NARRATOR: Have you ever driven past a green sign at the edge of a town and thought, I should stop there and take a look, find out who lives there, where they came from, and where they’re going? In the next hour, we’ll visit four small towns across Northeastern Minnesota and find out what it means to live as a part of each community or any community Welcome to “This Town.” We’re happy you’re here MAN: (SINGING) What makes this place feel like it does? We are this town This town is us I like this town [music playing] I think innately, we were created with the desire to want to connect with others And so a community is almost the relationships that we build with our families, with our friends I think that is really important to us in Grand Portage The people here care for one another and look out for each other And so we care about this place and also the people It’s a really interesting story People were here in Grand Portage long before there was a state of Minnesota The Ojibwe are traveling people We traveled in birch bark canoes up until the 1920s Up and down the lake and on the lakes and rivers around as far back as our oral histories go, this is the place where our people have been The grandmother of my grandmother of my grandmother lived here Hi I’m Beth Drost I’m the chairwoman in Grand Portage for the Grand Portage Band We are here on Grand Portage Bay on Lake Superior No, we can’t really see Canada from here, but the Hat Point is right over there beyond the island, and then there’s the Pigeon Point And that would be where, I guess, Canada would start is two points over I think of Grand Portage as– it is a community, and it’s a village It’s a small village Grand Portage is also the name of a trail, The Grand Portage, that runs right through here And so everything around here is called Grand Portage And the people here are known as the Grand Portage Ojibwe The Grand Portage is about an 8-and-1/2-mile portage that has been utilized by the Grand Portage people as well as voyagers for hundreds of years BETH DROST: The name in our language is [non-english],, and it means the great carrying place, the portage, so carrying their canoe from Lake Superior inland around the impassable falls and rivers It’s kind of a geographic wonder the way Grand Portage works My name is Karl Koster I’m park ranger for the National Park Service here at Grand Portage National Monument, but I’m also the man in charge of running the historical encampment, so running our annual event that celebrates the fur trade here in Minnesota and at Grand Portage particularly You see, Grand Portage has this cut through the hills that actually connects two major bodies of water Now, of course, it’s Lake Superior connecting to the Pigeon River So the discovery of the Grand Portage was a connection between the water routes going all the way to the Pacific to the water routes going back to the Atlantic Well, Grand Portage has had visitors to it for a long time KARL KOSTER: For many years, people were coming through this area But then in the 1700s when the fur trade starts rolling, we’re going to start seeing fur traders show up here And that number just grew and grew And by around 1770, 1780, there were numerous fur companies in this area, especially on Grand Portage Bay So what happened right around 1779 to 1784– a coalition of many traders gathered and formed the Northwest Company So the Northwest Company chose this location because of its perfection Yeah, Grand Portage kind of ends up being about eight weeks by fur tree canoe to the Atlantic and eight weeks to the Pacific So we’re basically in the center of the world here during the era of the fur trade

We got everyone up here from all over the country BETH DROST: I used to be a park ranger for the Grand Portage National Monument, and I was an interpreter Yeah, I guess this kind of takes me back to giving those stories over and over again We told the story of the fur trade here in Grand Portage and the Northwest Company’s passing through here, but we also told the story of the Grand Portage Ojibwe or Anishinaabe With the honor of being able to play this game in this place with these people on three One, two three We’ve been playing historical lacrosse In the Ojibwe or Anishinaabe language, that is known as [non-english] First off, it’s important to say that stickball is a Native American sport that goes back at least 1,000 years, and quite likely several thousand years So it’s a very ancient game that’s seen as a gift to the creator In 2000, I was a seasonal park ranger here at Grand Portage National Monument We had our first game here at the Grand Rendezvous So that was 19 years ago These are our Western Great Lakes style, call the [non-english],, so stick with which you play [non-english] They’re a full hoop, and the game is played very similar to field hockey or actual hockey In fact, the