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May 21, 2015

Agnes and Harry Davies

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Harry J. Davies was born in Perham on Oct. 1, 1886, the son of Fred and Emma Allen Davies. In 1915, he was married to Agnes Berry, who was born Oct. 28, 1894, the daughter of Ludgar and Annie Berry, near Richville.  Harry and Agnes did not have any children.

In 1898, Harry took over the operation of his parent’s cafe, store and bakery. For several years he ran a small hatchery, and later was bookkeeper for the Perham Co-op Oil Company. He was also a gifted amateur photographer.

Agnes worked for August Jahn in 1917, who ran the Golden Rule variety store at the corner of what is now First Ave. S and Main Street.  She remembered Armistice Day in 1918. When school was let out, August brought out the fireworks, skyrockets, and Roman candles bombarded the downtown buildings. Three-inch Minnesota limit firecrackers erupted all over the place.

She stayed with the Golden Rule when August bought the Old Bijou Theatre and remodeled it. The business was sold to J. P. Feyereisen about 1925, and she worked for him until he sold out.

Lester and Bernice Platt bought the building and she worked for them also. Agnes also did stints with Agnes Rosen in her dress shop, Art Rosen when he ran the Red Owl and at the drive-in. She also had used clothing shops. Agnes went to work for Bill Kemper in 1952 and remained in his employ until she retired in 1970.

Agnes was very enthusiastic about fishing all her life. She won the prize for the best fisherman’s hat. Weather never bothered her. She had a dock right in front of her retirement home on Big Pine Lake. She also did ice fishing. Harry died in 1951 and Agnes in 1976. They are both buried in St. Henry’s Cemetery.

 

Information for this article came from the East Otter Tail History Book, Volume I, 1977, available online at www.HistoryMuseumEOT.com.   Lina Belar is the founder and retired director of the Friends of the History Museum of East Otter Tail County.

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May 15, 2015

Dick Beitz: A Lifetime of Hobbies

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R.A. “Dick” Beitz was born June 7, 1891, the son of August and Ida Beitz. On Dec. 8, 1915, he married Olga Jahn. She was born June 24, 1896, the daughter of Nicholas and Johanna Jahn. Both were born in Perham, where they remained and reared their three children, Veery (Mrs. George Ryder), Robert and JoAnn (Mrs. Eugene Adamczyk).  Olga died in Feb. 1975, and Dick died in Sept. 25, 1976. Both are buried in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery at Perham.

Dick was only a sophomore in high school when his parents died, forcing him to leave school and go to work.

One of his first jobs was driving a team of horses during construction of St. Henry’s Catholic Church. His job was to handle the team which pulled up tubs of brick and mortar to the church tower.

He then began employment at the M.J. Gans drug store, where he remained for 45 years. When that business terminated, he started at Kemper Drug and worked on a full-time basis for 10 years, before switching to part-time work for seven years.

When he started working for M.J. Gans, Dick also began keeping weather records, a hobby he continued for more than 60 years. His other hobbies included photography, hunting and fishing and, at one time, motorcycling.

His weather records were carried weekly in the Enterprise-Bulletin. A disappointment for him was that his early records were lost in one of his moves. Through the years, he accumulated a raft of equipment that he used each evening at 6:30 p.m. to record maximum and minimum temperatures, barometric pressures and precipitation readings.

Both bi-metal and mercurial thermometers were used, wind velocity and direction were recorded and humidity taken.

Outside of occasional severe winter blizzards, there have been few violent storms in the Perham area, according to Beitz. Small tornadoes destroyed some barns and other buildings, but the worst probably was many years ago when the “Perham Cyclone” ripped off the roof of the old Globe Mill and sent it sailing down Main Street. Buildings in its path were damaged.

A lover of birds, Dick had built a 60-apartment house for martins at his home which was located along U.S. Highway 10 at that time. The birdhouse was nearly completely occupied when a portion of the mill roof struck it and slammed it to the ground. Miraculously, only three or four of the martins were killed and about half of the colony returned the next season.

Bird photography brought Dick many prizes. He once won second prize in an Eastman Kodak national contest for a shot of some marsh hawks. He was a regular contributor to the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Minneapolis Sunday Tribune and Star Journal photograph sections and won many prizes going back as far as 1925.

