Ediitor's Note: Pat is a weekly columnist for the Pope County Tribune. She was raised in Glenwood -- her dad was the Chief of Police and they lived above the jail.  The below is a recollection of her high school years in Glenwood. I think, particularly, the female readers will really get a kick out of it.


Pope County Tribune


Coke Time

From Where I Sit

Pat (Dekok) Spilseth


Flash back to memories of being a ‘60s teenager swiveling on those padded vinylstools at Setters’ soda fountain in Glenwood. When I got a call this week from Diane Femrite Peterson, a GHS classmate, that’s the image that popped into my mind. Then faded yearbook photos began to appear, and I couldn’t help but grin recalling the fun adventures we had growing up in Glenwood.

In high school several of us were lucky to get jobs at the local drug stores downtown. I worked at Stratman’s Corner Drug Store with a group of guy clowns: Julian Mortensbak, Marv Dyerstad and young pharmacist Larry Torguerson. Diane, Janet Holtberg and Bonnie Faulkner worked behind the soda fountain counter at Setters’ Drug Store. After school they were busy filling friends’ orders for cherry cokes and lemon-limes in short glasses with sipping straws while their pals sat chatting and giggling on those revolving stools. What a crew we were back in 1962!

High school kids were lucky to get after school and weekend jobs at stores in downtown Glenwood. We had a ball working and earning spending money. After all, what kid didn’t crave those luscious cherry cokes, a new outfit at Glenwear and movie tickets at the Glenwood Theatre. We needed cash when we’d meet our friends at the A&W on the hill to buy some fries and a frosted root beer or a curly top cone at the Dairy Queen.

After work on summer weekends, we girls would grab our swimsuits and head for the beach. We’d race out to the farthest diving tower and meet on the top platform. Oh, the mystery and tantalizing draw of a dark night, a full moon, and skinny dipping with our pals at the beach. We were naive teenagers, embarrassingly shy about our bodies, but the darkness helped. We’d tie our one-piece suits to the swim tower so they wouldn’t float away, rush to climb the cold metal stairs and emerge in all our glory by the light of the full moon. As quickly as possibly, we’d dive in the water, only to repeat the same procedure again and again. What a thrill! Remember, this was 1962. Our thrills were rather simple in those days.

Other balmy evenings we’d take Dad’s car out to Halvorson’s Point and have a bonfire on the beach. A few kids drove their speedboats to the party; others borrowed Dad’s car, promising to be home at a decent hour from some friend’s house or another excuse to get the car. Someone might have a guitar; a few guys might bring a keg of beer to share, and we’d sing and talk into the wee hours. Most of us had to be home by midnight, even earlier. In those days we had curfews imposed by our parents. Most of us obeyed the rules. If we didn’t, we paid in one way or another. I’d get the cold shoulder treatment, get sent to my room to "think" about my indiscretion and ruminate until I’d end up feeling terrible.Then Dad would knock on my door, come in, and proceed to lament about how bad he felt that I wasn’t respecting his and Mom’s rules. After all, the rules were for my betterment. Of course, I bought the story and vowed never to disobey again. That lasted at least a week until one of my buddies would lure me to another adventure.

We all wore thick, white bobby socks almost reaching our knees in those days. Rarely did we cuff them; wearing them rolled up all the way was an "in" factor of the day. Some kids wore black and white saddle shoes...WHY were they called saddle shoes? They looked nothing like a horse saddle. Many wore white tennis shoes; the "in" crowd wore penny loafers. We bought "dickies" to go around our neck and fastened the collar with a little metal hook & eye or a snap. Usually the dickie was a white fabric resembling the popular Peter Pan collars of a blouse. It went withour short sleeved wool sweaters and wool pleated Pendleton skirts or circle skirts with plenty of stiff crinolines underneath to make the skirt stick out fully.

Girls had to enroll in home economics classes where Mrs. Le Masters taught us how to cook, sew, and walk with good posture. We copied recipes on file cards and fi led them alphabetically in little metal recipe boxes with flip top lids. The boys had shop classes where they learned how to change oil in cars, made book cases, magazine racks and metal shop where they made oil cans. That’s what prisoners did at the Stillwater Penitentiary. Elmer, the prisoner paroled to Dad, came with gifts he’d made for us: a family picnic table he’d made in prison out of yellow and red painted metal plus the same little table for my sister Barbie and me. He also had a leather tooling class in the Pen where he made a belt for Dad and a tooled purse for Mom. Elmer took me to the movie shows when I was a little girl, but when he returned to his home and old friends in Nebraska he got back into trouble. He died in a high speed chase after a robbery. Those incidents always led Mom to teach the lesson that "you’re known by the company you keep." Also, Dad and Mom believed the guys in jail weren’t bad men; they just made some bad choices. The jail offered so many lessons for Barbie and me. A favorite was the to not waste your education. Our jail friend Blackie had a university degree, but liquor became his choice in life. Another bad decision, which Mom warned her girls about rather often.

Isn’t it interesting what memories can be triggered by a phone call from a friend? We reminisced about classmates, making pizza in the Jail kitchen with frozen hamburger, and families. I did forgot to ask her more about the Bum’s Hideout in the woods above her family home near the tracks. We found some burnt out cans of beans in a campfire one day when we dared to venture into those woods. That reminds me of the abandoned rail cars up on the hill where Punky used to race through in his Dad’s collector car, a Model A or Model T. With a car full of girls, Punky would step on the gas and yell, "OK, you bums, rush us!" It was great to be a teenager in the ‘60s in Glenwood!