modern sport of hockey comes from traditional indigenous stickball played on the ice And over time, the balls and the sticks morphed into modern hockey What we have in [non-english],, and at least the way we play it here at Grand Portage or [non-english],, is we have two poles Many times, those were planted in the ground Here we plant them in large stumps so that they can give and move, and you don’t actually get hurt if you hit one [non-english] is a wonderful sport We have men and women here ranging in age from, I think, 10 or 8 all the way to 70 And we also have Native American and other people playing So it’s a game that brings us together here at Grand Portage [music playing] KARL KOSTER: The event here is really kind of special I mean, there’s people who are camping here, among over 300 reenacters that gather for this event And here we have a chance to actually celebrate something on the original site where it actually occurred Thank you You’re welcome Thank you Thank you I enjoy doing the history stuff, making froes and just experimenting with stuff that would be used in the 1700s and would be made in the 1700s and early 1800s It’s a lot of fun, a lot of fun KARL KOSTER: The company was active here until 1802 That was the last summer the big gathering was here, because what we’ve been talking about is a British company operating on US soil illegally So with those threats of taxation and movement, the company did have to move into Canada So 1802 was last great year of all that great gathering Yeah [music playing] BETH DROST: Grand Portage is a reservation now, today In the 21st century, we are stewards of this little piece of land we have here It’s approximately encompassing 67,000 acres or so The land was parceled out many years ago, and a lot of it was sold off to others We’re very proud to have bought back over 90% of our land That’s our tribal council office up there It looks nice in the light We did have an election a few months ago, and I was elected as the first chairwoman of Grand Portage after our longtime leader, Norman Deschampe, passed away in office Once you think about it through what stories they’re going to tell about you, and what my daughter’s going to say, that’s what– she’s going to be able to say that forever My mom was the first chairwoman in Grand Portage, and to be the first at something is kind of neat I just hope that I can serve my people the best I can

and do good for us so that we can always be here It’s a huge responsibility, and I don’t take it– I take it very seriously So Grand Portage is more than just a small community It has a lot of interconnectedness for our family and other families who live here So if there’s a way to somehow illustrate that to the viewers, just that connection, that interconnectedness to this place, this land, and that growing up here, we hunt fish and gather, we spend time in the woods, and that’s important And that’s something I want my children to be able to do, and their children to be able to do INTERVIEWER: No Wait One more thing Many people driving by think of this as a place with this great, rich history What do you look forward to in the future that we should also be thinking about? Well– dang We’re still here This is where we’ve been, perhaps for thousands of years And this is where we’re always going to want to be This is our homeland And to have this place that we call our own, that we can raise our children here and call our own forever– it always just makes me emotional When people come to visit, they say, oh, I just love Grand Portage And that makes me proud too, is that people find this place to be a really– a nice place to be and a good feeling And so I think that’s what I would be most proud of [music playing] NARRATOR: This town was named sarcastically D.H Bacon was the first general manager of the Soudan underground mine He couldn’t help but notice that the weather in Northern Minnesota was the exact opposite of the weather in Sudan, Africa, so he named the town Soudan Now, the extra O is an acceptable alternate spelling of Sudan It does not stand for OMG, is it ever cold here [music playing] [instrumental music] NARRATOR: This town was originally called “Section 22,” until German realtor Frank Hibbing built a road to it Upon his arrival in 1892, Hibbing said, “I believe there is iron ore under me My bones feel rusty and chilly.” Hibbing was fine He lived another five years He was also correct There was iron ore under Section 22, plenty of it And so the town of Hibbing was named after him [instrumental music] CAROLE BERSIN: My name is Carole Bersin We are in Sandstone, Minnesota in Train Park I am just today finishing up a mural covering the history of the Kettle River Watershed I want the one I put in front I want him in front of the other one But I don’t want it so I, you know Sandstone is a really friendly community Not just Sandstone, but the whole area I lived in Minneapolis for 32 years and moved up here in 2014 I love how quiet it is I think that, being a person that lived in an urban area for a long time, I think that people are calmer It’s easier It’s pleasant It’s very pleasant I do have a favorite story about living in a small town