He had a collection of pictures of ducks and birds nesting, hunting and fishing scenes and still life that was begun when Dick and Harry Davies were partners in a photo-finishing laboratory. Many of the fishing scenes were along Toad River and Cat Creek (near Sebeka) where he and his son, Robert, did a lot of fine trout fishing.

During these years Dick also became a member of an informal club of motorcyclists. There were about six enthusiasts in Perham at the time, among them Leo Drahmann, Bernie Kemper, and Ed Wasche.  Dick’s first machine was a belt drive, single lung Wagner. Later, he owned two Indian models. Trips in those days were not lengthy by today’s standards. Main highways were nothing more than rutted roadways and it was quite an undertaking to ride as far as Duluth, Fargo or Fergus Falls.

Dick died at the age of 85 after a busy lifetime of successfully pursuing his hobbies.

 

Information for this article came from the East Otter Tail History Book, Volume I, 1977, available online at www.HistoryMuseumEOT.com.   Lina Belar is the founder and retired director of the Friends of the History Museum of East Otter Tail County.

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May 8, 2015

East Otter Tail County Fair

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In 1913, the sixth annual exhibition under the auspices of the Perham Agricultural Society drew a large crowd.

There was a display of livestock as well as agricultural products. The judges were from the agricultural college at St. Paul.

During those years, horses were very popular not only to do the farm work, but the carriage horse could be seen all over.

They even had a horse race at the fairgrounds during the year and some of the women were better drivers then the men.

There were cow contests and horse contests and even one for goats. Julius Rogalski had the prize billy goat.

Market Day in 1910.

Market Day in 1910.

It seems that there was as much interest in the oldsters entering the exhibition in those days as there is in the 4-H children of nowadays.

It was suggested that the people take an interest in their garden vegetables and hay grasses and corns for the next year. This was an early beginning to our East Otter Tail County Fair at Perham.

The stakes for the Exhibition building at the East Otter Tail County Fair grounds were driven in 1916.

Previously it had been a Street Fair in downtown Perham each year, with each merchant having an exhibit in front of his store and offering prizes.

Carnival tents lined the middle of the streets and the merry-go-round usually stood on a vacant lot.

Casper Lotterer was fair secretary, not to mention fire chief, village clerk, etc., and such old stalwarts as Joe Loerzel, Mike Huss and Matt Paulson policed the grounds. Charley Weber. George Humphrey and Don Weickert were other secretaries before Sandy DiBrito took over.

 

Information for this article came from the East Otter Tail History Book, Volume I, 1977, available online at www.HistoryMuseumEOT.com.   Lina Belar is the founder and retired director of the Friends of the History Museum of East Otter Tail County.

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April 30, 2015

Merchants of Perham – John Feyereisen

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John Pierre Feyereisen was born in Luxembourg in 1876. He came to the U.S. with his family at the age of three and settled on a fruit farm near Greene, Iowa.

As an adult, John became a salesman; first for the Iowa Skirt Factory and then for Carson Piere Scott. John’s sales territory was northern Iowa, which he serviced by train, stopping at each town.

He would set up his merchandise at the local hotel, where merchants would come to inspect the goods and place orders. It was as he was returning home by train from one of his sales trips that he met Grace M. Leech as she traveled to her teaching post at the Greene elementary school. Grace was from Harlan, Iowa, where they were married in 1910.

In 1924, John became the manager of The Mercantile Store in Two Rivers, Wis. When the store was sold in 1925, John was out of a job. He moved the family to Big Pine Lake, near Perham, where they lived for the summer in the cottage of his sister, Margaret (Feyereisen) Cavanagh.

Within a year, John had purchased the Golden Rule Variety Store, a general merchandise store located where Strom’s Cafe now stands, and a family residence at 200 Fifth St. S.E., which presently houses the Perham School District Administrative offices.

John loved flowers, especially pansies which he often wore in his lapel. He was an avid gardener and cultivated a large garden where Clarence Boedigheimer’s house now stands, and would vie with Ben Esser over the best garden in the neighborhood.

The Golden Rule sold hardware, housewares, linens, books, toys, candy, and at Christmas, dry goods. Both John and Grace worked in the store and were occasionally assisted by part-time help. The store stayed open until 11 p.m. on Saturday nights to serve local farmers who came to town to attend the early movie and shop on their way home.

