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We will try to highlight as many stories as we can on our website.

This would be a great family project. Don't know what kind of questions to ask or talk about? Go through the history sections of this website, look through the pictures and see if they recognize the photos. What grade schools did they go to, where did they go to high school, how did they get to school. Where did they go grocery shopping or clothes or supplies? What did they do for fun, do they remember winter haven during the winter or did they roller skate there later on? What jobs did they have in town. Did they hang out at the creek or on the river? Did they go to activities in the old village hall? What was it like during the flood of 65 or the blizzards.

Rose and her sewing machine

This vintage sewing machine was donated to the Sartell Historical Society by the Ren and Rose Pearson family. It is a White Rotary brand treadle sewing machine. It used a rotary hook bobbin driver. It was manufactured in Cleveland OH and dates to the early 1900’s. The metal patent plate lists 1913 as its last manufacture date. Rose Pearson spent many, many hours at this machine creating beautiful clothes for herself and family along with repairing clothing for people who didn’t have access to a sewing machine.

Rose Vrtar Pearson came from Cleveland Ohio in 1947 and stayed with her Great Uncle and Aunt, Frank and Mary Petach. Before coming to Sartell, Rose attended Jane Adams High School in Cleveland, where she learned to sew. After she finished school, she worked as a seamstress in a sweater factory before moving to Sartell.

After she moved here, she met Ren Pearson and they were married on August 27th, 1949 at St. Francis Church. Rose is a very talented seamstress. Her sewing skills came in handy when they had three lovely daughters. When the children were young, she made most of their clothes. Rose and Ren loved to go dancing and tried to go every week. She made all of her pretty dancing dresses. After the girls were grown, Rose volunteered her talents at the Country Manor Nursing Home and Apartments where she did the mending and repairs to the residents clothing. Rose didn’t drive so each week she walked to the Country Manor Campus, which was two miles round trip. She did this for roughly 40 years. In visiting with Rose, I found out she is an avid baseball fan, watching many games each season. She loves watching the Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins.

Rose’s husband Ren was a very talented artist, he created many beautiful three dimensional paintings and carvings which he won many awards for. His favorite were of wildlife and nature scenes.

written by; Kaye Wenker

Neal Pearson, long time Sartell resident talking about the

History of Sartell and the Paper Mill

Rita Fasen long time resident of Sartell, talks about Winter Haven and roller skating

Jack McCann

"My name is Jack McCann. I was born in the St. Cloud hospital in September, 1936. I remember spending time in Sartell at my grandparents home many times. Their house was located across the street from the river. The house stood in what is now DeZurik's parking lot. the house was moved intact to 2nd Avenue North in the late 60's.

I could always go across the street in the summer and fish off of Grandpa's dock, but the first time I was there around Christmas time my grandma )Agatha Sartell) told me, "you do not go on the ice util the guys working at the mill have made a walking path over to the mill for at least a couple of weeks-then it is safe." I believe I was six or seven at the time and I never forgot what she had said.

My Sartell grandparents were Charles Francis and Agatha Sartell. Charles died in 1945 after selling the store to Ripley Sartell. Charles had managed the store for many years for the Sartell Brothers Corporation, Agatha passed away in 1967."

Where Rivers Merge Stories from the History of Sartell, Minnesota William Towner Morgan

Ron Hurd

"One of my fondest memories of living in Sartell took place in 1946 when I was just 5 years old. My grandparents had rented a house on Sartell Street. My mother and I went to visit them for the afternoon. Since the house had no running water, just a cistern for washing clothes, my grandparents had to fetch their water from a neighbor. My uncle-my dad's younger half-brother- and I went to the neighbor's with our buckets to get water. When we were on our way home, I looked down the driveway where I saw my dad returning from war. A Marine veteran, he had fought on Iwo Jima. After that campaign, he was stationed in Japan for six months. I had not seen him for two years, but I recognized him! He had hitchhiked from Minneapolis after a long bus ride from California. I was one excited boy! Lest we forget."

Where Rivers Merge Stories from the History of Sartell, Minnesota William Towner Morgan pages 41-42

Patricia Dahlman

"I started working part-time at the Sartell store when I was 14 years old and continued through high school. My job consisted of stocking shelves, assisting customers, and helping to fill phone orders and readying them for delivery. On a particular Saturday afternoon we received a late request for a home delivery. I knew Rip was particularly tired that day so I filled the order and mentioned to him that it was ready. He them threw the keys for the delivery truck at me and said, "here, you go deliver them." I didn't think that would be too difficult until I realized the truck was a stick shift, which I had never driven before. For some strange reason, I managed to drive to the home, deliver the groceries and get back to the store safely!"

Where Rivers Merge Stories from the History of Sartell Minnesota William Towner Morgan page 43

Robert DeZurik

Sartell was a very small village of approximately 400 residents when I was born. It sat on both sides of the Mississippi River five miles north of St. Clou, Minnesota. The Mississippi ran north/south kind of splitting the village in two halves. The main north/south street, on the west side of the river, was called the River Road. On the east side of the river was U.S. Highway 10 and a train track that the Great Northern Railroad traversed a few times a day. The village boundary limits from the north end to the south end were probably only three miles apart.

The only church in Sartell when I was born was the Presbyterian Church immediately next door to our home on the River Road. We were a Catholic family so our church was in Sauk Rapids. The St. Francis Catholic Church was eventually built in Sartell, first in a basement, and over time the upper structure was added.

My grandfather, Mathias DeZurik, worked at Watab Paper Co. until he started the Dezurik Shower Co.

In those days parents did not have worries about the safety of their children. I rode my bicycle to St. Cloud many times. Did it alone a few times. The trip was five miles one way. Always went to Jim's bike Shop. I guess I went there just for something to do.