When I was doing research for this mural, I wanted to go over to the History Center, which is just right over there on the corner And, of course, it wasn’t open But there was a note on the thing that said, “Call Irene Sandell.” And she said, “Oh Well, you can go over to Cheri’s Flower Shop and get the key and just go on in and look right.” I said, “Wow Well, I haven’t been there before and I feel a little nervous about going in all by myself.” She goes, “You could go get the key and then I’ll meet you there tomorrow at noon.” So I went to Cheri’s Flower Shop And I said, “Hey, Cheri I’m here to get the key.” And, “Oh, yeah Irene called.” And they gave me the key to the History Museum And I met Irene there next day at noon And she let me in and she showed me around And she said, “Well, I’ve got gardening to do You just look around as long as you want And when you’re done, just bring me back the key.” That’s small town living [laughs] [instrumental music] RICHARD VANDERWERF: Well, we might as well go this way here OK, I’m Richard VanDerWerf Sandstone’s always been a pretty friendly town Well, for me, it has And that’s the way the town is I know now one of our railroad men there, he got transferred out to [bleep] And being a Swede, he should have liked it because it’s all Swedes out there But he didn’t like it at all He said, “They’re clique-y out there.” I can’t figure that out, but– When I was a kid, we used to– us kids used to go swimming down here in the river And then were a lot of times that the shortcut, you go up this here wall here There used to be a cable part way up there A slim cable, but we could hang onto it until we got to that ledge up there And then from there on, it was an easy climb to the top When we got to the top there, we were hotter than before we went swimming [laughs] Yeah, and I think they started quarrying right in this area here Then they worked that way All the towns in the area got started because of logging, except Sandstone And in about 1885, somebody discovered this pinkish stone near the [inaudible] And he found it was a very, very desirable This sandstone does not corrode with water going over it It stands up real well So then the guy, I think it was Grant, he got the quarry started In fact, by the end of the year, 1885, there was a little bit of a village got started And they were talking about calling it “Mineral Springs,” because down the river there was a great big spring on the other side, which we call Mineral Springs Great big springs, but evidently Sandstone is much more logical So that was a natural name for it And sometimes they had some hard times, too Town was about 500 people They had several hundred people worked in the quarry But then the fire came And the town had to start up all over again Everything got burnt up When I was a kid, there were no trees down here at all Anyway, now you can– through the woods here– you can see that one derrick there They had a boom, you know? They had to haul the rock up over the cliff And they had to pick up the rock from one place and they had to swing it around, although I don’t think a boom on there would be quite far enough But I never did watch it working though But I can remember it, standing here Right up there, you can pass– you can even walk up to it But I’m not that steady anymore So I’m– I don’t– yeah By 1910, when my grandfather came in, it was up to 1,800 population then And they had 600 people working in the quarry There’s a picture of my grandfather and a bunch of the guys in front of the old stone cutting shed He cut out the big rocks here I don’t know if anybody enjoyed that kind of work But it was hard work, but he came here because he had friends that were here See, back right after the Hinckley fire in 1896, a whole bunch of Dutchman came in It was advertised, and get this good land here But then when the snow melted in the Spring there, they were pretty disappointed Nothing but a bunch of rocks But then the Scandinavians came in there And they looked at the land Hey, this is just like Sweden, Norway, you know