Grace, along with Mrs. Mabel Smalley and Agnes Griffin, started the first 4-H club in Perham. John was a longtime school board member and supportive of improving education within the community.

The depression and drought of the late 1920s and the 1930s was disastrous to most local residents and businesses. Sales at the Golden Rule, which were normally $500 a day sometimes dropped to $5 a day. In 1935, after the many hard years and several local bank failures, John was forced to sell the store.

For a time, he tested the cream content of milk from area dairy farms and was able to get a job as an office manager responsible for candling eggs for Cuttahay. The family moved to Fargo-Moorhead in 1937, where John worked in a men’s clothing store until his retirement. He and Grace moved to Rocky Hill, Conn. in 1951, to live near John Jr. They returned to Perham in 1956, following their son’s death.

John Feyereisen, “Pops” to his much-loved offspring, died in 1964. Grace (Leech) Feyereisen, “FeyFey” to the same loved children, died in 1974. They are buried in St. Henry’s Cemetery in Perham. John and Grace Feyereisen had five children: Maria Grace (1911), Kathryn (1913), John Jr. (1915), Paul (1917), and Joan (1922).

 

Information for this article came from the East Otter Tail History Book, Volume II, 1994, available online at www.HistoryMuseumEOT.com.   Lina Belar is the founder and retired director of the Friends of the History Museum of East Otter Tail County.

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April 16, 2015

Bits and pieces from the first days of Perham

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LOGGNG

The following narration was taken from a tape recording given by Max Eckman for the Clearwater County Historical Society.

Mr. Eckman spent most of his life as a river man. His father was a lumberjack and river man. He started his river driving career in 1908, at the age of 16, living in a wanigan, which was a shelter for sleeping, eating, storage, or office space often mounted on a raft or boat.

He said wanigans were of various sizes, small ones at the beginning of the river and larger ones as you came to the larger part of the river. The larger ones had three tiers of bunks. Cooking was done on these larger wanigans.

In the earlier days, wanigans were made of rough-hewn timbers, caulked with okum and covered with pitch.

Occasionally, logs would pile up on rocks and rapids. These jams were usually loosened by dynamite charges. Skilled river men would locate the key log that was causing the jam.

River drivers would use peaveys, cant hooks and pike poles to keep the logs moving. When the logs went through lakes, the logs would have to be boomed and floated to the outlet with favorable winds. This, of course, was in the early days. In later years, scows and gas engines were used to pull the booms.

Max worked on the Otter Tail River at various times between 1900 and 1917. He mentioned working at Camp Number One on Long Lost Lake in Clearwater County. The logs went by railroad to Elbow Lake, then by water to Frazee, where they were sawn into lumber.

Once, he said, he worked for Nockols-Chisholm, whose headquarters were at Fergus Falls. He said that it was a fine company to work for, as the wages were $30-35 a month, with board. There were bonuses paid for finishing jobs.

The men ate meals at 6 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

 

LINDENAU PARK

In 1896, the Sons of Herman Lodge organized Lindenau Park at the Pete Schroeder Brewery near the Otter Tail River.

The park was so named because it was situated among the beautiful linden (basswood) trees. Just a short walk from the Fellerer brothers’ home, brings you to the original setting of this park.

Andrew Fellerer, father of the Fellerer brothers, was brewmaster at the Schroeder Brewery at the time the people enjoyed these outings.

Lindenau Park was a great drawing place for the Perham people. It had entertainment such as bowling, dancing and picnic facilities. The bowling balls were made of wood, and many didn’t have finger holes.

Beer brewed in the Schoeder Brewery was sold on the grounds. Horse-drawn carriages, furnished by the livery stables in Perham, were the means of transportation for the people from town.

Many people looked forward to Sunday, when they could spend the afternoon at Lindenau Park.

It has been said that the minister would announce the gathering from the pulpit, and sometimes even let church out early, so the people would have time to prepare to go to the park.

 

VIKING LEGENDS

Locally, there is lore of Viking ships sighted at the bottom of two lakes near New York Mills.

Vernon Jempsa of Fertile, Minn. is a promoter of the local legend. He was born and raised near New York Mills.

Three people came to the area to investigate the legend: Gerry Michel, a professional photographer; his wife, Georgiann, and her brother, Michael Shinabeck, an experienced scuba diver.

For two days, they explored the lakes. After a thorough search, they concluded that there was nothing to indicate the presence of any sunken boats in the lakes.