Editor's Note:  The following three articles were written by Roy L. Robieson of Orange City, FL. You will note several reflections from Roy and his sisters in this "I Remember" section.



Lowry, as we see it today, is an orderly, well-developed little, town. It wasn’t always that way. Prior to its being paved which took place in about 1950, Lowry’s main street was perhaps, the best graveled, most pot holey street one could find. The City fathers tried everything to cure those pot holes, but nothing worked. The pot holes were eliminated when asphalt paving was placed on the streets. 

Think back to various vacant sections of the town. On the east street, between Hoplins and Hageback’s houses nothing existed. Henry Brandt had an excellent garden between the Hoplin and Hegstrom houses. A swamp existed between the Leslie house, kitty-corner from the school, and the Lowry Clinic. A swamp also existed north of the St. Pauli church, and a swamp, good for skating in the winter existed between the creamery and the depot. There were vacant parcels of land south of Holtbergs’ house, and south of the school play ground. 

Oh! Times have changed. A big change was associated with the fire that destroyed the roller mill in 1937 and construction of highway 55 in 1935. That whole area parallel to the railroad was cleaned up and made beautiful. About the same time, the Public Works Program (WPA) converted the ‘Central Swamp of Lowry’ into an ice skating rink. It was an endeavor that undoubtedly reaped benefits many times the cost. To this day children while away winter times skating there. 

Mention of the WPA restoration work reminds me of another of Lowry’s eyesores. Apparently a fire in early days burned a building just north of Chan’s café. For years, the basement hole remained exposed except for a rough billboard that was placed between the hole and main street. The unpainted billboard soon harbored unsightly advertlzlng signs like “Chew Model Tobacco” and “Try Day’s Work”. 

The hole was filled in a couple days by a band of WPA workers under the supervision of the then Mayor, Ed Benson. Where did the dirt come from? I don’t know. I was only seven years old and it was a full time job for me just to oversee dumping of the dirt, not excavation of it.

I want to mention an observation I made while the hole was being filled. Old man Quitney, Roy Quitney’s father was deaf. He was intelligent, could voice some sounds, but was stone deaf. He was a small man but was wiry and strong. In that condition, he did not have a steady job, but was available for hole filling’. The WPA provided small sized wheel barrows for the work, but it was one wheel barrow short. Mr. Quitney, the last man hired for the job, approached my Dad to borrow the Soo Line barrow. It was a big barrow, about double the size of those issued by the WPA. To the best of my observation, Mr. Quitney did not miss a round of dirt hauling. He hauled twice as much dirt to that hole as did the other workers. 

Lowry probably owes much of its real success to the Soo Line Railroad. In fact, the name, Lowy, comes from the early President of the Soo Line, Thomas Lowry. In the early days, Lowry boasted of having a ‘round house’. Oh, it wasn’t round; it was just about a four stall engine house. However, the groundwater available in Lowry contained a high percentage of mineral salts that were a scourge to steam boilers. Lowry was not a good place to store locomotives. A tornado that occurred in 1896 destroyed the engine shed. The Soo Line decided to rebuild the roundhouse at Glenwood where pure spring water was available. 

Lowry absorbed the loss of being a railroad center in stride. Development of stock yards, grain elevators, coal sheds, a lumber yard and oil storage tanks provided an economic base that contributed to the growth of Lowry through its early years. Now, except for the elevator, all those facilities have been removed. 

Railroading was a booming business from 1885 to 1950, a period of 65 years. At the railroading apogee, six passenger trains and four freight trains served Lowry daily. Some of the trains were ‘through’ trains and did not stop at Lowry except for a significant reason. For example, two passengers ticketed for Chicago was sufficient for the agent to request the crack night east bound No. 4 to stop at Lowry. The twelve car express train, hurtling through the undulating hills of Pope County would shudder to an unfamiliar night time stop at the Lowry Depot. The passengers had to be alert because no sooner had the train stopped and the conductor placed his boarding stool on the platform, one could hear the resonant word, “Boooorrt!” No delay was tolerated. Two minutes of lost time had to be made up. Trains ran on time. 

Construction of highway 55 from Minneapolis to Elbow Lake in the mid 30’s and improvement of truck and bus equipment, along with the ability of trucks to deliver ‘door-to-door’ quickly took the bulk of freight and passenger traffic away from the railroad. By the time the war ended although the railroads had become dieselized, their business was nearly dead. First the stock yards closed, then a bus line captured all the passenger business and mail delivery was taken over by a private contractor. Railroad operations have been reduced to long-haul grain and other car load lots — freight trains only.

The Lowry Railroad Depot, once the most active and thriving business in Lowry, was closed and moved away in about 1970. Although those connected with the Lowry depot view the changing times with nostalgia, the town itself has prospered. While surrounding towns have withered away, Lowry has grown and continues to grow.

The farming Industry has developed new cash crops such as soy beans. New equipment such as hay dryers and metal storage bins are manufactured locally, providing a stable economic base for future development. Also, Lowry has become a very desirable place to retire. Farmers have moved into town and have built fine homes. People who moved away during war time are moving back to spend their senior years in Lowry. 

Yes, the Soo Line, known in the early years as “The Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Sioux Sault Mariemay just pass through Lowry, but Lowry Is not to be passed by.





Little localities like Lowry survive because industrious people develop means to turn things they grow into cash producers so that they can buy things they need but cannot grow or produce themselves. There, in thirty-two words, I explained the economic intricacies of the world. 

This is not a story about the world; this is a story about one of Lowry’s early industries, The Lowry Cooperative Creamery.