So they thought this was great land And so they made a good go of it Of course, these old times, they were used to the hard work, you know? They came over here, men, it was probably was no different than anything else There are some that got the stone cutter’s arthritis And if they worked right in– probably in the shed or some place, they had no masks or anything And those people, they’d get this stuff down And it was a lot worse than working in a coal mine You know, that stone dust is the worst MAN: Fine dust Yeah, fine dust there Yeah, a lot of people died because of this place The quarry started to peter out because you got cement and steel And that made it so there wasn’t that much demand anymore By 1939, we were in the fourth grade They finally went out of business But, yeah, it was too bad in a way that it went out of business Yeah, we don’t have the section gang anymore We don’t have railroad workers But the prison is one thing that kept the town going So I guess we were pretty glad when the prison started up And if you noticed, coming into town, the population says 2,800? Well, about 1,400 of them are out there So– [laughter] So the town isn’t near as big TONY VAVRICKA: This town has kind of been forgotten about for a while There’s always a push, I feel like, for the kids to get out of Sandstone as fast as possible I’m hoping to reverse that trend in making Sandstone someplace people want to move to Sandstone could be a real hub of Green tourism, for that adventure tourism, for the hiking, and the fishing, and the climbing RICHARD VANDERWERF: Well, yeah We can go over and see where they do their rock climbing Oh, that’s more than that MAN: More than 50? Yeah I’d say about 70 feet But when I was a kid, nobody ever thought of rock climbing or ice climbing here MAN: It’s a newer sport It is, yeah [instrumental music] MAN: All right, we’re climbing MAN: All right [instrumental music] Yes, dude Yes My name is Alex We’re in Sandstone, Minnesota at Robinson Park doing some rock climbing We live in Minneapolis We live in the cities Like the trek up Probably like once every two-ish weeks, once or twice every two weeks MAN: Because we’re trying to send this now, though, while it’s still here ALEX: There’s a lot of good stuff here So it’s fun to come up here and work on it I’m so tired MAN: You got it You’re there WOMAN: So close MAN: Don’t worry This next part is really easy WOMAN: Nice ALEX: Probably a while ago, I don’t know when, there were some people out here that would go like, hey, this would be good to climb They would, like, rappel down from the top, drill in bolts So that way you can leave them there without having to worry about them deteriorating or worrying about the rock deteriorating It’s like not super bad for it And then we can throw up our own gear So we can make sure that we’re being safe So we’re not going to fall and die So we can climb it Yeah, so I think they’ve been climbing here for 30 or 40 years, maybe longer I don’t know Yeah, I mean, for Minnesota– because there’s a lot of people that like to climb in Minnesota But there’s not a whole lot of spots to climb Yeah, dude, you’re right about some of these holds, though They’re so good actually Yeah, yeah That’s probably not going to be super good The best drugs ever You’re going to grab it You’re like oh, this is really good If you go up north, there’s a bunch of spots up They’re like down to like Blue Mountains But other than that, there’s not a whole lot of places There’s small spots here and there But there’s a lot– for Minnesota, there’s a good amount of climbing here And it’s all a pretty solid climbing The climbing is good The rock is good So it’s a good destination for it, just for the Midwest Living in the plains, this is some of the best stuff we got TONY VAVRICKA: We get people coming in from all over for the rock climbing, but even more so for the ice climbing Actually, 15 years ago, I started the Ice Climbing Festival here in Sandstone– the Sandstone Ice Fest Myself and other climbers actually went to the city ministry at that time, named Sam Griffith He was very, very open to the idea

of bringing in some ice climbers if we did some volunteer work, some park cleanup kind of stuff The park was left pretty much abandoned for about 40 years Families weren’t really comfortable going down there with some of the riffraff that was hanging down there Now it’s completely changed The climbers and the paddlers and other people have taken the park back One of the north facing walls, every year there is some water freezing up that naturally forms there When we started that first ice climbing festival, we actually pumped the water and added some more water to that wall and actually filled the whole wall up with ice, showing people what the potential could be for the ice farming up here in Sandstone Now we have a reliable place to go ice climbing every year And it’s actually spread out People know about it all over They know we’re going to have quality ice here that is very, very accessible to You don’t have to walk in miles to find it It’s right there outside of your car The old history that’s important that’s we can’t let that go But we’re also on the verge of what the new history of Sandstone is Everybody is online for doing something for this town This town is in a sad state, bringing some tourism dollars in here Everybody