Other stories continue to surface, keeping the idea that the Vikings were actually in this area alive.

These are some of the stories: One story has been heard of a sunken ship in Big Cormorant Lake, near Lake Park, but the exact location was never pinpointed.

Older settlers at Ulen recalled a ship found half-buried, near the turn of the century, in the flats west of that village; but the location was never identified.

Perham settlers recalled a large boat that could be seen near the village, which children used to play on, before the turn of the century. This story was also never substantiated.

 

Information for this article came from the East Otter Tail History Book, Volume I, 1977, available online at www.HistoryMuseumEOT.com.   Lina Belar is the founder and retired director of the Friends of the History Museum of East Otter Tail County.

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April 1, 2015

Lawrence Ternus and 34 years of real estate

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Lawrence Ternus was born Nov. 25, 1919.  In December of 1950, he and his family moved from Nebraska to a farm east of Perham. The farm was purchased through the J.G. Durrenburger Real Estate Company. John Durrenberger had several businesses in Perham at the time, one of which was a real estate office he opened in 1950 near the old Post Office.

In 1959, Ternus began selling real estate for Durrenburger and in 1960, purchased the company and changed the name to Ternus Realty.

In 1972, the people of Perham decided they wanted a deputy registrar office here. A petition was drawn up and presented to the commissioner. Through the efforts of Roger Hanson, who was in the legislature at that time, they met with the commissioner and a deputy office was established. Lawrence Ternus was appointed deputy.

During the 34 years that Lawrence was in the real estate business, he saw many changes in the area.

In 1969, good lakeshore was selling for $10 a front foot.  Cabins were $3,000-4,000. Good farms for about $35,000, and houses in town for $10,000.

In those 34 years, Ternus Realty sold over 1000 parcels of property. Some of the properties were those of the early settlers of the area:   Drahmann Brothers, Ben Mohr Cafe, Mike Rebucks place, Herman Wessel farm, George Markell farm and the M.J. Daly house.

Through Mr. Durrenburger, who had been born in 1887, Lawrence met many of the early settlers, people like Herman Wessel, Charlie Lotterer, John Burelbach, Barney Lucking, John Kukowske, Jim Daly, Ed Siebels and Abe Diamond. These people liked to sit in his office and talk.

“I regret I didn’t tape these conversations,” he said in his interview for the East Otter Tail County History, Volume II, which was published in 1994.

In 1970, Frank Hammers bought the Ternus Insurance Agency which Lawrence had started in1963. In 1986, the Agency was purchased by Harold Overland.

Lawrence Ternus died on Jan. 10, 2008.  He is buried in St. Henry’s Cemetery.

 

Information for this article came from the Perham Enterprise Bulletin and the East Otter Tail History Books, available online at www.HistoryMuseumEOT.com.   Lina Belar is the founder and retired director of the Friends of the History Museum of East Otter Tail County.

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March 25, 2015

Women of Perham – Kathleen Guck

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March is National Women’s History Month and this year’s theme, “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives,” is an opportunity to write the contribution of women back into the essential fabric of our nation’s history. Accounts of the lives of individual women are important because they reveal exceptionally strong role models who share a more expansive vision of what a woman can do.

I couldn’t end this short series about remarkable women of Perham without including Kathleen Guck; not so much for her feats or accomplishments, as for the way she lived her life.

Called “Kathy” by everyone who knew and loved her, she was remarkable in that she always showed the world a positive attitude by having a smile on her face and a kind word for everyone she met.  Many people would say after knowing her for a short time, “That’s the way I want to be when I grow up.”

Kathleen Ruth Wasche was born in 1923, the daughter of Edward and Helen (Oswald) Wasche. She grew up around Bluffton, graduated from Wadena High School and attended St. Cloud Teachers’ College, where she distinguished herself in the declamatory contests. She taught commercial subjects in Morton, Minn. for three years. In 1947, she married Arthur “Johnny” Guck, who took over the management of his father’s farm. Two children were born to them, David and Kenny. Johnny died in 1985.

Kathy continued to live in the Perham area. She was an active member of the Perham VFW Ladies’ Auxiliary, the American Legion Auxiliary, the Perham Red Hat Club and TOPS. She volunteered at the History Museum of East Otter Tail County and the In Their Own Words Veterans Museum in Perham and was involved with a variety of community and church activities ranging from Turtle Races to Catholic Daughters.