Lowry had several early revenue producing industries. They were the Elevator, our Mill. Cream Station, Creamery and to a lesser extent, the two grocery stores. All bought farm products and either sold them directly to big city buyers or in the case of the Mill and Creamery, refined the produce and sold the refined product to the city collection centers.

This story is about the Lowry Cooperative Creamery. I worked there summers and part time in the winters from 1942 until August 23,1945. I remember the final date very well. I was standing in the door of the Creamery on August 14th” when Dave Chan ran out the back door of his restaurant and repeatedly fired his shotgun into the air. Shotgun shells were in very short supply because of the war, so what in the world was Dave doing? He’d just heard over the radio that that Japan had surrendered. Nine days later, I was sworn into Uncle Sam’s Navy. It was a big event in my life. 

I don’t know when the Lowry Creamery was built but I remember walking to the reamery from the Depot long before highway 55 was built in 1935. In those days there was a slough between the depot and the Creamery. Paul Peterson was the ‘butter maker’. Cream was collected from farmers on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday were butter churning days. 

Fred Carlson followed Paul Peterson as butter maker. He hired me to work on ‘cream’ days to wash cream cans and do general cleanup work. On churning days, when there wasn’t much inside cleanup, I would mow the nice lawns and tend to the hedge and rose bushes that Paul Peterson had nurtured. 

I really enjoyed working for Fred Carlson. He was a fine man. He worked hard and had an even temper. He like to fish! His wife, Edith, worked as the Creamery bookkeeper. I heard it said, ‘With both of them working, they must be rolling in the money’. Edith’s salary as bookkeeper was only $15 a month in 1945. 

The early bird farmers would arrive at the Creamery on cream days at about 830 in the morning with their four, eight or ten gallon cans of cream. They would place their cans on the in’ rollers of a conveyance system and in a few minute, pick up their clean empty cans at the ‘out’ rollers. Inside the Creamery, the butter maker would weigh the can, take a sample of the cream for later testing for butter fat content (those who ‘watered down’ their cream didn’t fool anybody) and taste the cream to see if it was sour or had an odd flavor. BARF! Some good looking cream tasted awful. The cream was then dumped, strained and pumped, sweet into one vat, sour into another. The can was steam cleaned and sent on its way out. 

Near the end of the day, testing of the samples would begin. All the sample bottles were numbered with the farmer’s individual numbers’. Chester Bennett was number 27, George Erlandson was 44, etc. I’ll not describe the testing process but it was a rather simple test to determine the fat content of the cream. The farmers were paid a set price per pound of fat, nothing more. The best and cleanest cream invariably came from the Melvin Bjokne farm. 

While testing of the samples was going on, the pasteurization process began. Cream that had been dumped and pumped into the 300 or 400 gallon tin lined, wooden vats, was slowly heated by rotating, steam heated coils to exactly 140o and held there for 15 minutes. That process was carefully monitored. Then the cream was quickly cooled by cold water pumped through the same rotating coils. It was important to cool the cream to the lowest practical temperature — I think down to 45o. I know the creamery well water was 42o a bit cooler than water from Lowry’s mains. 

All the time the testing and pasteurization was going on, little Roy was busy hand washing cream cans that had been brought in on Dave Chan’s two cream collection routes. My other work consisted of washing cream sample bottles, cream testing bottles and the big job was to fill the 500 pound stoker with coal. I made a little game out of each job and really enjoyed the work. The fairly heavy lifting involved was good for my small arms. I started out earning 25 cents per hour and ended earning 60 cents per hour. That was good money for the times. 

Churn days started with sterilization of the churn with boiling hot water followed by cooling of the churn with cold water. It is very important to churn the cream at a low temperature otherwise the butter would retain too much water. Butter must not have more than 16% moisture and 4% salt. If the end product tests less than 80% fat, the Creamery would be docked a big penalty when the butter was sold and the butter maker would get a low mark. Both Paul Peterson and Fred Carlson were consistently graded 94 score. Tops was 94.6 score and an 86 was the pits. 

After the chilled cream was pumped into the churn and the door to the churn was closed, the churn would be started on its rotational movement. In about ten minutes, the butter makers practiced ear would hear the cream ‘break’. That is, start to form clumps of butter. It was then necessary to stop the churn quickly while the clumps were still small. “Pop corn size”, Fred would say. 

The butter milk was then drained off and pumped into a holding tank. The churn was refilled with cold water just a couple turns were all that was required to rinse off the remaining butter milk. The rinse water was then drained. It was important here to drain as much water out of the butter as possible to get below the 16% level. When the last drop of water was drained, the churn was started to thoroughly mix the mass. When the churn was stopped, there was about 900 pounds of beautiful, bland butter. 

A sample of the butter was taken, weighed and cooked to determine the actual moisture content. From previous testing, the butter maker knew the weight of the total mass of butter and was able to compute the amount of water to add to bring the total moisture content up to 16%. Remember, you would get a booby prize in the moisture content was more than 16%. 

The whole glob, with the added water and salt, was mixed to a uniform consistently... It was removed from the churn by the sterilized hands of the butter maker and packed into containers. In Peterson’s day, the containers were round wooden tubs. Those tubs were stored in the Creamery ‘cooler’ and about once a week a dray truck would haul them to the Depot where they were loaded onto the refrigerated Soo Line boxcar on freight No. 20. 

I was fascinated the way trainmen roiled the tubs into the refer’. The tubs were tapered, smaller on the bottom than on top. They would be placed on their sides at the door of the refer’ and would be rolled in. Because of the taper, the tub would roIl in an arc, turning 90o toward the end of the refer’. What will they think of next? 