seems on board with that, all the businesses at least, in the whole economics of what this adventure green tourism can provide for the town It’s pretty exciting This town was named after the Cloquet River to the north But who named that river is a bit of a mystery Some believe fur traders named it after a pair of French scientists The brothers Hippolyte Cloquet and Jules Germain Cloquet Now, Hippolyte was a rhinologist, a nose doctor And Jules was a surgeon, an artist, and an inventor We can only imagine which of those disciplines most impressed the fur traders Hi, my name is Michelle Bebeau I am part of the Bullhead Clan I am from Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe I am 21 years old I’ve been a part of the Local Indian Council plenty of years I was a youth rep And now I’m the secretary treasurer One of my favorite quotes is, “be who you needed when you were younger.” And I was a really shy kid around Ball Club And I didn’t leave my house too often unless my brother or sister was also there with me I’ve thought about leaving Ball Club to pursue education But I just can’t bring myself to leaving I want to take care of my community I want to give back to my community I want to be who I needed when I was younger And that’s OK if I want to stay here OK, hello [non-english] That means hello My name is Krissalyn Dahl And we’re in Ball Club Baaga’adowaan Ball Club actually used to be a lacrosse court because lacrosse is a traditional sport that Native Americans play As you know, this is a Native American community And I think that is really cool It’s taking something so important to our culture and having us live there, having us know what it is about I’m going to read the introduction of this book, Baaga’adowaan And it’s a book about Ball Club There is a town on the eastern part of the Leech Lake reservation And its name is Ball Club Baaga’adowaan– the place where you play lacrosse Many years ago, our people would play the game on both shores of Ball Club Lake, also named for the game People traveled by horseback and canoe to play the game They called it the healing or medicine game, or the creators game When I was a youth coordinator, we had a lacrosse camp And that was the first time lacrosse has been in our community in years

We practiced in our powwow arena around there So the importance of lacrosse and ball club, it really represents who we were and who we still are And it brings back these memories of when we had lacrosse here And let’s bring it back and represent our community through lacrosse It’s really cool that we have these And it makes you want to dig deeper into the history There is not enough on the internet about Ball Club OK, so I’m looking on Wikipedia And it says that Ball Club, the population is 342 Ball Club’s small economy includes a general store and gas station And we are located on the Leech Lake Indian reservation This is a weird, interesting fact See, I don’t know if I believe this on here It says Rosanna Catherine Payne’s served as the post mistress for Ball Club Payne served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1927 to 1932 INTERIVEWER: Do you not believe that? I never heard that before INTERVIEWER: I actually looked that up She was the fifth woman to serve in Minessota house ever What? See, I did not know that INTERVIEWER: That’s sort of cool Yeah, I’m all for women in the house Yeah, maybe I’ll be there one day That’s a long 20, 30 years One thing my mom always tells me is, Michelle, you tend to go above and beyond all the time You don’t have to do that You have years to help change our community And the future of Ball Club is bright We have a lot of youth that are ready to take over And as long as we support our younger generation and our youth, we’re going to be the best community out there So tonight at our Ball Club community center, we’ll be having a circle of healing meeting A lot of exciting news will be shared with our community members, regarding the park and our future Yeah, the park is something that we’ve been working on a long time and holds a special place in my heart And we’re almost to the finish line We’re almost there We are at the Ball Club park because we really want a new one This place used to be so big to me and my friends when we were little That like– that thing over there that could have been our rocket ship It could have been where the superhero slept It could have been anything you wanted it to be All you had to do was use your imagination A lot of the times it was a little dangerous because it’s an old park It’s a really old park So it could break at any moment It was starting to get worn down They took the slide down because it broke There’s glass in the park, spray paint The swings are breaking TAYLOR O’SHEA: So the old park is not very kid friendly There’s sand, so people with disabilities, like muah, can’t get in the