Lund-Hoel House

The Most Famous House in Town!

Stone headers and entrance gate to the historic lund-hoel house.

Personal Memories

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©Darold Snortum 2007

Canby’s little lake was built about 1934. The area, prior to the lake construction, was a low swampy area with a creek running through it. It was a government W.P.A. project. The dam and bridge were built at the same time, the dam of course was necessary to raise the level of the water.

Before the lake project, highway 75 turned east immediately by Sorby's lumberyard then across the creek over a narrow bridge.

When first built, the South side of the lake was shallow and had a sand bottom. There was a nice building for dressing rooms on the South side. The North side was about 10 to 12 ft. deep with steep sloping sides. There was a permanent diving platform built out over the water.

Anchored about 30 to 40 ft. out in the lake was a large floating platform with another diving board.

The original lake was 2 to 3 times bigger then it is now (after being dug out in 1988).

Shortly after the lake was built a young man drowned, trying to swim across the lake. I can remember sitting on the North bank watching boats drag for the body.

Later there was a lifeguard on duty most of the time. Sam McGorman and Maurice Hunt were two that I can remember. There were Red Cross swimming lesson then as now.

It seems the lake begin to gradually fill in every time high water would occur. We could feel a layer of mud

beginning to form on the bottom. I would guess that most swimming had stopped by the late 1940s. However, when we were kids it was a wonderful place to swim.

Union Public Service Company, later Otter Tail, had a pump house on the North side that pumped water to the cooling towers at the light plant.

Sometime in the 50s, Otter Tail brought in a floating dredge to increase depth again so they could still use it for cooling purposes. The silt was pumped to the west side and decreased the area of the lake.

There is a story that Herman Ohlsen, a plumber, installed city water for a residence across the tracks. When the customer complained that the water was dirty it was found they had been hooked up to Otter Tails lake water line.

In the years that followed the lake filled in more and more until it was basically a slew filled with reeds. In 1988 Kockelman Construction offered to dig out the area to a depth of 4 ft. for a price of $14,000. This was done and it is felt that because of 3 dams built west of town, the sediment problem should be under control. I feel Kockelman’s did this for civic pride because they certainly lost money on the project.


©Darold Snortum 2007

I'm probably wrong, but I have the feeling that when we were kids we had more fun then kids do now days. The main reason being play wasn't organized like it is now. We could pretty much do what we wanted when we wanted. I can remember warm summer days, lying on my back on the grass, hearing chickens clucking in the background, doing nothing but looking at the different shaped clouds. I wonder if kids now ever do that?

We did have plenty to do though when we felt like it.

Neighborhood softball games in the evening, just hating to see it get dark. We'd play double or triple work-up. Two or three players keep batting until one is put out. The out player moves out to right field and every one moves up a position until they get to bat. Do they still do that--I don't know. Our field was railroad property where Nordquist furniture (presently Outland Renewable Energy LLC) now stands.

Pick up football games in the yard. We never heard of a pro football player then so we just played. I recall one game in our yard. Wendell broke his nose, just flattened right out. Had it set and taped up for a long time.

The sidewalk hill by Moens was perfect for sliding, wagons or go-carts in the summer and sleds in the winter. Perfect hill when we were small. As we grew, we graduated to the tower hill, a good steep hill and a lot scarier.

We were forever building scooters or go-carts. Scooters were made by nailing old roller skates (clamp on type) to a board. Only one skate was needed. Skate would be separated, front and back and fastened. Then an upright piece would be added to board with a T handle. That was it, you had a scooter.

Anytime we could find four wheels though, we would build a go-cart. Always tried to figure out a steering wheel mechanism but usually ended up with a pivoting axle steered by ropes.

Perpetual motion go-cart? You bet. Someone had told us that if you put larger wheels on the back and smaller wheels in front it would be just like going down hill all the time, hence perpetual motion. Silly, no. Stop to think about it. It makes sense, it should work. We could never get it quite right!!

We always dreamed of somehow getting an old Maytag gas engine and having a power driven cart. I eventually did get one but could never get it to even "pop".

Exploring!! My brother John, living in California, said, "California has Disney Land, but Canby has the creek." We practically lived there in the summer. The creek was virtually in our back yard so we were there often. The best area, however, was across the tracks.No one lived anywhere near there. A few cows pastured here kept the weeds down. We knew every bend and crook and deep hole in the stream.