Later, when I worked In the Creamery, square boxes were used for packing for butter storage. Each box contained 66 pounds of butter. My job was to smooth the butter on top of the boxes and to seal them shut and stack them in the cooler. Once a week, a truck would pick up a ton of more butter. It was shipped to a Land 0’Lakes facility at Dubuque, Iowa. It is interesting to note that only the very best butter was marketed in Lowry. 

In 1943, the Creamery went through a major transformation. New machinery and piping was installed that enabled the creamery to take in whole milk and process it into rich cream, then butter, butter milk and skim milk. The butter milk and skim milk were sold to a dry milk company and the cream was churned into butter.





The big depression was in full swing but Lowry was thriving -- perhaps much better than many other parts of United States. This is probably the way it was at the Soo Line Depot at Lowry on a July Monday in 1933, the time. 8:30 A. M. 

Jim Robieson, the Soo Line Depot Agent just received information over the railroad phone that the weigh freight, Soo Line train #21 left Glenwood three minutes ago. In 12 minutes it should be rounding the bend one mile east of Lowry. Jim looked up from his telegraph desk and noted several men standing at the ticket window in the waiting room. All were well known town businessmen. Jim put on his business voice and demeanor and said, “Good morning gentlemen. May I help you?” 

R.  G.’Bennett, who had parked his new oil truck in the middle of the road near the elevator crossing (The truck was too long to park diagonally. After all, it was the only dual wheeled truck in town) was first in line at the window and said, “Jim, I’m expecting a car of kerosene on the freight and I’d like to have it spotted at my west bulk tank. 

Second was A.M. Anderson who operated the local dray line. “Yim” he said, “do you tink dare vill be a bunch of feight today? I only have wickter Chan to help me.” Jim’s reply “if there is a lot of stuff, I can get my boy, Kenneth, out of the corn patch to give you a hand.” 

Walmer Bjorklund, Manager of the Equity Trading Company Cooperative, rose on his toes and said, Haff yu heard anyting about my 200 shpools of binder twine? 

Gust Nelson, owner of the Lowry Lumber Company asked if the car of cinders he ordered for the roads around the lumber yard was "on the freight"

There she comes, round the bend. The weigh freight was made up at Glenwood, only eight miles east of Lowry. It ran west on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to Enderlin, North Dakota, a distance of about 120 miles. It returned to Glenwood from the west on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday as Soo Line TraIn #21. Prior to the days of trucking, it carried all the freight into Lowry from the east and dispatched all of Lowry’s produce such as butter, flour, grain and livestock to the east. It was really Lowry’s lifeline. 

The freight, typically consisting of about 40 boxcars, would pull up to the Lowry station, and amid violent arm waving by the brakeman, who would ceremoniously descend from the slow moving caboose, would waive the train to a stop with its caboose not blocking the elevator crossing. The boxcars carrying various goods consigned for Lowry would be carefully lined up with the depot’s platform. The conductor would hand the bills of lading to the agent who would read the number of the box car or cars holding cargo for Lowry. Then, the agent reading from the bills of Lading would inform the trainmen what was to be unloaded. Three cartons of canned goods for Mclver’s Store, one crate of furniture for Hoplln and Nelson Hardware, two bags of fertilizer (it smelled awful) for Anton Kvetic etc. 

Meanwhile the engine would be disconnected, taking along about four cars for distribution along what was called the ‘house track’. The engine had to ‘set out’ perhaps a car of coal, a tank of gas, a car of lumber and an empty for loading grain at the elevator. All that often required some canny switching because there existed on the house track, perhaps, a partially unloaded car of cement and a car of bricks. All the boxcars and tank car had to be left in the proper place. 

When the house track was in proper order, the engine would be returned to the head of the train. By that time, all opened boxcars at the depot end of the train would have been closed and resealed with new seals provided by the agent. The engineer would give a short and long toot, signaling “I am ready”. The brakeman would hand signal, We are ready”. The Engineer would give two short toots, signaling, “Away we go”. And off they went. 

The whole process, from stop to start took about 30 minutes. It was 30 minutes of history -- now nostalgia. It is no longer. The weigh freight has been discontinued because trucks have taken over all the freight hauling business.



Editor's Note: The following are tales told by a loveable character of rural Lowry. They have been attested as true tales by several people in Lowry:


"I had a very expensive pure bred bull that became bloated from eating wet sweet clover. The bull was laying on its side on the ground in great pain. I knew I had a big cow horn with the top cut off with about a one inch opening. I went to the wood shed and got the horn and put it into the bull's perdell (NOTE: Perdell is a Bohemian word). All of a sudden the bull jumped up and ran over the hill going toot, toot, toot. I never would have believed it if it hadn't happened to me."



"I was driving on the ice on Lake Reno with my Model T one January day. I could feel that I was going through the ice. I had some matches in my pocket so I took them and put them in my mouth to keep them dry. When I got to the bottom of the lake I got out of my T Model and started walking on the bottom of the lake towards shore. When my head started hitting the ice I leaned over so my shoulders were against the ice. I gave a heave and raised the ice so I could crawl out. I walked up on shore gathered some drift wood and made a fire with the matches that I had in my mouth, got warmed up and walked home. I never would have believed it if it hadn't happened to me."