She loved to travel and had a social calendar that was second to none as she attended concerts, art shows, plays and community events with an enthusiasm that was contagious.

Kathy was a very, very active lady who lived life to its fullest, right up to the end. She died last year in June at the age of 91. A tough act to follow, but I’m going to try.

 

Information for this article came from the National Women’s History Project, the Perham Enterprise Bulletin, and the East Otter Tail History Books, available online at www.HistoryMuseumEOT.org.  Lina Belar is the founder and retired director of the Friends of the History Museum of East Otter Tail County.

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March 11, 2015

Women of Perham – Mary Hemmelgarn

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March is National Women’s History Month and this year’s theme, “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives,” is an opportunity to write the contribution of women back into the essential fabric of our nation’s history. Accounts of the lives of individual women are important because they reveal exceptionally strong role models who share a more expansive vision of what a woman can do.

Mary Hemmelgarn was born on the 4th of July in 1918, shortly before the end of World War I. She was the daughter of Arthur and Katie (Pratt) Stromberg of Valentine, Neb. At the age of 17, she moved with her family to a farm near Perham. After high school, she went to Interstate Business College in Fargo, N.D., and was employed by Northwestern Bell.  In 1940, she began her 15-year career with Selective Service working in Perham, Fergus Falls, Park Rapids, and Detroit Lakes.

Mary married William “Bill” Hemmelgarn on Oct. 30, 1941.  In December 1941, right after Pearl Harbor, Bill volunteered for service along with thousands of others. He was called for duty in May of 1942, and served until November of 1945. He was discharged as an aviation radioman, first class. The fact that he was married to the clerk of the East Otter Tail Draft Board had no effect on his being called for duty. The Selective Service was in pursuit of draftees, clerk’s husband or not.  Mary’s signature was very likely on the draft notices of more than half the men drafted from this area.

After war was declared, the Selective Service office became very busy. There was no National Guard at the time, so everyone came through her office. Each month, Mary’s office was sent a list from headquarters in St. Paul that told them how many men they had to send that month. They had to fill those quotas.

The Draft Board, which was comprised of three men, went over the files and decided who was going to go. As the war escalated, it became even more hectic. Mary and her crew were there early in the morning, when it was still dark. They had an office at the old City Hall, and it was filled with men reporting for the draft. In a busy day, they might send out five busloads of men.

Following the war, Mary and Bill made their home in Perham, where they raised their children, Patricia Sue, born in 1944, and Richard Arthur, born in 1947.

Throughout her life, Mary was an active volunteer. As a charter member of the American Legion Auxiliary, Burelbach Post, Mary devoted more than 50 years toward her patriotic duties. However, she was best known for her more than 40 years of volunteer work at the Perham Memorial Home, where she endeared herself to both residents and staff. She was a member of the original Women’s Hospital Auxiliary and assisted with the initiation of the Red Cross Blood Bank in the Perham area.

In recognition of her accomplishments, Mary received several awards. In 1959, she was made an Honorary Recruiter by the U.S. Army Recruiting Service. She was honored by Gov. Rudy Perpich in 1989, for her work in the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. Mary was overwhelmed in 1999, when she was named Minnesota Volunteer of the Year by the Minnesota Health and Housing Alliance. That same year, she was presented to the Minnesota House of Representatives and received a standing ovation for her volunteer work. She was named the Perham Lions Citizen of the Year and was a member of the Perham Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame.

Mary died on March 18, 2008 at the age of 89.

 

Information for this article came from the National Women’s History Project, the Perham Enterprise Bulletin, and the East Otter Tail History Books, available online at www.HistoryMuseumEOT.org.  Lina Belar is the founder and retired director of the Friends of the History Museum of East Otter Tail County.

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March 4, 2015

Women of Perham – Audrey Esser

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March is National Women’s History Month and this year’s theme, “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives,” is an opportunity to write the contributions of women in the essential fabric of our nation’s history. Accounts of the lives of individual women are important, because they reveal exceptionally strong role models who share a more expansive vision of what a woman can do.

Audrey Esser was one of a number of women who demonstrated that strength by enlisting in the service during World War II. Audrey Esser was born to John and Lillie (Parrish) Nobles in Butler County, Mo. on June 15, 1919. In May of 1943, she entered the U.S. Army Air Corp and served until October of 1945, rising to a final rank of Corporal.

