Visitors who have toured the house know the Museum historians have adequate early records concerning the first families who occupied the residence. Several colorful stories about John G. ("Land") Lund, his sister Mary Lund Hoel and her husband Reverend Olaf Hoel are always interesting! Records for the later years are in the process of research concerning the names of the many renters and boarders who once called this house "home".
Lund, along with his sister Mollie and her husband Frank, planted over 400 trees during the spring months. In 1891, John Lund's "lot" covered more than half a village block, and his sister owned a charming corner house just a block away.
In 1890, Lund planned his "palatial residence". With the charm and style of a circus ringmaster, John G. Lund announced to the editor of the Canby News on the 9th of August that he "was thinking of building a residence" north of the park square.
In the following year, Canbyans were not surprised to see that on April 4th lumber had arrived and was piled on Lund's vacant corner property. The Canby News observed "Mr. Lund will put up a very fine residence from modern plans." Thus, on June 5th, Canby's showman-salesman and youthful near-millionaire was ready to move his new wife into their new house built (with carpenters given Sundays off as days of rest) in less than two months! Today tour guides refer to this first part of the structure as Lund's "49 Day" House.
Although the "49 Day" House was brand new, it received the decorative balconies, the turret, and the "gingerbread" trim nine years later when whopping real estate sales by the Lund Land Agency made John G. famous throughout the state and a bona fide millionaire.
The "landmark" fence of "hardheads" (field stones) appeared in the summer of 1900. The fence was restored and completely rebuilt by Orlando Menk in 1986. The Canby News states, "This stone is odd yet there is a charm about it which tends to make its surroundings home-like and unique."
[As a side note, the Canby News has been in operation for over 145 years and is still the local center for news.]
John G Lund
The Lund Land Agency was headquartered in the double stone building which still stands on St. Olaf Avenue (now known as The Hair Gallery). Here the "real estate king," "Land Lund," in 1889 sold over 60,000 acres of land. In a few years, Lund's Land Agency had established branches in Watertown, Iroquois, Goodwin, and Henry, South Dakota, and in Jamestown, North Dakota, as well as in Northwood, Iowa.
It was John Lund's practice to hire every horse and rig available in town, gather his friends who played in the village band, and meet the incoming trains filled with prospective customers. Lund dressed in a special vest bedecked with brass buttons, wore a bandmaster's cap, and carried a cornet (which he blew to call attention to his sales pitch.
John G. Lund was also a very popular candidate for mayor. He "swept" the elections in 1898 through 1900. His business abilities were of great help in building the village which became the city of Canby.
Reverend Hoel Family ***
Canby historians assume when Rev Olaf Hoel bought what is now the Lund-Hoel House (MECCA, Inc) in 1903, that the $10,000 purchase price was nearly impossible for a pioneer preacher to come by. However, Canbyans of that time were aware that the pastor's wife had a successful father and brothers in banking and that there was no need for Mary (Lund) Hoel to look far for finances.
Mary (also spelled Marie) Elizabeth was born 8 March 1857 to Ove Nicholai Lund (Known in Canby as O.N.) and Johanna (Huseby) Lund in Decorah, Iowa. Her father Ove was born in Saysborg, Norway, on 21 April 1825, emigrated to American in 1855 and died in Canby in 1889. Her mother Johanna was also born in Norway at Gue Solor on 9 March 1835; her death in Canby was in the same year as her husband's. As a child Mary moved with her parents to Winona and a few years later to Rushmore, MN, where she grew to womanhood. She was confirmed by Rev E.L. Jaastad of Rushmore, who also, on 19 August 1876, married her to the newly ordained Olaf Hoel.
Near or in Canby, the Hoels' eight children, three girls and five boys, were born:
Hannah, 4 October 1877:
The oldest. Since she and Rev. Andrew Sorenson were married in 1902, a year before the Hoels bought the house, it is unlikely that Hannah lived in the Lund-Hoel House.
Wilhelm Marius (called Marius), 13 November 1879:
Marius died unexpectedly while away at Luther College in early 1896 so he could not have lived at the house.
Milla, 1 January 1882:
Milla taught school beginning in 1904 and in 1910 married, after teaching for six years. She could have lived for a short time in the house.
Ove Nordahl (called Nordahl), 14 October 1884:
Considering Nordahl did not marry until 1909, it is possible that he lived for a few years in the house before going into the banking profession.
John Rudolph (called Rudolph), 14 April 1886:
Since Rudolph followed Nordahl into banking and did not marry until 1912, he too, probably lived with the family at the house for a short time.
