Hampden, near the north edge of Ramsey County, was first known as Northfield. The first settlers entered this section in the late 1890′s, most of them in 1898, coming from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, and one W.P. Faulk from Virginia. Even though it was about twenty miles from the nearest railroad at Edmore, a good sized village sprang up. Lew Barnes owned the land on which that town was located. Mrs. John Carroll built a hotel in 1898 and Ole Korsmoe added a small grocery store. Joseph Elliot put a drug counter in the store.
Supplies for Northfield were hauled from Edmore by dray operated by Herman Simon and Gus Schonauer. The dray also transported passengers and the mail as well as lumber and whatever was needed. Other business establishments were soon added- a machine shop, Arthur Elliott; blacksmith shop, D.A. Taylor; machinery, Chas Nickols; general store, Boe Co.; hardware, Ole Johnson; livery, Chas. Code; hardware and furniture, Dave Minnis; billiard parlor, James Dolan; general store, Dahlen and Asplen; and another general store, Peter Norum.
Northfield was a thriving village even without a railroad. There were two banks. Roberston opened one in 1903. At the same time Swarthout and Burdick established another, the Northfield State Bank. A physician, Dr. Morrison, opened an office. Northfield had more business places than many railroad towns have today.
While the town was getting started, the people knew the railroad would be extended from Edmore. It so happened that when land was surveyed for the track, it by-passed Northfield, which at that time was just south of the present site of Hampden. George Haugen had homesteaded the NE 1/4 of Section 4, township 158, range 62, where Hampden now stands. He sold to the Great Northern Railroad Company January 9, 1901. The railroad company then deeded the site to Northfield Village, which included the Haugen quarter to F.H. Stoltz, of the Werner and Stoltz Company, January 21, 1901. It was not until 1904 that the village was moved to the new location.
The Fourth of July was celebrated in grand style that year. A special feature was bronco riding by Carl Dickenson.
Northfield had been named by settlers from Northfield, Minnesota. The story is told that mail was often confused with mail meant for Northfield, Minnesota, so it was feasible to change the name- to Hampden. Another story was told of a man who came into a restaurant and asked for a sandwich, either beef or pork. Since they had neither, he said, “gimme ham den.” (authentic?) It must have been a “moving” experience for those who had begun business and yet the advent of the railroad was an advancement. Mr. Herman Simon, Mr. Gus Schonauer, and a Mr. Penner were the ones who did the actual moving. Allie McDougal tells of how his father helped in this work. Mr. John McDougal came with his family from Park River.
Hampden, though fast growing, was not incorporated until 1917.
The Crawford and Moore store were moved, together with eighteen other businesses. Others added were Werner and Stoltz, Robertson, the Redlake and Nels Hawkinson lumber yards; Adams and Swarthout livery; Wilson and Litscher drug store; Shipley and Son Real Estate; M.A. Knudson, Hardware; F.A. Woodward barber shop; The Farmers State Bank established by Adams Hanna (owned by B. Landmark). The first residence was built by A.E. Swarthout, now owned by Pearl Aanstad. Dr. A.K. Blair opened an office.
The first passenger train reached Hampden in December 1904. McCabe Brothers (with W.N. Brown as manager) built the first elevator. Before that, grain was weighed on the street and then loaded into cars The Ames elevator burned soon after being built, but soon others were added so the town had an adequate number.
It was not always an easy life. Though the early settlers did not encounter Indians as in many parts of the state, there were hardships. Long, hard winters were not always pleasant; roads were trails, there were crop failures, grasshoppers, droughts, fluctuation of prices to mention a few of the experiences. There was no complaining on the part of the settlers. They were pioneers and an enthusiastic group. The worked hard and things flourished. However, not all was work. There was a good social life. In winter, parties were held in the homes- those which had 3 or 4 rooms (not all had that many). The whole family went. Children fell asleep on beds or in the corner on coats. All awakened for the midnight repast of sandwiches, cake and cookies. In summer, families gathered for picnics. A picnic meant good fried chicken and potato salad- yes, even without refrigeration. There was no mayonnaise; dressing for salads was home-cooked. No one got sick from the food unless perhaps they ate too much. Also, gatherings were in town, which usually meant a ball game and what was a ball game without a couple of Howes brothers?