sand I’ve tried INTERVIEWER: You have tried? Yeah INTERVIEWER: How does it go? I got stuck Me, Teona, and Krissalyn are really the original designers of this park We have these youth who got to work hard for the park It’s cool that we get to bring it to life TAYLOR O’SHEA: So we designed the original plan on what we wanted to have, where we wanted to have it We came up with this idea to have a park So we went and talked to some of the elders and leaders in our community and see what they could do to help us Because let’s talk about– it’s kind of the reality of this whole thing and that is that things are really expensive Just a piece alone is $20,000 And that is crazy expensive So we have the artist Wesley may today helping us He’s an artist from Red Lake Reservation And he’s coming to our small community of Ball Club to help us create art for our park All the way around again The whole inside until we get into the center All right? No, because they all go together so they’re connected See, they are connected He’s just showing us art work that we’re going to use for the playground We’ve done a bunch of art work in the summer And he’s just showing us that our artwork matters

And it’s going to be a big part of the park And today we’re doing a special piece to go on a we-go round They’re getting an accessible merry-go-round called the we-go-round And I think that is so cool because Taylor and I are going to be super excited about that, like really excited You can take the wheelchair and roll it right on and then lock the door and then swing her around like, da, da That’s so cool I just love to hear about that But the biggest thing that I love is it’s in the shape of a turtle because that’s my clan, [inaudible] And the turtle represents wisdom And in a story called [inaudible],, which I learned in Indian Ed, the turtle is what the earth rests upon because the muskrat went down deep And he grabbed a piece of the earth And he went back up and he risked his life And he died for it But they took the piece of earth And they didn’t know what to put it on And the turtle said, put it on my back It will grow on my back And it’ll create earth And it did, but the turtle couldn’t come back up because he’s the one that supports the earth And I think that’s such a good symbolism because it’s in the shape of a turtle And it’s resting upon the turtle Yeah, the turtle means a lot And I think everyone’s going to go to the park to see the turtle I want to go see the turtle shape And I want to see where the turtle is KRISSALYN: There’s a really big future for Ball Club And it’s not just for kids The elders can be here, too It’s for everybody It’s amazing to be in such a place with amazing heritage My ancestors could have walked this very field And they never would have known that their future great, great, great, great, great, great grandkids would be designing a park and would be making a whole community filled with people who want to respect their culture I feel super proud as a kid to be able to do this and help out with it instead of just all the adults doing everything Like, you would never think in a million years that a couple of kids could make this big thing come true, and this big dream come true NARRATOR: This town was named as an act of vengeance In 1871, a Kentucky congressman objected that federal lands in northern Minnesota were being given to the St. Croix and Lake Superior Railroad for free In a speech to Congress, he ridiculed one of the towns set to benefit from this railroad He called Duluth a fabled Atlantis, destined to become the commercial metropolis of the universe He was being funny His name was Jay Proctor Knott And the town named after him is Proctor [music playing] NARRATOR: This town was very nearly named for a woman, which makes it unusual in Minnesota Florence Pengelly lent her name to a new town site on the east side of Shagawa Lake until her fellow townspeople discovered Minnesota already had a Florence in the opposite corner of the state Now they might have named the town after another local woman, but instead, they named it after a man– a mining executive named Samuel Ely from Michigan Unlike Florence, Ely never actually saw Ely, or Florence, or the team of moose that Ed Crossman trained in the winter of 1905 to lead his sleigh up and down the streets of Ely Oh You know, I think this is the first share that we’ve had a Christmas tree lit in Kettle River Oh, isn’t it beautiful? You know, that’s a perfect tree Wow There’s a lot of lights on that Dan Reed decided that Kettle River should have a tree this year And he came in and set it up Tonight there’s going to be a gathering around the tree First time in Kettle River That’s great DAN REED: It was my idea I said, let’s put together a community Christmas tree My name is Dan Reed