CASS LAKE STORY -- Mosquitos

I was working cleaning up around the Lake Shore when I looked up and saw two great big mosquitos coming across the lake and ready to attack me. I ran as fast as I could for the cabin but saw I would never make it. So I crawled under a 16' Alexandria Boat Works "Lady of the Lakes" which was upside down on saw horses. The mosquitoes landed on top of the boat. When I saw the stringers sticking thru the boat, I took my hammer and bent their stingers and clinched them real good. All of a sudden I was out in the open with blue sky. The mosquitos had flown off with the boat. I never would have believed it if it hadn't happened to me."



I noticed that my cows had gone down in milk production for no apparent reason. I went out in the pastor at mid-day to see if I could see some reason for the decrease in milk production. I found the cows standing in water up to their bellies. So, I chased them out and found a mud turtle hanging on every teat. I never would have believed it if it hadn't to happened to me."



I had a tree on the property that I wanted removed. I had a hay rope, I climbed the tree and tied the hay rope high up on the tree. I climbed down and hooked the hay rope to the double tree connected to my team. I said Giddy and the horses began pulling the tree over. The horse had pulled the tree over a long way when all of a sudden I was standing holding the lines and the harnesses were up in the tree. I never would have believed it if it hadn't happened to me."


Old tales from the little town of Lowry in the 30’s
by Doris Robieson Hoplin


As you have all been told back “then” we didn’t have TV or much of anything to amuse us.  We had to make our own fun…This is one of those “Tales”.


Myths and rumors were passed down from older brothers and sisters to the younger ones.  Of course we believed them and why not?  Would they lie to us?


This was one of them…If you went to Hedlin;s apple orchard to swipe apples old man Hedlin would come after you and shoot at you with his shot gun!!!  Hedlin’s farm was just outside of the town limits and easy walking distance.  In fact their indrive was an extension of the main street of Lowry…


One very balmy fall evening a number of us had been spending time at the school playground have our usual fun….There wasn’t any moon and it got dark early {no daylight saving time those days} when someone mentioned that the apples were really ripe and good at Hedlins…So why don’t we just try and sneak in there and swipe some even if we all knew it was a big risk…I had never been there and didn’t know where the apples were and so I followed the group.


We entered going east and I don’t even know if we got to the orchard or not when someone yelled that “Old Man Hedlin” was out with his shot gun to shoot us.  Well!!! We make haste out of there heading south.  I don’t know if Highway 114 was even there at that time.  But we had to get over a fence before we could head back home….


Now I was a shrimp but could run fast and was nimble and could keep up to the best of them but getting over the fence the top of my foot tangled with a barb on the barbwire….I got a pretty good two inch cut on the foot. 


We made our way back to town and when we got to the first street light {pretty dim ones in those days} I looked at my foot and it had been bleeding.  Everybody had to have a look at that…


Kenny Holtberg was with the group….He looked at it and then took out a nice clean white handkerchief and put it on the wound….Who else in the town of Lowry would have had a nice clean white handkerchief in their pocket????


I took it home and told my mother I had cut my foot.  Of course I didn’t tell her where or when.  She cleaned  up the handkerchief and I returned it to Kenny.


Over the years as I look back on the episode I think that someone older and more knowing conned us into the trek just to scare us.


I doubt that Hedlin would or ever did come after children with a shot gun.  The apples perhaps had all been picked anyway…


It made for a very adventure full evening.  And after that the excitement we all went home and some of us for all the world would never try to swipe apples from Hedlin’s ever again. 


My wound healed but the scar remained for a long time….  


How could a person get a cut on the top of a foot?  We all perhaps were barefoot.  We didn’t have shoes like the children wear now days…I could have had a sandal of some sort.  I don’t remember what was on my feet.


I know that I took my shoes off the last day of school in the spring and the only time they were on all summer was on Sunday for Sunday school. After Sunday school I would get to McIver's store and take them off for the rest of the week


by Roy L. Robieson

Not in any particular order

1. I have fleeting memories of some incidents associated with the accident I sustained at three years of age (e.g. Howard Lysen bringing a pan full of cookies to me).

2. Highway #55 being constructed through Lowry (1934 – 1935?). Some buildings had to be moved: mill outbuildings, cement shed and office at the Lumber Yard, Mason’s section house, and Ben Rice’s Cream Station.

3. The Mill fire in 1937.

4. The Soo Line wreck east of Lowry, December, 1931. The drive wheels of the derailed engine were taller than Oliver Hoplin.

5. There were many swampy areas in Lowry; north of Bjorklund’s house, south of the Clinic, north of St. Pauli Church and south of the depot. All have been filled in now.

6. The ‘hole’ north of Chan’s Café where a building had burned, leaving the basement excavation. (Filled by WPA workers.)

7. Walt Middents and Mitchell bought an open Model ‘T’ Ford for $15 (1938 or 1939).

8. The murder of Mabel Pladson in 1936 and Mrs. Bjorklund’s accident in 1938.

9. The crowds of people that used to gather in town on Saturday nights (before the War).

10. Parking vehicles – motor cars, horses and carts, etc. in the middle of Main Street.

11. Horse Lake Hill when it was really a hill.

12. Mrs. Bill Leslie playing the violin at PTA meetings (that was before I developed an appreciation for violin music).

13. Chester Bennett’s lug tractor making deep indentations on gravel roads.

14. The big winter storm of about 1936. Snow was banked very deep.

15. The old Post Office south of the Hoplin and Nelson Hardware.

16. My brother, Jim, installing a red, neon Schmidt’s beer sign atop the grain elevator by the depot. At night, train engineers would see the red light from a couple miles distant and, thinking it was an emergency signal, would bring their trains to a stop. Jim had to remove the light.

