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John King had a mercantile business on this corner until he sold the location to J. C. Halbkat, who operated the Halbkat Store here until about 1900. First National Bank was built in 1902, later moving to 209 North Broadway. Note the empty space south of the bank and the cars that date the photograph. The building is now occupied by Security State Bank.
John King had a mercantile business on this corner until he sold the location to J. C. Halbkat, who operated the Halbkat Store here until about 1900. First National Bank was built in 1902, later moving to 209 North Broadway. Note the empty space south of the bank and the cars that date the photograph. The building is now occupied by Security State Bank.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 3:56 PM
Charles Edward Kemple, oldest son on John and Mary Sturgeon Kemple, was born on a farm in Fountain Township Dec. 31, 1865.  One of four children, he married Mattie Kidd of Spring Valley in 1900.  They engaged in general farming about five miles north of town, but specialized in berry raising.  He was known in town as "the Melon Man."  
  • Too Hick to be Square: Bean Boys, Girls our harvest superheroes

    The Clan is currently knee deep in fall harvest. At the moment we’re in the apples and tomatoes part of the year, so we have about 15 bushels of apples in the garage and a tomato “forest” out in the garden loaded with rapidly ripening tomatoes. This means that making applesauce and blanching tomatoes are practically daily activities for us at the moment and will probably continue to be regular features of our day for another week or so. 

  • Glimpses of Yesteryear: A look at some of the early settlers
    Charles Edward Kemple, oldest son on John and Mary Sturgeon Kemple, was born on a farm in Fountain Township Dec. 31, 1865.  One of four children, he married Mattie Kidd of Spring Valley in 1900.  They engaged in general farming about five miles north of town, but specialized in berry raising.  He was known in town as "the Melon Man."  
  • Too Hick to be Square: Family photos one thing the Clan does poorly
    If you’ve been following Too Hick To be Square for the past 2+ years I’ve been writing it, you may have started to think that there’s nothing the Clan can’t do.
  • Glimpses of yesteryear: Best cake flour in 1904 has complex instructions
    Who took the highest honors in food and was awarded the grand prize at the World's Fair in St. Louis in 1904?  It was Igleheart's Swans Down cake flour; the company was located in Evansville, Indiana.  Yes, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition had a grand prize in cake flour.  Swans Down cake flour is not self-rising, but it is especially prepared to give the best results in cake baking.  One package contains 12 cups of flour, enough for 12 angel food cakes or about six other cakes, a cost of 2 to 5 cents per cake.  Each package contains 12 different cake recipes prepared by experts, and the package, it was noted, came in wax paper covers.
  • Too Hick to be Square: Mom manages 13 classrooms with secret weapon
    When I mention that my 12 siblings and I are all home schooled, people tend to have one of two reactions.
  • Glimpses of Yesteryear: Study of ‘spreadology’ in 1880s uncovers value
    We wanted to do a column on "spreaders" — in other words, manure spreaders, but it is next to impossible to get “costs” from 1880s.  For instance, in the Spring Valley Historical Society files, the Litchfield Spreader is printed on a blotter.  "A Settled Fact:  Our question-men have 'studied spreadology' and have thought it over carefully and now agree it is a settled fact that the Litchfield Spreader has no competition
  • The Clan has been known to accept free things. We’ve taken leftover food from family gatherings. We’ll pick extra apples and pears from neighbors’ trees. Any venison from trophy hunters who don’t keep the meat is a welcome addition to our freezer. We also take surplus eggs from chicken-owning neighbors as well as any unwanted and surplus chickens they might happen to have.

  • Glimpses of Yesteryear: Local merchants tout benefits in 1937 farm book

    In scanning the Spring Valley Historical Society files, we found a "Simplicity Farm Account Book" that was kept for several months. "This book was made possible by the merchants or business firms whose advertising appears herein, in appreciation of your past patronage." Dated 1937, it was done by Terpstra Bros. Advertising Co. of Des Moines, and was available for 10 cents per copy, but seemed to have been distributed as a rural local box holder.



  • Here’s something I never thought I would say: I want to be a float princess someday. Kind of.

  • Glimpses of Yesteryear: Lutheran congregations come together in 1950
    A few years ago, 2013, a gift was received from Mrs. Robert (Renata) Voeltz — a 1951 "Your Household Guide" sponsored by the Ladies Aid Society of Our Saviors Lutheran Church.    This book contained 1,001 helpful household hints selected from several hundred home recipe books of Walsworth Bros., located in Marceline, Missouri, distributed throughout the nation.  Before we relate what was in the book, a brief history of Our Saviors Lutheran Church follows. 
  • Too Hick to be Square: Clan hot dogs are unusually high in carbon
    Everyone loves bonfires in the summer—the snap and crackle of logs, the hot dogs and marshmallows roasting over glowing coals, and of course the smoke that inevitably blows directly in your face.
  • Glimpses of Yesteryear: Two-row corn planter was amazingly efficient
    Have you visited the ag building on West Courtland, here in Spring Valley?  One of the fascinating pieces of farm machinery in a large collection of memorabilia is a John Deere/Mansur two-man, two row corn planter. 
  • No lakes, but water quality even more important to Bluff Country
    We may not have the bodies of water that make up the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but water is still important in our region of Minnesota, which features bluffs, springs, caves and many streams. These unique geographic features, including sinkholes and disappearing rivers, components of karst geology, also create challenges to keep our water clean.

  • Glimpses of Yesteryear: Advertising cards tout benefits of health remedies
    A cousin recently sent a great surprise — a box of advertising cards that had belonged to my grandfather, Harry Steffens.  As a lad, he put together wonderful scrapbooks of which I still have a couple.  Harry grew up in the Hamilton area, and graduated from Spring Valley High School in 1900.  He was an excellent student, and eventually became an officer of First State Bank which was built in 1889 at 101 North Broadway, now Essig Agency.  
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Opioids

Health officials are concerned about the dramatic rise in drug overdoses in Minnesota since 2000, mostly due to opioids. Is that a growing problem in this area of Minnesota?


 

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