We’re in my garage, and I use my garage for, like, making wreaths We do spruce tops in the fall, and that But I do wreaths for the cemetery You have these projects to remind people of how it was, and where we’ve come from, and where we’re going to go BETTY LEHET: I grew up on a farm north of Kettle River But in my childhood days, this is where I came– to Kettle River Well mom would say, well, let’s go to town today And so, you know, we’d kind of dress up a little bit We’d make a day of it It was so vibrant There was always something going on Well, you know, there was a bit of business in every spot This is the co-op mercantile store And the [inaudible] brothers, they had a lumber yard My family would have their Thanksgiving dinners here because we were such a large family And then there would be the CAP down there But this is the original building right here You can tell, yeah Kettle River has been called the most cooperative town in all of Minnesota because they had 9, 10, 11 cooperative businesses And I don’t think many of the other cities did DAN REED: The co-op system is an interesting system BETTY LEHET: I think a co-op is when everybody chips in Like, all of these businesses that were started here, they sold shares MAN: So when the business makes money, each person that has shares there, they make a certain amount of profit for each of those shares BETTY LEHET: $7,500 in refund Well, this is their refund that they were– they had this much money they were going to be returning to the owners, the shareholders Yeah The owners and the customers are the same people Well, the co-ops were an idea that had come from socialist roots There was some connotation sometimes, right Well, you can throw a lot of labels around Some people who weren’t using it or in it thought, well, that’s communist I don’t know where they got the idea, frankly, but The Finns brought the idea of the co-ops with them from Finland And I am the local storyteller, or the Finns call it a kalle It’s a way of perpetuating stories that have come from the old ones People ask, well, why did the Finns and a lot of the Scandinavians come here? Well, it is true that this area looks very much like Finland, for example It’s uncanny how much the woods and everything is the same unless you really start to look I heard the story of my great grandmother and her first husband They were dislocated, like a lot of Finns, a lot of Scandinavians were, because of the effects of the Industrial Revolution The big factories and that took over making everything from shoes, to clothes, to whatever And so the village as a unit, there was no need for that village So literally, whole villages from the northern part of Scandinavia left They all came to America because supposedly, there was opportunity You know, the Finnish people have sisu And that’s the determination to get it done And I think that’s what a lot of this town is built on OK These are pictures that were taken of the co-operative businesses Many were taken DAN REED: Kettle River is rather unique I was listing them here They had about at least 10 co-op ventures in the local area BETTY LEHET: This is the REA This is the beginning of Lake Country Power This is the original creamery, the locker plan, the feed store, the CAP, the mercantile We’re at six And then the CAP had the trucking company, the credit union that was mentioned, the cooperative Kalevala Hall, the service station And of course, the first one was the cooperative telephone People here did not need to go shopping anywhere else because everything was here

Just about every phase of their life was covered by a cooperative store of some sort Of course, I’m very proud of that I lived through it This was our town And I didn’t tell you about, on the other side of the tracks, that was called Finland But then because there is another Finland in our state, it was decided to name it Kettle River And why Kettle River? Well, that’s what the Indians were calling it But their name for it was Akikko-Ziibi, which means kettles Kettle River Somewhere along the river itself, there is a spot where the rock has holes in it, and it looks like a pot Or a kettle So that’s how it came to be named Kettle River Yeah This is what I always call the co-op cemetery That sign says the Kettle River Cemetery Some of the local lore is that it’s the communist cemetery or the socialists cemetery You’ve got this on tape? This is a great story There is a cemetery north of town which has been called the communist cemetery, right Yeah It’s that classic story On the east side of the river is Holy Trinity Lutheran Cemetery The co-op people aren’t going to go in the Lutheran cemetery So they bought this piece of ground not too far down the road, and there’s not a lot of people in there But they are a collection Of those that are here, the Kokkonen are probably the most famous because old man Kokkonen went and sent a couple of the boys to Russia as part of