Audrey was an instrument flying instructor in the Link Training Department, where simulators were used to expose pilots to training. She served in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), where she was one of seven women selected to become a flight instructor who would train pilots to safely land their planes during a blackout, or night mission.

She received her training at Daytona Beach, Fla., and advanced training at Kellogg Air Force Base, Mich. The remainder of her time was spent at Barksdale Field, Shreveport, La. There, she met her husband, Bob Esser. He was an altitude trainer instructor. They were married Feb. 10, 1945. At the end of the war, they made their home in Perham, raising seven children.

Bob became a plumber. In 1951, he worked in Thule, Greenland on a military construction project for four 9-month stints. When he returned to Perham, he continued plumbing and worked for Stan Sayer before buying that business and forming Esser Plumbing. In 1960, he became manager of the Perham Natural Gas Department and remained in that position for 25 years. In 1977, he sold Esser Plumbing to his son, Joe.  Bob died Nov. 19, 1985. He was a member of St. Henry’s Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus and the American Legion.

Audrey lived in Perham the rest of her life. She was a member of Catholic Daughters, Christian Mothers, VFW Auxiliary and East Otter Tail Unit of the American Cancer Society. She liked to travel, sew, cook, read, do water aerobics and garden. Her greatest joy was frequent visits from family and friends. Audrey Esser died Sept. 28, 2013, at the age of 94. She has many descendants in the area, all of whom can be proud of the contribution that she made to history.

 

Information for this article came from the National Women’s History Project, the Perham Enterprise Bulletin, and the East Otter Tail History Books, available online at www.HistoryMuseumEOT.org. Lina Belar is the founder and retired director of the Friends of the History Museum of East Otter Tail County.

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February 19, 2015

Early postal service and postmasters of Perham

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Perham’s location came within an ace of being located at the site of the old brewery on the Otter Tail River.

In 1872, Henry Kemper, then postmaster at Rush Lake, received orders to move his post office to that location. But since the Northern Pacific Railroad had already built a siding a mile west of the river, Perham’s current location, Kemper successfully petitioned the postal department to move the office there.

In June of that year, he and his partner, Henry Drahmann, erected the first wooden building in Perham, on the north side of the railroad track. This was the first mercantile business that was established in Perham. They secured a boot and shoe box and fitted it with pigeon holes, and this served as the first post office. The postmaster’s salary was then $12 a year.

When the Drahmann Store and Merchants’ Hotel was built on Main Street, where Thrifty White is now located, the post office was also moved there. Later, it moved across the street into what became the Weis Shoe Shop. Some years after that, the post office occupied a space where Dr. Ryan later established a chiropractic office. In 1962, a new post office building was erected on Main Street, on what was once the Globe Mill site.

Henry Kemper served as postmaster of Perham a total of 21 years. In the first hundred years of the post office, there were only 12 different postmasters, including: Henry Kemper (1872-1889), Stephen Butler (1889-1893), Martin Shea (1893-1897), Henry Kemper (1897-1901), George M. Young (1901-1914), Michael J. Daly (1914-1921), George M. Young (1921-1934), Casper W. Lotterer (1934-1938), John Mattfeld (1938-1940), Louise M. McGrann (1940-1941), John C. Grimm (1941-1944), Alfred A. Nelson (1944-1952), Lawler H. Olson (1952-1969), and Clarence W. Boedigheimer (1969-1976).

Boedigheimer began working for the post office in 1949 and was the first postmaster in the history of Perham to retire after completing 30 years of federal service. He was also the first letter carrier. Before then, mail had to be picked up at the post office.

During his years working for the post office, he saw many changes. Early on, mail arrived in Perham on four different trains each day. That was replaced by truck delivery once a day.

The name of Government Post Office was changed to U.S. Postal Service in 1971. Receipts climbed from $38,000 to $103,000. A new post office was built, with new equipment and fixtures that made for more efficient service. Letter carriers’ service grew from 30 stops to 550 per day for one carrier. At one time, postmasters were political appointments, but that changed to the merit system, which continues to this day.

Information for this article came from the “East Otter Tail History Books,” available online at www.HistoryMuseumEOT.org.

Lina Belar is the founder and retired director of the Friends of the History Museum of East Otter Tail County.