17. After the War, two Lowry boys, Jim and Ken Holtberg, became engineers on the Soo Line and often made runs through Lowry. Dad and Mom were very proud to see them in the cab of a locomotive.

18. In the first grade of school, ‘Dee’ Johnson sat on my left. He was kind of nervous and would swing his legs back and forth. By Christmas time, he had worn all the varnish off the floor under his seat.

19. We were too young and naïve at the time to know that our eighth grade male teacher was gay..

20. I was home the day the War started. We didn’t know where Hawaii was, let alone Pearl Harbor. We knew the war would not last long because all the Jap soldiers were runts with buck-teeth and bad eyes. In addition, their rifles didn’t shoot straight.

21. Dad was very ill during the summer of 1942. I had to do all the gardening and drive the car when necessary. The speed limit was 35 MPH so one could not get into too much trouble on the road.

22. During the War, all able-bodied men were in the service. At harvest time, farmers would come to town and grab anybody over 13 years old and take them to help with the harvest. Jerry Pavec got me out of clerking at the Drug Store to handle grain as it came from his threshing machine. I probably weighed 98# at the time.

23. I left Lowry on the 15th of August, 1945. Except for short visits to see my parents and my sister Ruby, I have not lived there since. There is nobody left in Lowry now that I knew in the days prior to August, 1945.

24. I unloaded one boxcar of coal for Gust Nelson. That was about 1943. It was the hardest work I’d ever done. My back is still sore.

25. The building of Ella McIver’s house, about 1936. I think it was the only house built in Lowry between 1930 and 1946.

26. The building of the skating rink by the WPA. It was one of the best projects ever.

29. The night that Bob Kasper’s body was returned to Lowry. Perhaps the fall of 1942.

30. New Highway #114 was relocated from the section line, running between the Tiegen and Erlandson farms, to the west street of Lowry, about 1934.

31. Brother Jim was working in Kensington with a railroad extra gang. One week end, he showed up in Lowry, having pumped a hand-car on the tracks the nine miles from Kensington. That must have been about 1932. I wonder if he had anyone’s permission to use the hand-car!

32. The building of the ‘new elevator’ (1935 ?).

33. George Hare, falling from the door of a boxcar and sustaining a fatal injury.

34. Ed Benson delivering milk in Lowry with a sleigh, pulled by a team of horses, in the pre-pasteurization days.

35. Ben Rice’s 1923 Model ‘T’ coupe. It was his car for life.

36. My brother, Kenneth’s ham radio antenna, held up by two tall telephone poles ex-tended with wood trusses. The structures were 52 feet high.

37. The big scrap iron drive in the 30’s. The scrap was being shipped to Japan! I’m sure we got all of it back during WWII.

I REMEMBER BY Ellwood A. Johnson

* The high school cafeteria food was not exactly like mother's cooking. Many of the students ate off-school grounds. However, when they served minced hamburger sandwiches -- almost like Maid-Rite -- they had a full house. Oh, when we ate downtown the fare might have been a hamburger and a root beer. The cost - $0.35 in 1949.

* After the big war, there was a favorite hamburger joint in Glenwood called "Wimpy's."" It was the most popular place in town and always crowded. They sold burgers for a nickel a burger. They were even bigger than the current McDonalds.

* During the war years, I remember that the cost of a ticket for a movie was $0.12. I presume that pop corn was about a nickel. A big draw on a Saturday matinee was the serial. I think the films lasted about 10 minutes each. At the end of each serial there was a cliff hanger, either the male or female hero would be in some situation where one would think they could never survive -- tune in next week. It sure brought us back to the theatre the next week; that is, if we could get a ride from Lowry to Glenwood or money was available that week.

* Saturday night was a big night in Lowry. The Commercial Club held a drawing and the prize was cash. Many of the men came to town wearing bib overalls with clean white long sleeved shirts. The women were all dressed up in their Sunday-go-to-Meeting clothes. Most of the shopping was done by the men. They would get the shopping list from their wives, give the list to the grocer, and then do other things till it was time to go home. If the women went shopping, even during the day time hours, they dressed up You would not see the wives go shopping in their "household" clothing.

*  During the Saturday Night festivities, parking was at a premium. Cars were parked early so they could have a good view of the crowd. Many of the local women gathered with their friends and sat in cars to watch all of the people who came to town -- I think the word "gossip" started here. 

* During the depression years, my Dad, Jack Johnson, showed free movies on the side of the Lowry Apartment building, since razed.

* Around 1945, my dad built me a pop corn stand. It had wheels so we could move it around. We kept it in the entrance way of the butcher shop meat lockers and I sold pop corn for $0.05 a bag on Saturday nights.

* When we went to college one of the chores was to do laundry. What this meant is that we packed up the our dirty clothes in a fiber board box and mailed them home. In a couple of days, they were returned clean as a whistle.

*. A winter wool suit, in my early days, felt like it was made of burlap -- it itched. In order to make it more comfortable, many of use wore pajama pants under the wool pants.

*  Oh, what a joy the skating rink provided all of us kids. It would have taken an illness or a major snow storm to keep us away during the winter months. We played hockey with the goal defined by two bricks.

*  Another winter sport we had was skiing. We had skis with a leather band which went over our shoes. We then cut rubber inner tubes in about inch strips which was used as binders. Sure was not as secure as those used presently but they did the trick We had two major hills -- Bunker and Mary.  I don't remember many kids getting sprained ankles but then the hills we skied down were not exactly the Alps.