Ingram Harry (called Harry), 6 November 1888:
Harry did not graduate from Canby High School until 1907. For certain he spent four years as a family member in the house. After he married in 1912, he, his wife, Marie Ziegler Hoel, and their two children lived in Canby for several years, but they did not live in the house.
Nella, (youngest daughter), 25 July 1891:
Nella was 12 years old when she moved with her family into the house. She did not marry Andrew Berg until 1931, a year after her mother's and father's deaths. She was the child who stayed at home to care for her elderly parents. And because of this, lived in the house for more years than any other member of the Hoel family.
Nella spent some months away from Canby. In the year 1911, Nella received a certificate from the Lutheran Ladies' Seminary and its Conservatory of Music on 7 June. This seminary in Red Wing, MN, was conducted exclusively for young Christian women. Here Nella excelled in music. Upon her return to Canby, she gave piano lessons in the main parlor of the house for many years. (A McPhail's piano degree was awarded later, c 1935, in Minneapolis.)
Milnor Omer (called Omer), the youngest son and last child, 9 February 1894
Omer was 9 years old when the family moved to the house.
Omer graduated from Canby High School in 1912, married in 1917, then "read" and practiced law in Iowa before returning to Canby in the late 1920s for a few years. It is certain that Omer's young family lived, for a year, in the Lund-Hoel House.
In 1991, Omer, the only living child of the Hoel family at the time -at 97 years of age, traveled from California with his daughter (and namesake) Milnore, and his two sons James R. and David L. Hoel. They attended the July 25-26-27 Centennial Birthday Party in Canby. The MECCA board members were thrilled to have such venerable guests!
In 2015, James R. and Milnore Hoel Hall both passed away. On July 30th, James R. Hoel's 2 children, Gil (wife, Julie) with his sister, Kim Hoel Creadick, along with another generation of Hoels: Jillian Hoel Winters, and Cayden, Chad, & Chelsea Griffith.
The Piano Years
Nella, had devoted her youth to caring for her aged parents. She later married Andrew Berg, a Lincoln automobile dealer from Minneota, MN. A year had passed since the death of the bride's parents. This marriage was for each partner a late one, and no children were born to the Bergs. Nells'a "children" were her many piano students who came to the Hoel House over the years for weekly lessons.
Nella Hoel's ~30 year ownership 1930-1958
The Maier Years: 1932-1937
The Charles Maier's daughter, Lorraine Maier Tone, recollects the Hoel House, and "the way we were in the 30's". My father was born in rural Canby, about the time the house was built. He recalled when he was a young boy the park-like grounds contained a grand real estate display, done in all flowers, which read, "Buy Land of Lund." He dreamed of living in that home someday, and he did, about 30 years later.
One of the most pleasing aspects of the home was that every upstairs bedroom had access to a lovely balcony. My bedroom (Lorraine Maier [Tone] reminiscing), the front bedroom, would please any teenager today--the adjoining dressing room contained stained glass windows and a door which opened onto the front balcony. My parents occupied the "lower" upstairs bedroom. The two side bedrooms were rented to rural high school girls during the school year; these rooms were accessed by using the rear stairs.
There were no regular renters during the summer, and our home was open for out-of-town relatives and summer guests. We hired live-in help for one year, a girl named Lillian from Bowbells, North Dakota.
This special house was made for entertaining, and my parents enjoyed doing just that. It was the scene of many birthday parties, luncheons, dinners, and card clubs (500 and Bridge) which were so popular in the 30's. The names of some people who come to mind that enjoyed this home and my parents' hospitality are the Fred Siegfrieds, Len Collitans, Russell Phillips, Clarence Reids, everett and August Bushmans, Joe Roemers, Dr. Phillips, and Hazel Ventling, to name a few. My close friends were margaret Haugen (later Johnson), Priscilla Olson (later Andersen), Vivian Tilghman, and Ruth Ostensoe (later Nau). Brother Charle's young friends were Arndt Pedersen and Leland Silverberg.
The Depression Years:
The early 30's were, of course, the Depression years. Canby seemed to sustain a pretty fair economic position, considering the times. The summers were hot and dry. Our home attracted many door to door traveling salesman trying to make a living by selling Oriental rugs, encyclopedias, household items, or cosmetics. Some stopped to take photographs and others came by "bumming" their way through the country looking for a meal or a handout. On our side porch one could often see a stranger eating hungrily and thankfully--Mother said our house was "marked". She would never refuse to feed anyone.