 Kids Play II

©Darold Snortum 2007

There were three distinct spring areas. Always a good cold drink trickling into the creek. Exploring and building small dams were part of the fun. We had to find many excuses for coming home with wet clothes and shoes. We were always trying to build a raft but usually ended up with wet feet. Never could find enough logs to do a good job but we had fun trying.

It was always exciting to stand close to the railroad track and watch the freight trains, steam locomotives, go by. It took a number of years before we dared to stand under the bridge while the train was going over.

I've got to admit that we were probably as hung up on radio shows after school as kids are on TV today.

One of the favorites was "Jack Armstrong, the All American Boy." The theme song was:

Wave the flag for Hudson High boys, Show them where we stand.

Ever shall we be faithful.

Known throughout the land. Rah, Rah. Boola boola, boola boola,

Boola boola, boola boo.

Jack was a high school athlete who was continually having exciting experiences of one kind or another.

Another favorite was "Chief Wolf Paw", an Indian story. You could become a member of the tribe by sending your name in. Then by sending in a few boxtops you could receive neat premiums. I still have a "Chief Wolf Paw" ring and small medallion. Once I was pushing someone on the swing at school. The ring hooked on the seat and cut into my finger, very painful. I had to have Grandpa Poulson cut the ring off with a tin snips.

If you belonged to the tribe you could greet other members with the secret Indian words. You would hold up two fingers with the right hand and say, "Ho wa ho sa wauka." The secret answer from another tribe member was to put one finger to the tip of the nose and say, "Bah ne oh ne ah." I don't remember what the words were supposed to mean.

A third program that I remember was "Captain Hawks Sky Patrol", an aviation story. I still have the pilots wings that Capt. Hawk sent me. I could have had the silver Flight Lieutenants Wings for 2 Post's Bran Flakes box tops, but I opted for the gold wings of a Flight Captain for 3 box tops.

I still have Capt. Hawks pilot's manual telling me how to fly, also a catalog of nice gifts that I can get for box tops. I recall sending for a 12 inch wing span, balsa wood model kit for Pan America Airways China Clipper. The catalog tells me that I sent in 13 Posts Bran Flakes for the kit, or I could have sent in 8 box tops and 10c in stamps. I recall the model as being fun to build and of good quality.

Kids Play III

©Darold Snortum 2007

As we got a little older, we would sprawl on the carpet by the radio and be intrigued by shows like " The Lux Radio Theatre, The FBI in Peace and War,Suspense, Edger Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Jack Benny, Fibber McGee and Molly" and many, many more. A good imagination easily took the place of video. I also remember listening to many boxing matches, especially Joe Lewis fights.

You still see premiums offered on products, cereal, candy, etc. Now, most premiums are available with a proof of purchase and a sum of money. Years ago, most promotions were free with a substantial number of box tops or candy wrappers. Sometimes there would be a short cut method with fewer box tops and a little cash. However, if you had patience and pestered your folks to buy the product (and willingly ate the product) you could get quality prizes.

Post cereals, Mars, Baby Ruth, Planters Peanuts were some of the prominent products. We always kept our eyes to the ground as we walked, looking for candy wrappers.

Another inexpensive way to have fun was to go through magazines and find free sample offers. Paste a coupon on a penny post card, mail it in and you would receive a sample in the mail. It didn't matter what it was, it was just fun to get something in the mail. We got everything. from laxatives to vitamins to tooth paste.

"Big Little Books" were the comic books of our day. Books about 4 by 4 inches and 2-2 1/2 inches thick, hard cover, with a good variety of stories. I loved them. They're collectors items today.

Going to a Saturday matinee Western and then going home and playing "Cowboy" was high on our list of fun things to do. "Captain, May I" was another game we played. Players lined up, the Captain would give instructions to individuals to advance so many steps forward. First one to finish line won. If you forgot to say, "Captain, May I," you were penalized.

"Aunty I Over" was another game we played. I doubt if it's spelled like that. Players were on opposite sides of a building. As you threw a ball over the roof you hollered "Aunty". If it didn't go over you hollered "Pigs Tail" If the ball came over the roof and you caught it, (honor system) you would run around the building, tag the thrower and win.

Swimming at the lake was high priority fun too. Another chapter goes into more detail on that.

Building model airplanes was a favorite pastime of mine. Non-flying model kits contained blocks of Balsa wood and directions to build rather well detailed models. Flying models were much more difficult. Printed Balsa sheets and narrow strips of Balsa were cut and put together much like the framework of a real airplane. The framework was covered with tissue paper, power was a rubber band driven propeller.

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