Erick Hagelin was born January 24. 1849 and died August 17. 1919.

O. H. Sundahl started a feed mill in 1875, Ed Lewis one in 1891. and G. B. Waller one in 1897. These mills were operated for a few years, then discontinued for lack of enough business to make them paying propositions.

James B. Lewis & Co. established a woolen mill in 1876 which burned down in 1880. A stock company was then formed, the mill rebuilt and commenced business under the name of the Dassel Woolen Mills, with Horace P. Breed and Daniel Methven as its managers. James R, Methven and Wm. Methven, sons of Daniel Methven, were among the twenty-two employees.

They manufactured all kinds of woolen goods, and the famous “Svenskt Wadmal”, which had a ready sale all all over the northwest. This business also showed a decline so in the course of time, it went out of business.

In 1890 O. W. Olson started a carding mill which he ran for several years with success.

Dassel Fire Department

The first fire fighting organization was established in 1881. On July 25th a petition signed by twelve legal voters of the village of Dassel was presented to the Council, proposing that the signers of the said petition might be known as the Dassel Hook & Ladder Fire Company, and on a motion the following was passed: “Resolved, that J. H. Remick. L. W. Leighton. H. L. Babst John S. Larson. George Norton. S. W. Maxson. J. H McKenney, A M. Bell. J. J. Rudberg, P. F. Spath. Peter Johnson, and J. H. McIntyre to be known as the Dassel Hook & Ladder Fire Company, and be entitled to all the benefits and subject to any penalties as such to the statutes made and provided.”

They were equipped with two dozen rubber buckets, two fire axes and one hook and ladder truck with ladders. After the big fire of February 3, 1883, the village bought a Rumsey Hand Engine and a hose cart with 628 feet of hose for $1560. A fire bell was bought August 5, 1884, weight 450 pounds, and cost $90.81. It’s the one now in use.

On May 2, 1884, the Dassel Fire Department was organized, Engine Company No. 1, with the following members:

J. H. Remick, Chief
A. M. Bell, Assistant Chief:
C. A. McCollom. Secretary
L. A. Whittemore
Wm. Galiger
David Flack
P. F. Spath
J. W. Norgren
J. M. Johnson
Peter Johnson
L. W. Leighton
John Johnson
Louis Osterlund
J. J. Rudberg
R. T. Elliott
Alex Cofield
John Thompson
J. H. McKenney
Charles S. Royce
Oscar Lahti
Theodore Singleton

Hose Company No. 1 had the following members:

John E. Bunker, Chief
Pat Doran. Assistant Chief
J. H. McIntyre
John H. Wallace
L. M. Norgren
Ole Rundquist
W. D. Bangs
J. R. Methven
Charles H. Remick
L. G. Adkins

The Dassel Fire Department was reorganized on December 1, 1903:

B. A. Records, Chief
L. M. Norgren, Assistant Chief
D. E. Murphy, Treasurer
Oscar E. Linquist, Secretary
Linzay Pankake, Captain
E. J. Sangren, Lieutenant
Joseph Olson
Peter Olson
Charles W. Henke
Ed Hardy
Axel Nelson
Geo. W. Rudberg
A. E. Sjoquist
O. J. Peterson
A. E. Ansell.

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