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Photo of Maple Lake, Mn - 135 years ago! 
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Click the button below to see a full plat map of Maple Lake showing Maple Street - 1900

New “Old” photo of Maple Lake Village

By Sue Sylvester

On Thursday, April 4th, I found a photo waiting for me at the library.  Kobe Mendelson brought it in.  I was just blessed with the scrapbook by James J. Jude photos of Maple Lake in 1946.  This photo, I believe, is the oldest photo taken of Maple Lake Village.  I started on my journey of researching Maple Lake history in 1989.  For the last 15 years, I have collected every photo I can get from Maple Lakers.  However, this photo is the jackpot.  We now have a photo of Maple Ave. never seen before in our collection.  The date on the photo was written 1900, and Frederick Adickes possibly took the photo from Franklin Township.

Once I got a magnifying glass out and looked at the photo, I knew exactly what I was looking at. However, the date on the photo was wrong. I think the photo was taken before 1890. I spent a day going over all my town research and hope to identify what you are actually seeing in the photo and why this was taken before 1890. The following information is what I have discovered in my research.


I can speak with some certainty of what was on Easy Street or Maple Ave. right before 1890 because in the Buffalo Journal of 2/20/1890, an article described the fire that burned all these buildings to the ground except for the first building on the left.  The gap between the buildings saved that building.

1.  Block 3 Lot 7- O’Loughlin/Hamilton owned the first building on your left.  The name is at the top of the building.  On the side, you see the sign for John Deere Plow, and prominently displayed in front is the Post Office sign.  Martin O’Loughlin was the first postmaster at Maple Lake Village, and his term ran from 1887 to 1889. Then AA Jewett took over and moved the post office to his site.  I have ads that O’Loughlin, in 1888-1889, was now selling plows, wagons, and buggies at his building.  By 1900 he was into grain and insurance.

2.  Block 3 Lot 6—The next building was the Mansard House, a hotel built by Patrick and Mary Leahy. This was built in 1886, and it immediately had eight boarders. Locals would go and eat dinner at the Mansard House. It burned to the ground in 1890, but he rebuilt it and sold it to Al Phillips in 1899 to run a hardware store.

3. Block 3 Lot 5- The Welton Bros.   The last ad I could find for this store was in 11/6/1889.  They were a general merchandise store.  I believe the brothers were John and Michael Welton.  Only one reference after the 1890 fire was that Mike would soon have his new store building underway.  He has commenced the erection of a shed for lumber and lath.  Mike disappears to Clara City by 1895.  Whether they ever opened a store again is not known. I did see a property transaction between John Welton and Mary Leahy and it appears the Leahy’s bought the property in Block 3 Lot 5 as the transaction was recorded on 8-14-1890.  On the 1900 plat map, the hotel is on both lots 5 and 6.  John Welton took over his family farm in 1890 and probably was not running a store.

4.  Block 3 Lot 4—The next building was George Desmond’s Meat Market. The last mention I saw for the market was in December 1889. It stated Charles McKeig would start working with George. After the fire, there were some quick transfers of this property from Desmond to Welton to Leahy to Schultz to Madigan and then back to George Desmond in 1903. There is a building on this lot in the 1900 plat map, but I have no idea how it was used.

5.  Block 3 Lot 3- This building was owned by the Cunninghams, and they rented it out to C H Kohler, who was the local doctor in town.  He also had a drug store business in this building.  In 1889 he sold half of his interest to E A Taylor.  They  added confectionaries to their store.  Dr. Kohler leaves Maple Lake in 1891.  His drug business was sold to Mr. Strout who moved to the new Roehrenbach building across the street in December of 1891.  I don’t believe another business building was put on this lot after the fire.

6.  Block 3 Lots 1-2- J Roehrenbach bought his first two lots at the end of the block in 1877. In August of 1887 an ad stated his store will be opened soon.  It was a dry goods and grocery store.  It burned to the ground in February of 1890.  As of April 1890 an announcement that a new store was going up for general merchandise on this spot.   Mr. Roehrenbach will also built two new buildings directly across the street in 1891 for rental purposes.  Mr. Roehrenbach had terrible luck.  His second store on this site burned down in March of 1894 with all of his stock.  His two buildings across the street burned to the ground in January of 1895.  It even mentioned he was not insured on one of his buildings.  By 1895, he was moving his dwelling to a new location and the residence would be closer to the street.  The 1900 plat I think shows his residence.  The census record of 1895 lists his occupation as a day laborer.  I think his store days were done.


Prior to the Mendelson photo, the following is the only photo that the archives had of the west side of Maple Ave.  It was dated 1900.  The only building visible on the west side of Maple Ave. was the side of the O’Loughlin/Hamilton building.  The east side of Maple Ave. buildings were visible.  There is a marked difference in what the building looks like from the Mendelson photo.  Notice two prominent features, the sign Maple Lake Messenger and a sidewalk along the side of the building. I believe the Messenger was in this building because its original plant burned to the ground in 1899.  Hamilton did not rebuild and was busy trying to sell the Messenger paper.  The Buffalo Journal mentioned on May 9, 1900 that a 6th foot wide sidewalk was placed from the Messenger office to the Depot.  Notice the sidewalk in this photo which was missing in the other photo I have dated pre-1890.  Also compare the road conditions.  It looked like grass growing on Maple Ave and there were no continuous side walks in the pre-1890 photo.  Finally look at the plat map that was drawn in 1900.  There were only 3 buildings left on the west side of Maple Ave. Also notice the designation of the printing office.  On the 1900 plat map, I do not know what the building was used for on lot 4.  Roehrenbach had moved his dwelling away from the other buildings on block 3 on his lots 1 and 2.  I’ll bet fire had to be a motivation.


The photo brought in by Kobe Mendelson is much older than the 1900 date written on the back. I hope the pre-1890 date is accurate.  My guess would be 1887-1889.  The photographer’s name written on the back, Frederick Adickes from Franklin Township, makes sense.  I did some digging and discovered Frederick Adickes was married to Amelia Boerner.  Her brother Albert Boerner had lived in this area since 1875.  Albert married Augusta Stroshein in 1884 and his occupation was listed as a thresher.  Who knows, Fred and Amelia might have come to town for a visit with relatives. Maybe Fred took the opportunity to photograph the grand new street of businesses on Maple Ave.  This was right before Maple Lake was officially incorporated as a town. This Adickes family has quite an interesting story.  Frederick will eventually marry a number of other women and finally move to Maple Lake dying here in the 1930’s.  He could have been the one to take the photo.


I can’t tell you how important it is to do some digging and see if you also might have a rare find in your photo albums.  Every photo we receive helps us understand the history of our town and families.  You have just gotten a walk back into time with a much different view of Maple Ave.  Maple Ave. started as the main street in Maple Lake but fire took away that distinction.  This story was possible because of one photo shared with the library.  Please give the Maple Lake Library a call if you would like to preserve your family history or photos.  Library hours are Monday and Friday 12:00-6:00, Wednesday 3:00-6:00, and Saturday 10:00-1:00.  Phone 320-963-2009    Leave a name, telephone number and a message.  

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