Tuesday, April 16, 2013


There is no group of cabins listed in the 1938 Thief River Falls city directory called the RED TOP CABINS.  It isn't that cabins by some other name didn't exist.  Old Trunks needs to do more research to find the name; we can guess they had red roofs, don't you suppose?

It is hard to understand why cabins were peppered about the block of Ten Hundred Main Avenue North.  Not only are the Red Top Cabins listed in the 1940-41 directory but they were owned by Randall and Verna Noper.  And there was a 'filling station' on the east corner of Main and Tenth with rooms upstairs.  We know that because Frank Mousley writes to Dayton Silk who pumped gas and lived above the station. 

We know from the 1940 census map that cabins existed on the east side between Austad's and Wilson's on the corner.  Beverly Austad Ranum talked about horses being stabled near the alley.  There were also cabins behind the corner of Eleventh and Main.  What purpose did they served?  Who lived in them?  How big where they.  What and how many transients were there in Thief River Falls and what did they do?  Where they seasonal labor? 

Frank stated that Gus H. lived in one of the cabins on the west side of the street.  Gus H. stated it was for a short time before they moved to the farm.  I am thinking his sister would be too young to remember. 

Old Trunks needs to look through the old census and see if she can find how old those cabins were.  There is some evidence Noper even had a place for people to park their travel trailers. 

Putting on my walking shoes looking for answers.


Friday, April 12, 2013


 One of the better historians from Main Avenue North, is a person named Wayne.  He found Old Trunks and Worn Shoes when plugging in people from his own history manifest.  From what he read here and there, his mother, named Alice and my Dad, Stanley, went to school together.  Most likely it was at Rosebank because that school was on the side of the ridge those children would attend.  Perhaps I should remind readers that Rosebank was built by Gust and Olaf Opseth, my grand uncles, who had a block factory in or around Rosewood, (the community).

And the reason Wayne even communicated, (perhaps) was because he was playing on the Ferris Wheel we had in our back yard on Main Avenue and got hurt and when home bleeding.  Wayne states they lived at 1020 North Knight which was a block west.  Old Trunks doesn't remember the Ferris Wheel there but later, my brother would tie me off in the top bucket and go play on Oakland Park Road and I would scream until someone untied the rope.

The Mystery of the Ten Hundred Block continued as he verified what Frank had already told us.  We knew that Emmet Mousley had a sign company in the middle of the block.  Frank lived there with his family until they moved to the east side and resided on St. Paul Ave.

Now Wayne is older, graduating in 1954 verses my graduation year of 1966, so one has to give him a lot of credit for what he remembers.  It is almost gospel because of his age.  And the man has incredible memory skills.

Now I don't have to like that he wrote that in those days, there was no city water or sewer in the area.  All the folks who lived north of 10th street had out houses.  Household refuse was carried to the slop pile and dumper along the side of the out house.  There was no garbage pick up in those days.  Spring time was when people either hired someone to haul the refuse to the dump or take it themselves.  He went on to write the sign company placed his cans of paint and old neon lights in the alley. 

It seemed the best thing to do is write to the city of Thief River Falls and have them review the original plats around the ten hundred block of North Main.  And this was the answer.

"The original plats adjacent to the ten hundred block of North Main are Fairgrounds Addition to the west (platted in 1913 as part of Pennington County) and Fairfield Addition to the east (platted in 1903 as part of Red Lake County). Sanitary sewer was installed in 1947 and 1954 to serve this area. I found a MnDot highway plan from 1948 when the highway was constructed just south of the 1000 block that shows a 4” cast iron pipe water main as existing at that time, probably installed with the sewer in 1947. Our records are not very good for this old of infrastructure.    Mark Borseth"
Wayne was right and probably knew more than the man who answered the email!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Down there on Main Avenue

It isn't that I haven't thought about blogging.  Old Trunks has had some remarkable notes from people looking for their relatives or knowing mine.  One of the wild rides happened because of the 50th class reunion. 

The class of 1962 met in Thief River Falls last June to visit and make discovery on how folks were doing.  Around fifty class mates came along with some spouses and signifcients and with 27 deceased classmates, that only left 100 unaccounted for. 

And one of the people I adore  most is a tall drink of water named Frank.  Now Frank's dad was a sign maker and had a shop and an apartment on Main Avenue North.  In about 1947 or so, we moved to a house half new and half remodeled according to what is remembered.  So that made Frank and I neighbors...sort of, most likely, neither Frank nor myself were allowed to cross highway 32 by ourselves. 

We left in about 1949 and Frank and family stayed on until after he started grade school at St. Benhard's.  So he knew more and between the two of us, we did an amazing paste together.  And what should happen was others would be involved in the process of discovery, as well.  And that is what geneology is all about, it is about people sharing and maybe it isn't always gospel, but it is, nevertheless, a truth to someone. 

The plan is to take the information from Frank, Dayton, Wayne, and Bev and believe one can make it color and read like a rainbow.

See you tomorrow!