this to the workers paradise thing of the 1930s And they never came back from there There was support for the socialist dream Some people overlooked the communist dictatorship hoping for some socialist utopia But that ended abruptly when Russia invaded Finland [laughing] Nobody talked about it anymore So the local law was that that the boys had smuggled out a letter from communist Russia and said that if they ever get out of there, they were going to come home and kill the old man Now doesn’t make any difference anymore, because they’re gone, and the old man lays here But there’s the story Actually, I prefer to hand tie But you work with what you got You know, people throw the name communist around all the time Yeah You know, I knew some communists I remember in the family, my grandfather was the postmaster in Automba The feds would come and they would say, well, who’s getting the [inaudible] paper, the workers’ paper? Who’s the communist Bolsheviks here locally? And Grandpa Reed had to provide a list You pull one stem along farther so you can have an overlap You throw a cedar in there just for eye candy One of my elementary school teachers and her husband, they were hauled up for questioning in Duluth at the federal building We were all horrified, you know? They’re just good people Co-op people, but good like anybody else That one looks pretty good OK We work co-op people Participated in many of the co-ops My father was on the co-op store board Always went to co-op annual meetings Some people lost some friendships over some people being strong co-op and strong socialists And some were just trying to make a living, you know, and didn’t want to get into the political dialogue

there Couldn’t understand the madness of it all But that co-op cemetery there was put there because they wanted to have their own ground where they were put Change is not always easy The warriors were real good to the farmers, and into the late ’40s and that, until 1953, when Eisenhower got in And he had a agriculture secretary His name was Ezra Taft Benson Oh, I heard his name spoken often And Ezra Taft Benson was strictly against farm subsidies, any of that sort of thing And so he convinced Eisenhower in ’53 did drop the milk support price in half The rural areas emptied out overnight Yeah, they started going mostly to Cloquet and even to Duluth And I know when I’d find out that something else had closed– yes, it hurt It hurt Because, you know, it was such a grand town those many years in the ’40s Yeah So I miss them But here I am with– I brought all my pictures today I hang on to those pictures because they’re dear to me You know, I want the younger people to see what Kettle River has gone through through the years, because our ancestors did so much work, did so much to get it going, that we don’t want to lose that We want to keep it going Put Kettle River on the map Let everybody know we’re here WOMAN: Santa? Yes? WOMAN: Are you going to come out of this building? I will, yeah Probably WOMAN: OK You know what? I think that Christmas is a very special time I hope that people say that yeah, we came tonight to celebrate us as a community and that hope for the future [chatter] We’re now at a time when Kettle River is just a bedroom community, but you need those kinds of things to build community [SINGING TO THE TUNE OF “SILENT NIGHT”] Glories stream from heaven afar Heavenly hosts sing Hallelujah [cheering and applause] Well, that tree really does look nice It’s very nice Christ the savior is born It’s nice when a dream comes true The rebuilding of Kettle River Jesus Christ is born [music playing] NARRATOR: Thanks for spending some time in this town Don’t be a stranger Stop by any time I like this town It feels like me The little shops along Main Street The water tower, where if you squint your eyes, you still can see a faded class of ’65 WOMAN: It’s important to be a part of a community because we all take care of each other here, and we all want to be there for each other, and we always want to count on each other You’ve got to know where you came from, who you are, what makes you who you are And community– we all get to be like family It just comes back to home and family A way of life We have a lot of our band members who don’t live here, either And so we’re all over the place But we always call this place home And I hope that we always can I think a community, a good community

is one where the people work together And this is one thing about the co-operative movement, too, was no one felt that they should get more than somebody else Everybody was equal They had all– bought the shares into the businesses They all owned it together They could all make the decisions together It’s just cooperating with one another That no one is better than another person, I think This town, it lives

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