The first water we could swim in, in the spring was Watab Creek, We were anxious for the ice to move out. The first one swimming had bragging rights, being the first to be really cold swimming in water just above freezing. We probably turned blue, but anything to be the first in.

We had fun in the woods and quarries a few blocks from our home. We played Army, Cowboys and Indians and Hide and Seek, etc.

One of our dogs, Shep, was a stray. Brother Tom and I saw the people drop him off right in front of our home. It didn't take long for us to adopt him. He was the best squirrel dog ever.

In Sartell, everyone knew everyone. One of our neighbors had two sons that were called up for the WWII Air Force duty. Their names were Art and Al English. Art was killed in a plane crash. Al made a career of the Air Force. In one of my curious conversations with Al. I found out he was flying a huge B-36 bomber. The only Air Force bomber with six radial engines which faced backwards. I asked him if all six engines had ever quit running in the air and he said yes it happened. I asked him how the plane flew under those circumstances and his reply was "Like a rock".

We had a baseball field. Our coach was Chuck Shaffer. He was a milkman by trade. He was a wonderful man who put his whole heart into our little baseball team. We even had uniforms. Sartell had a village hall. It had a lower level which was used for meetings, bingo, group functions, and a temporary Catholic Church Sunday services. The upper floor was very nice basketball floor. Played a lot of basketball, but never excelled. I needed the basket about two feet lower than regulation.

Summer jobs were important to me. I worked two summers as a common laborer-age 16 and 17. Being a common laborer means you are very good with a pick and shovel. No skills required.

In 2018 my wife and I were in the St. Cloud area visiting family. I decided to take a drive through Sartell and past the house I grew up in . It just so happened that the current owner saw me stop to take a look and when she found out I grew up in the home she invited me to go in the home and nose around. They had it up for sale at that time. It truly was a thrill walking in the first home I grew up in. It was not as big as it was when I was a child. Nothing really changed. Just my point of view.

I am sure I am missing a lot but the golden age of 80 takes away some memory. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Arlene Mendel

"This was a long time ago, back in the 30's. there were six kids in our family. the two oldest boys went into the service and my sister married and moved to another state. The next boy was a twin and his sister died when she was six weeks old. I was born two years later.

We lived a couple of blocks from the paper mill where we had a large garden and raised a couple of pigs, goats, chickens and a goose for Christmas dinner. My parents also had a farm north of town where we had cows (we milked by hand) and horses to cut hay and cultivate corn. My dad said I chased more frogs than I cut hay.

There was no city water so we had to carry water from a well when my mom washed clothes and for cooking. After school, we had to carry the water outside and then do chores and our homework.

We walked to school which now is the district office west of DeZurik's. In the winter we would cut through the paper mill because it was too cold to walk around by the bridge. My brother and neighbor boy would hurry across the swinging bridge and when my girlfriend and I would get on to cross the river they would start swinging it and of course girls would scream because we were scared it would break and we'd fall in the river.

It was my job to get the mail a couple times a week so I'd bring one of my horses to the steps so I could get on. They were sturdy plow horses and no saddle so my legs stuck out like fishing poles on each side. After I got the mail it was the same process to get on the horse. I was about three blocks from home and I fell off and landed right between the front and back legs and that horse never took another step! Of course I could not get back on so I walked the horse home.

We did a lot of walking growing up and we lived a block and one-half from the V Bar. On Sunday morning the neighborhood kids would go there to find any money that the patrons had dropped on Saturday night and many times we found enough so we could all walk to the movies on Sunday afternoon. Once in a while we found enough to go to the "elite" Paramount Theater in downtown St. Cloud. Movies were about a nickel in Sauk Rapids and a dime or so at the Paramount depending if they were black and white or in color! If there was a cartoon before the movie that was really great. In the winter our skating rink was the watertower that overflowed (not by accident) at the coal docks. It was really bumpy but we skated as fast as we could and then grabbed the legs of the tower and swung around them and then let go and land in a snowbank. If we were lucky a school friend from St. Cloud would let us stay overnight and then we went to Lake George and skated to music.

When my dad was building our "new" home we were not supposed to go in it until the floor upstairs was complete. It was exciting as steps were in when we were there. Well, the chimney wasn't finished but the hole was there. We were having a great time because a floor higher than the ground was truly awesome. Well my sister misstepped and fell backwards and her butt went through the chimney hold. Needless to say, my dad had to come and pull her out and now the house was off limits.

My brother and I delivered papers to everyone in Sartell, both sides of the river. We were also super excited when Winter Haven was built. We did a lot of sledding and even more roller skating. Waltzing on roller skates is super exciting. One of our friends had a car with a rumble seat and on a weekend we'd pack it full and head to Elk River to skate and get an ice cream cone.

We didn't get into trouble growing up because we were so busy with chores and with schoolwork there was no time. My brother helped Dad and my mom on the farmwork and my mom had health issues so I had to learn how to sew when I was about nine. I also learned how to bake bread when I was 12 because my dad did not like store bread. My mom was in the hospital one time so I asked my sister-in-law to make gravy. She said to put some grease in a fry pan and add flour and heat until it starts to turn brown and then slowly add water until it thins out. I did that, but by the time we ate it it was like paste! However, my dad said it was the best gravy he'd ever had! One thing for certain my parents always gave us a pat on the back for at least trying.

We worked really hard when we were kids, but I feel I'm a better person because of it. You're not entitled to anything just because you are alive and live here. You need to work for everything just like our forefathers did."

Where Rivers Merge Stories from the History of Sartell William Towner Morgan pages 44-45

This quilt is on display at the Sartell Community Center

The article about the quilt was in the St. Cloud Times 7-03-2007