*  I had one dog -- Jiggs -- during my growing up years. I got him for Christmas and when I first saw him he was sitting on the kitchen table so all could see him. Well, he greeted me by piddling on the table. We had him less than a year. He had this habit of nipping on the heels of Freddy Chan, our home delivery milk man. Freddy strongly suggested that he would not continue to deliver milk to the next door neighbors unless ...  Needless to say, Jiggs became a farm hand. Still miss that little rat terrier.

*  The local Lowry school only went through grade 8. We then went to high school at Glenwood which was 9 miles away. We were bussed. When I first went to high school we had a White bus -- White was a truck company like GMC from the 20s to the mid-50s. We had a very steep hill that we had to navigate going home. The old White had to go up the hill in 1st gear --  probably made less than 5 mph. In my senior year, the school system bought a new Rio -- another truck company bus. That vehicle could go up the hill in 3rd gear. A marked improvement and all the locals following the bus up the hill were grateful.

*   In a small town, there is not much opportunity for summer employment unless it is helping out on a farm. As kids, we just couldn't wait to get a summer job. I remember driving horses for hay harvesting for Anton Tiegen. He had a farm helper named Ole Boe who was quite a character. Both Anton and Ole chewed "Yankee Girl" chewing tobacco. Best to stay up wind. I also remember helping out Ralph Stevland and Floyd Farland. I had to walk out to the Stevland farm in the morning and then walked back at night. I think I received $0.50 a day at that time. I drove horses to pick up hay and grain bundles and later drove the tractor for plowing, springtoothing, and draging. A great experience.

*  I was very envious of Bud Olson. He had the opportunity of traveling with a thrashing crew that had contracts in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota. I thought this would be a great adventure that I was not asked to join.

*  During WWII we had rationing -- meat, butter, gasoline, shoes, etc. My mother was on the county gas rationing board and they met in Glenwood one day a week. Each automobile had to have a gas sticker, either an "A," "B," for "C." I forgot how many gallons each coupon allowed but it was not much. An "A" sticker was for those whose driving was not essential. My dad had a "C" sticker as he was a rural mail carrier

*  We did not have television during my growing up years. But, we did have the radio. Of course, we could only listen to it at certain times. I remember "Jack Armstrong, The All-American Boy," the "Lone Ranger" (we could only receive the program from WNAX, Yankton, SD), "Suspense," "The Shadow," and many more. My mother used to listen to "Ma Perkins," several others that I cannot remember, and, of course, "Don McNeil's Breakfast Club," which was out of Chicago.

*  During the winter months we not only had the skating rink but we also played basketball at the Axel Erickson outdoor court. Actually, a hoop was installed on the side of the barn-like garage and the floor was cinders which covered a portion of the ground. "Horse" was one of the basketball games that we played. During the spring, we played marbles as soon as the snow thawed.

*  On the last day of school, many of us made a quick trip to the local barber, Leland Thompson. It was time for our summer "crew" cut. It was so much easier to wash and dry one's hair after a hard days work on the farm. I quick wash in the horse trough did the trick. 

*  During the winter, it became a problem for the farm kids to get to school. In my grade school years, I remember kids riding on a horse drawn wagon (sled). If there was a snow storm, many of the dads simply stayed in town till the kids got out of school and then they all returned home. My buddy, Vertis Johnson, drove their Farmall tractor to school. During the high school years, some of the kids stayed in town during the week days and then back home during the weekend. 

*  When we were young patriotism had a real meaning. During WWI, WWII, and the Korean War in particular, most of the kids did not look for loopholes to avoid the draft. Five of the Chan boys were drafted or joined the Army and only brother Dave could not go because it was army policy to not take all male youth of a particular family. I, like many others, joined the Navy before I got the draft notice. I did not want to be in the Army Infantry.

*  We had a crank telephone which was located in the entrance way to the kitchen. It was very difficult to reach for the young kids, but then we were rarely allowed to use the phone because an "emergency" call might come in. It was a two-party line and our number was "1."

I Remember by Laberta "Bert" Robieson Lyle

Roberta and I with Dorothy Chan and Lois Holden graduated from Glenwood High School in 1948. We all went to the prom together that year. After we graduated Roberta went to Nursing school in Minneapolis while I went to Minneapolis and found a clerical job. Roberta took a nursing position in Austin MN and there is where she met and married Bob Clayton. I met friends from Cass Lake and several of us from the girls club would go to Cass Lake and have some fun, and then met and married Corky Larson from there. I have no record of what Dorothy. or Lois did after graduation. I only know that Lois died at a very young age.

While Roberta was taking her nursing training at Northwestern Hospital I was living in a girls club in downtown Minneapolis. I would take a street car and go to the hospital to visit her. A lot of times we went to a movie close by.

While we were growing up, we always went to the school house in Lowry in the evening to play outside games all over town. Two of the games we played were Honko and Run My Good Sheep Run.

On our Sunday afternoons Roberta and I would always have to wash and dry the lunch dishes after church while Lois, Dorothy and Mary Carlson would always come over and we couldn't join them until we got the dishes done. Mary Carlson always chummed with us being one year younger. Carlson's moved to Alex. before Mary graduated.

We really loved to go with Mary. Her parents owned the Lowry Creamery and we'd go there and Mary would ask her mother to make us rolls so she would come over to their house and mix us up a batch of rolls, and they were the best. Mrs Carlson did the book work at the creamery and their house was just behind the creamery. We did a lot of card and game playing at their house.

Lois Holden's dad made a parcheesi hoard out of wood and we played that a lot at their house. We used sugar lumps for dice. Lois's brother Hartford had these cans dug in the ground around the yard so he could play golf.