The drought brought bramble bushes rolling down the street on hot windy days. One frightening incident occurred on June 19 in 1934. About midday or in the early afternoon, Mother and I were in the dining room. The day that had been filled the summer sun suddenly became pitch black, like midnight. Frightened as I was, there was a feeling of security being in the big house. Mother immediately called Dad who was at work at the power plant, and he told us that a huge dirt storm had rolled in from South Dakota, descended on Canby and shut out the sun completely. It was perhaps an hour or more before the sun filtered through the haze. Our grass, the sidewalks-everything-was covered by fine silt. Many Canbyans, those not as fortunate as we to receive a quick explanation, thought the world was ending!
Crowley Years: 1938-1957
The Dan Crowley Family 1938-1957 (Written by Margaret Crowley McConnell)
My parents, Dan & Clara Crowley, occupied various apartments in the house. This was also my home from 1938 to 1946.
While James Mc'Connell served at Fort Lewis Washington, his young bride, Margaret, returned to Canby in October 1943 and lived in the back upstairs apartment until 1946. Their first son, James Jr., was born December 15, 1943. He was baptized in the same parlor where the wedding reception had been held. When the baby was 18 months old, he saw his father for the first time. James Sr. returned from the European theater in July 1945 and was just discharged in December. They lived in the house until spring 1946.
While the Crowleys lived in the house, dad worked for both Ed and Leo Hentges. In the mid-1940s, he began to work as a custodian at the hospital and continued there until his retirement. The folks saw their family raised in the Lund-Hoel House and enjoyed the company of the other tenants. For the Crowley's, putting four children through school, these were recovery years after the Depression. Mother spent most of these years as a cook at the Canby Public Schools and at St. Peter's Catholic School. She died in May 1989. Dan Crowley died of a heart attack in 1968 at the age of 76, 5 years after the parents had built their own home on Lyon Street.
With the exception of the Richter's tenure in the Lund-Hoel House, the Crowley's, as tenants of Nella and Andrew Berg, lived there the longest and saw more people move in and out. Best of all was always easy to tell someone where you lived because it was "behind the stone wall
James McConnell, Jr and Lani Qualley (Cleveland)
Photo taken on the sidewalk of the Lund-Hoel House mid 1940s
The Dan Crowley Family lived in the Hoel House from 1938 to 1957, occupying various apartments. The family first moved into the back upstairs apartment. Others who lived there included Mr. & Mrs. Vincent Domek, Martha Craigmile, Mr & Mrs Ault (he worked for W.G. Woodward), Mr. & Mrs. Torrence Carlson (he was music director at the school), Mr & Mrs. Howard Norman, a couple who worked for Otter Tail, and Francis & June (Qualley) Duis. In 1940, the family moved downstairs to the front apartment, but kept two bedrooms upstairs (each extra room cost $10 a month to rent).
1954 - 1975
The Richters had been renting an apartment within the house since 1954 before considering purchasing it in 1958. In those early days the Dan Crowleys, Martha Craigmile, and maybe a teacher or two were also regular tenants.
In the mid-50's Nella Hoel Berg's husband, Andrew, drove from Minneapolis to Canby to talk to Mr & Mrs William Richter about purchasing the Hoel House. He had an idea about the Richters starting what he called "a board and care home" for Canby's growing population of elderly citizens. This appealed to Bill and Minnie. Berg, always a good businessman, figured out a by-the-month purchase plan (actually a Contract For Deed dated 1 April 1958) that worked out well for the Richters. The house was theirs "free and clear" in less than 20 years.
Richter's Board and Care Home usually housed three women residents on the main floor and seven men upstairs. The work was hard for Bill and Minnie, but they enjoyed the people. When the Richter's daughter, Dorothy Pederson, was widowed in 1960, Dorothy moved to an apartment across the street from the house (and later into the house). She became her parents major source of help. Clara Tesch also worked there for a time, but Dorothy daily cooked, cleaned, and did laundry for a very big "family". Granddaughter, Denise, was born in 1971 and came right from the hospital to Bill & Minnie's house. Thus Denise is one of the few babies that historians know for certain lived at the house. The elderly residents, especially the men, were very fond of Denise and sorry to see the baby and the Hansons move out of their lives when Denise was about 3 years old.
The license under which the Richters operated allowed for a maximum of ten residents (other than the Richters), and as Minnesota state laws grew stiffer, Dorothy found herself up against new fangled kitchen rules and nutritional regulations every few months. She and her now widowed mother finally "called it quits" and the Richter Board and Care Home closed.
The American flag always flew at the Richter Home on the second Tuesday of each month when the Women's Relief corps met at the house. This group functioned in Canby for over 50 years. It was formed to send aid to the soldiers who were serving during WWII. When the average age of the members was over 80 years old, the group was disbanded at a special meeting held at the house in 1974.
The house was sold to MECCA, Inc. (Museum Encompassing Canby Community Area) in 1975.
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Site last modified: 5/10/22