St. Paul & Pacific Railroad

The railroad was first called the Saint Paul & Pacific Railroad but in 1879 it was changed to the Saint Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba and then in 1390 to the Great Northern. Our first station agent was Charles J. Atwater, who was also postmaster with the post office in the depot, 1869; then George D. Breed, 1881: Pat Doran, 1881; A. J. Whitaker, 1887; O. B. Knapp 1887; S. F. Smith. 1895; P. J. Walen, 1896; O. B. Knapp, 1901; W. W. Howard, 1903; O. B. Knapp, 1903, and A. H. Probst, 1904, curing the period from 1869 to 1904.

In the glorious seventies, the Saint Paul & Pacific R. R., five car passenger train, Saint Paul to Breckenridge, was called the Mainliner. It left Saint Paul at 7:30 A. M., arriving at Dassel 11:30 a. m. Going east it got to Dassel at 2:30 p. m. and into Saint Paul at 6:15 p. m. ,

The other was a three car train. Saint Paul & Litchfield, leaving Saint Paul at 3:45 p. m. and in Dassel at 7:40 p. m. Going east, it arrived here from Litchfield at 6:55 a. m. and in Saint Paul at 10:35 a. m.

In 1886 the Saint Paul. Minneapolis & Manitoba Railroad raised the grade and straightened their road east and west of Dassel for eight miles. Boarding camps were established and hundreds of men were employed in the work. This resulted in more business for Dassel and our village enjoyed the most prosperous year in its early history.

The depot was on the north side of the main track until 1883 when it was moved over to the south side, its present location.

On July 28, 1884, Dassel was visited by a real two ring circus, Col. Giles Great American Circus, a 65 wagon show. In leaving here for Glencoe, their next step, a cage containing a lion rolled off the road opposite W. P. Chaney’s and down the hill to the shore of Pigeon Lake. The lion did net escape, the wagon was wheeled to the west end of the lake and was soon en its way again.

With the exception of P. T. Barnum’s Circus, one of the big tops made an annual visit to Litchfield. There was W. W. Cole’s, Adam Forepaugh’s, Sells Bros., Golmar Bros., John Robinson’s, Campbell Bros., and the Ringling Bros. all throughout the eighties and nineties. Dassel took a holiday on these important cays so nearly everybody took in the big show once a year.

Roller skating became a nationwide craze in 1885: big rinks were in all the towns. One was established here by John E. Bunker, it was 48 laps to the mile, 50 and 100 mile races were held monthly for literal cash prizes. World famous skaters gave exhibitions of trick and fancy skating.

Among our greatest skaters were B. A. Records, L. M. Norgren, Pilate Counts, J. P. Norgren, Chas. H. Remick, Wm. Methven and Link Remick. In 1888 roller skating became a thing of the past; now with ball-bearing skates and big rinks, it is being revived with fairly good success.

The Dassel Co-op. Dairy Association was organized in 1894 with August Johnson. President: N. J. Johnson, Secretary, and E. E. McGrew, Treasurer. A creamery was built with August Sangren as manager and Robert Armstrong its first buttermaker. It has always operated with success.

J. H. Remick. N. J. Johnson, E. E. McGrew, August Johnson, Andrew J. Broberg and August Sangren were the leaders in this venture and in making it a paying enterprise. The original building being too small, a new, modern creamery building was erected n 1914 and dedicated on July 4th of that year. It cost $15,000, one of the best in the state and a credit to our farming community.

Dassel’s pioneer tailor was M. Chellin who operated a tailor shop in 1877, which he ran until his death n 1880. In 1881 Peter Westlin entered this line of business and operated a shop until he passed away in 1883.

Peter Norden came to Dassel in 1883 and opened up a tailor shop and is still there, attending to his customers just as he did in the days of old.

Olof Johnson and N. A. Skoog came here in 1889 and were in this line of work for a number of years.

