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St. Ansgar Centennial History

1853 - 1953


Part 10



    The first hotel in St. Ansgar was started in the fall of 1854 in a building that stood on the northwest corner of block 20, where the Bates House later stood (the corner where Wilmer Hartwig now lives). It was afterward sold to Jonathan Allen.



    This old hotel was the first building erected on the town site of Newburg west of the river. It was built by S.R. McKinley, a pioneer of 1855, and stood on the first street west of
The old Newburg Hotel. Built by S.R. McKinley.
the river and just north of the road leading to the old McKinley home. It was used as a stage stop by the daily stage between Dubuque and St. Paul; here they changed horses; and church services and Sunday School were held there.

    Because four older brothers were in the army, Lyman, son of S.R. McKinley, early took up responsibilities unusual for his age. When only fifteen years old, he regularly drove the stage from Newburg to Austin, returning the following day.



    In 1857, A. G. Owen put up the Keystone house.
Keystone Hotel. Erected 1857. Stood where the Koch Implement building now stands. Burned June, 1883, when owned by Henry and Ed Holmes.
It was at that time the largest hotel in northern Iowa. It was 40 x40 feet; two stories high, and when furnished cost about $8,000. Mr. Owen ran the hotel until the time of his death, and his widow ran it until she passed away. After this, Samuel Sweet was the proprietor for many years until it was sold to T. D. Green. He ran it for a time, then leased it to various parties. In 1883 the building burned to the ground. Today, the Koch Implement building, which was built in 1890, occupies the site of this old landmark.



    This hotel stood on the corner now occupied by the Phil McKinley residence. For twelve years, from 1894 into the 1900s, it was operated by Peter Christensen. He also had a livery and feed stable on the lots now owned by Hans Borsheim. The building was sold, moved to the northwest part of town, and is now the dwelling of Mrs. Martha Hackbarth.
Western House. Was located on the present Phil McKinley residence corner. Note the street lights (Kerosene lamps) which were installed in 1882.



    In 1869, when the railroad reached here, a hotel was built where the Klindt hotel now stands, and a Mr. Turner became
Water Tower and Old Hotel. This picture most interesting because it shows the Dykeman hotel at far right (where Klindt hotel now stands), the tower (build in 1903 and moved to the east part of town in 1917, depot No. 2, and the Fedson Elevator.
the first landlord. About 1873, Mr. Dykeman took charge and operated the hotel until his death in 1893. Harry Parsons operated the hotel for a number of years. He also had a livery barn across the street.

    In the spring of 1904, the building was torn down. A.N. Lund purchased the newer part, moved it to the west part of town and made it into a dwelling. Adolf Lund was the first occupant. Today the home is occupied by Sophie Thompson.



    This hotel, operating in the '70s, stood on the northwest corner of block 76, where McKinley's garage now stands. In October 1879, the building was sold to John Vacha for a harness shop.

    In the '60s, this building housed the printing office of the St. Ansgar Journal, a forerunner of the St. Ansgar Register and the Enterprise.



    About 1900 or earlier, a local company was organized for the purpose of erecting a hotel. After consideration of the plan, it was decided not to build at that time. In 1901, the project was again brought up. This resulted in a proposition by C. Fedson
The Klindt Hotel, formerly know as the City Hotel. Held grand opening in March 1905. Purchased by Martin Klindt.
to build the hotel providing the town would donate the lot. His offer was accepted. A subscription list was started and soon the price of the lot was in hand. On a Thursday afternoon, the committee met Mr. Fedson to inform him of the fact. Fedson agreed to begin work at once.

    The following Sunday, Mr. Fedson went to Chicago with a load of stock. Monday morning he met a tragic death in a railroad accident. Plans for the hotel were again halted.

    In 1904, six men again formed a company to build. The incorporation notice was signed by J.F. Koch, C.H. Miller, T.H. Hume, Martin Moe, O.H. Koch and A.N. Lund. The long desired hotel became an assured fact.

    The building was completed late in 1904 and was rented to the Hadleys. A grand opening was held in March 1905. Landlord and Mrs. Hadley provided an elaborate menu, engaged the Seminary orchestra for the evening, and made the occasion one long to be remembered.

    The Hadleys tenure was not long. Martin Klindt purchased the property and retained ownership until his death in 1920. He had operated it himself until he became our local postmaster. While he served as postmaster, the hotel was rented to various parties. At his death, his daughter, Mrs. Marie Wilke became owner and proprietor and continues to do so at the present time.


German Farmer's Mutual Insurance

    One of the earliest St. Ansgar community associations of farmers for their mutual protection is The German Farmer's Mutual Fire Insurance Association of Mitchell County, organized at St. John's Lutheran church in Rock Creek area in December 1881.

    Though early records; are incomplete, they show 87 members in 1889. The first 12 years, each member paid a fine of fifty cents if he failed to attend the annual meeting. In 1892, there were 132 members with insurance in force totaling $245,771. Total income that year was $219.83; total disbursements $231.40; balance cash $808.20. Losses included 3-year-old colt, $80; 2-year-old heifer, $15; a cow, $18; house and contents (burned to ground), $300 and loss paid with $133.66 settlement; household goods, $100; 6 bags potatoes, $3.60; 70 bushels wheat valued at 50c per bushel or $35; president's salary that year was $5; secretary's $25, and treasurer's $5.

    First officers were: A.H. Rosenberg (father of R.C.), president; Fredrick Steinberg (father of Wm., Otto and Emil), vice-president; August Krause (father of Emil of Osage), secretary; Ferdinand Wilde (father of Henry), treasurer; adjustors, August Feldt (father of August, Jr. Osage), Adolph Borchardt (father of George E. of Grafton), and Henry Toeter (later founder of ToetervilIe).

    In 1894, Asmus Brogmus (father of Wm. and Chris, who had Produce and Meat Market) was elected secretary and remained so until 1932. From beginning until 1917, all meeting and minutes were in German language.

    In 1906, Michael Schmidt was elected president, holding that office until May 28, 1910; succeeded by R.C. Rosenberg, who still serves in that capacity (43 years later). Asmus Brogmus was succeeded by O.C. Seefeld in 1932. He served until 1946 when present secretary A.W. Kroneman, became secretary.




Continue to Part 11

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