St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

2016 Sterling Eureka and Laketown Historical Society (Jan 19, 2017)

     Today was the 2016 Christmas Party for the Sterling Eureka and Laketown Historical Society.  We have been around since 2000, and have settled on having our Christmas parties in January so we have something to break up the winter.  The Wolf Creek Church is a great place to have it, with a kitchen, serving counter, gracious hosts, and a feeling of history in the 1922 building.  (95 years old--creeping up on 100).  
     The weather was sunny, 44F, with the January thaw in place leaving a layer of wet mud on the sandy parking lot -- one of the few times of the year that the Sterling Barrens sands feels muddy. 
     When I went to school here, we always hoped for a January or February thaw that melted enough snow to fill the low area along the River Road next to the cemetery with water which turned into a skating pond.  Most years it was only a week or two in March before the ground thawed and the water percolated into the sand, but once in a while it lasted and we could skate (if we could find some skates from an aunt or uncle to borrow). 
    The pot-luck part of the party is better than a restaurant as we get a variety of home made hot dishes, salads and desserts.  We brought a ham and that friend Neil gave us as a thank you for bow hunting in our woods. Too big for a couple of old folks, but fine for 20 people at a Christmas party!
    The program was informal, learning about Wolf Creek from each other.  Orlow Widvey (94?) came to Wolf Creek when he was 4 years old, and told us about the people and stores he remembered. 
We learned a little about Nevers Dam and the Blair cabins (at Riverside Auto) and Duane Doolittle, secretary and treasurer of the Wolf Creek Cemetery Society gave us some history of the cemetery -- started about 1865 and still thriving. 
  We ate from noon - 1pm; learned from 1pm - 2pm; and then went outside to play for recess.  

   A good time was had by all!   

20 folks came out in the 44F sunny weather to enjoy a great potluck lunch, visiting and learn about the history of Wolf Creek

The tables are in the "big room" (grades 5-8) of the 1922 Wolf Creek School House.  The floors are original hardwood, the walls have been recovered and the ceiling lowered. 

Orlow Widvey came to Wolf Creek 90 years ago when he was 4 years old, and went to this school in the 1920s.  He told us about the neighborhood when he was young.  Mostly just the store, bar, dam and folks who lived in the area.  Retherfords, Fisks, Dahls, Louis', Montys, Fors, Lagoos, Blairs, and others.  

Margie Mattson, in front, was a student teacher at Wolf Creek for a week in 1955-- from the Polk County Normal (teacher's) college.  She taught the Hanson boys, but we must have behaved that week as I don't remember anything.  I mostly remember the times I did something wrong rather than when I was good.  

Visiting and waiting in line for lunch


Some photos of Old Wolf Creek, around since 1831 when it was an Indian Trading post. 

Looking to the far back left, the opening into the "little room" grades 1-4, now the church sanctuary with pews from the 1890s first made for the Cushing Methodist Church, then to the Eureka Methodist Church and now at the Wolf Creek Methodist Church.