Fourth of July celebrations were always exciting, especially for the children. Home made ice cream was made in the hand-turned freezer. Ice was procured for the ice house. This had been cut in late winter and packed in flax straw and would keep until out in the summer. There would be lemonade- no pop in those days. Children enjoyed all of this. They usually had a dime or quarter to spend. Sometimes it was money they had earned by picking potato bugs, doing chores for the parents or even picking mustard in the fields. They could not earn money baby-sitting – that was unheard of. Children went with the parents or they all stayed home, that is until children were old enough to stay alone. Families did things together.
Home talent plays became popular. These were held in the Morton Hall (later the Fisher Hall). This was also the place for all entertainments: school programs, church programs, basket socials, dances and other parties.
Many things must seem strange to our young folks. For instance, Dr. R.A. Ogilvie came from Edmore once a week, having an office in the Carroll Hotel. He pulled many aching teeth, filled cavities, etc. When he discontinued this service, his patients went to Edmore to have dental work done – between trains. The fare was 31 of 32 cents. Many of the portraits in this book were taken in the Camfield studio. Many confirmation classes and other groups had pictures taken in this studio, going to Edmore by train. Dr. A.M. Wold came once or twice a month to test eyes and fit glasses.
Dr. Craig, a veterinarian, was a permanent resident, working for many years. He and his wife built the house which was purchased by the Iver Iverson family when they retired from farming. It is now the home of Mrs. Nellie Wolf. Dr. Craig was succeeded by Dr. G.N. Campbell. He married Lillian McDougal, daughter of John McDougal. He had moved here with his family from Park River. The McDougal family consisted of several children: Edward, Allie, Willie, Emma, Lillian, Harriet, and Harriet’s twin sister (deceased).
Dr. A.K. Blair was a typical country doctor. He had his office over the Litscher drug store and later in his residence which is now owned by F. Lunde. Dr. Blair was accredited with saving many lives during the influenza epidemic of 1918. He was ably assisted by his wife who was a nurse. She was on the scene when people needed food and other supplies. Herman Simon used to “drive” the doctor in winter and no doubt in summer, too, before the automobiles.
It was perhaps Otto Shipley who had the first car (a Reo?) in town. He could go at least 25 miles an hour, when roads were good. Good roads meant it had not rained for a day or two. Mr. Shipley ordered and erected a pre-cut house from Sears Roebuck. It is now the home of LaVonne and Dean Boatman. Many people have lived there through the years, but the Boatman’s bought it from Mrs. Thressa Stone.
So we have tried to give you a little insight into the lives of early settlers. People coming back do not recongize the community as the one they knew. In Northfield very few are living on the original “home place.” There are four: Howard Skaar, Larry Knoke, Mrs. Raymond Mackey and sons, and Thomas O’Brien. There are several descendents of “Grandma” Neidlinger who came from Indiana with her family which included Lou, Oscar, Ira, Edward, Harry, and Catherine Strong.
North of Hampden are a few more: Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Larson, Soren Iverson, Robert Iverson, Myrtle Flott Johnson (Aurthur Johnsons), Mrs Edith Dahl and Arvid Bergren. Mr. and Mrs Carl Mortenson are the ones living in town of those who resided here when they moved in.
The greates change in the town took place in 1976. At that time many buildings on Main Street were razed and a Mini-Mall was built on the north side of the street. Grand Opening ceremonies were observed April 30, 1977. The slogan was “Watch Hampden Grow.”
Those who return or are here at the 100th Anniversary may see even more changes.
Hampden will go on - even after 75 years.
Read Full Post »