The first livery stable was established by J. H. Remick in 1879 which he managed until 1894 when a new one was built on Lots 13 and 14 in Block 7. In its years it had many owners: Lafayette N. Gates. A. L. Jones. A. E. Ansell, Elliott & Huntley, W. R. Benson, R. T. Elliott & Son, and Fred Collier. Now livery stables belong to the ages, the automobile is in universal use.

Dr. C. A. McCollum was our pioneer physician and surgeon, locating here in 1871. He also was village recorder for several years and county commissioner from 1878 to 1880. On December 1, 1887 he sold out his practice to Dr. J. H. Kauffman of Newburg, Pa. for $250 and moved to Minneapolis, with his office in the Masonic Temple, and residence at 620 Sixth Ave., North. In 1890 he became medical director for the Modem Woodmen in Minnesota and held this position for a number of years. He retired from practice in 1913 and moyed with his family to Carmel, California which became their future home.

Dr. Kauffman was a Dassel physician with an excellent practice for many years: also the owner of the McCoy Drug Store. He died January 7. 1933. at the age of 74 years.

Dr. H. E. Cassel located here February 1, 1889 and in 1891 moved to Cokato making weekly visits to Dassel from his office there for several years.

Dr. George E. Sherwood commenced the practice of medicine at Dassel in 1894 and was one of our able physicians until 1900 when he moved to Kimball. There he has been, with a successful practice, for over forty years.

Dr. E. A. Skaro came here from Minneapolis in 1886 and practiced here two years, then moved back to the Flour City.

Dr. Wm. E. Tryon located in our village in 1900 and was here three years, then left for Minneapolis where he had a good practice until his death in that city.

Dr. M. Kranz came here in 1902 but remained only three months, then located in Saint Paul. Dr. G. J. Dahlquist of Cokato located in Dassel in 1903, remaining here until 1904 when he moved to Williston, North Dakota.

Dr. A. C. Peterson located in Dassel in 1905 and is still here with a thriving and successful practice.

In 1898 after R. F. Case sold his drug business to Dr. J. H. Kauffman who combined it with his Ada McCoy & Co. store. Case moved to Starbuck, Minnesota, and with Lewis B. Stocking, his druggist established a drug store in that thriving village. A few years later, Stocking sold his half interest in the business to Case and bought a drug store of his own in Belgrade.

In 1922 they both left Minnesota for California. R. F. Case located in Rio Linda where his son. Wilson R., had a chicken ranch Later they sold the ranch and went to Sacramento, opening a hardware store under the firm name of Case & Co., which is still there doing a thriving and successful business.

Lewis B. Stocking went to Long Beach where he was employed as a druggist until his death on January 24, 1934, his age was 62.

R. F. Case died in Sacramento. January 4, 1932. He was 77 years old.

Dentists made regular visits in the early days. Dr. S. C. Carter of Howard Lake, Dr. W. Niven of Saint Cloud, and Dr. Geo. E. Means of Howard Lake were here from one to three cays of each month. Teeth were pulled fast; gold was hammered into the teeth and the drills were run by foot power with no running water in those days.

Dassel’s pioneer lawyer was W. L. Van Eman who opened a law office in 1877 and at his death on May 15. 1881, at the age of 36, he was succeeded by Douglas Martin, who remained here until 1885 when he moved to Arizona.

A. B. Bunting of Minneapolis located in Dassel in 1887 but went back to the Flour City in 1889 on account of lack of business: not enough to make it pay. Ed R. Heenan went into the law business here in 1904 and remained a year then moved to Kenmare, North Dakota.

After Wm. H. Spath was admitted to the bar, he located in Wilton, North Dakota, remaining there until 1889 when he came to his home town where he attained prominence in his profession and became one of our leading citizens. He was also Justice of the Peace, serving from 1891 to 1895. In 1903 the family moved to Salkum, Washington and in 1907 to Chehallis, where he practiced law with success for a number of years. He was also elected Judge of the Municipal Court, giving fair and impartial rulings which met with the approval of the people. Wm. H. Spath died in 1939 at the age of 89 years.

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