When driving age came upon us, Dorothy and Roberta took us to Starbuck and Glenwood and we used to go roller skating.

For the winter months we always went to the skating rink in town to ice skate. Lois Holden always played hockey with the boys on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. She was as good as the guys.

Dad had an extra barn across the tracks that we used to play in a lot. We'd play in the hay loft.

When Dad was Mayor of Lowry. he would have to collect money for the March of Dimes. He would always make a clipboard with all the names of the people of Lowry and he would ask if Roberta and I would go out and collect from each home and business. It was always cold and lots of snow. We'd always disliked it when Dad would send us back if someone didn't pay much. We entered each home before dinner time and the food cooking in each house smelled so good.

I Remember by Roberta "Gert" Robieson Clayton

Lois Holden, Dorothy Chan. LaBerta and Roberta Robieson went to 12 grades of school together. I just don't remember when Mary Carlson joined us to make us 5. She was a grade behind us but it never mattered, she was one of us.

We were together a lot. We did have disagreements but worked them out ourselves. Cur Mom always said if we couldn't get along together Bert and I had to play together.

Dorothy had the first of everything: Playhouse, bike, watch, just name it. About the playhouse. It was small but who cared, it was an honest to goodness playhouse! One night someone tried to burn it down. Ben Chan was down to see our Dad to see if we were in on it. Dad called us down to his office. Now that was something! He asked if we had done it and we both said in unison. No. Did we know anything about it? Again an big No. Dad walked up town and gave his answer to Ben that his daughters knew nothing about the incident. We never heard another word about if. The playhouse was still usable.

On winter nights, if we got our school work done, we could go to the skating rink till 9 o'clock to ice skate. The WPA had made a skating rink and warming house that we made good use of all winter long while we were growing up.

Lois was the math whiz. She would have the answer to flashcards out before we saw them. We would never have learned our tables if Mom hadn't worked with us on those long winter nights.

There was a little incident in Dorothv's upstairs bedroom. Don't know where we got the cigarettes BUT we girls decided to learn how to smoke. WE were very smart to open all the windows! The smoke must have been pouring out the windows, when Mary's mother called up to her that she had a job for her. Never a word to us, but the party ended when Mary had to leave.

Mary's Mom made saccharine chocolate cake all during the war. No one had sugar for cake but we girls had many treats after-school at their house.

When we went to Mary's home and heard the piano being played, it might be Mary practicing but if it was Mrs Carlson she would be singing also and their dog would be howling with her.

We most always walked to school together. Bert and I would go to the Holden's, then pick up Mary and Dorothy on the way. If we had a penny to spend we would stop at Mclver's store. You could get 2 big jaw breakers for a penny. You could say we had the world at our finger tips. Five girls, innocent, fun loving, friends for 12 years. After graduating from Glenwood High, each going into the big world in different directions.

I Remember by Rosella J. Olsen (Olson)

1. As a person grows older and you think so often about your roots, good memories come flooding back and also gratitude for growing up and living in Lowry, Mn. I never minded at all being from a small town. We knew everyone in town, where they lived, how many children they had, their names and what they did for a living.

2. I fondly remember the Christmas programs we had at St. Pauli Lutheran Church, we practiced for weeks ahead and we always had a huge Christmas tree up in the front of the church and then we received a brown bag of hard candy and peanuts and a delicious apple. I enjoyed the ribbon, hard candy the most.

3. I remember the school programs we had upstairs at the City Hall, you had to go up many steps, I remember the stage and my sister Luella and I singing "You Are My Sunshine." We also had basket socials up there, baskets made out of old shoe boxes and covered with crepe paper and always curious who would buy our basket of food and goodies, we eyed some that we wanted to buy our basket and other's that we hoped didn't buy it.

4. I also remember running up and down those rickety, old stairs in the back of City Hall, we always seemed to get a little spooked there.

5. I recall with the fondest of memories the wonderful skating rink Lowry had. We would play "Crack The Whip", and the boys would sling us over into a huge pile of snow. I remember helping clean the ice off and we always enjoyed watching them flood the rink time and again. The warming house was a very special place.

6. Going to school in Lowry was great, I remember walking over drifts that almost reached the wires, wearing wool snowpants and those cute brown, long stockings. Sometime we'd take our lunch and sometimes eat in basement of the school, I do remember the milk that came in those little containers, not every caring for milk I didn't take any.

7. I remember going to Chan's Cafe to ask my Dad for money for ice cream, he was there playing cards. Mother never wanted us to go in there because they sold beer.

8. We were around town a lot, but I mainly remember the saturday nights when the farmers and others would come to town to do their shopping, it was great.

9. My sister Luella and I worked at Leo Dahl's Cafe. He was the greatest guy to work for and Blanche (his wife) and Signe Greenfield were the greatest cooks. We enjoyed the customers coming and going, especially the Hoplin boys as they were always so much fun.

10. I remember roller skating all over town with our clamp on roller skates.

11. I remember my brother Bud (Vernon) delivering the Saturday Evening Post Magazine, he finally made enough to buy a wonderful, red bicycle, first he rode it and then it transferred down to Luella and I.

12. I remember Martin Boyer and his wife, they lived in this small house and she sat outside most of the day, holding her cane.

13. I remember Bunker Hill, going down on cardboard, skiis and inner tubes, no matter how cold we were there.

14. I remember Halloween, doing a few things we shouldn't have been doing, like stealing pumpkins and being chased by the owner of the pumpkins, and also a couple outhouses going over, it was fun then.

15. The peace and serenity of a small town like Lowry and knowing everyone and caring for them is the greatest.