Anoka County History: The mystery, curiosity continues

In the previous few weeks, I’ve been writing about the Kline family history in Anoka.

Last time, I introduced the limestone house that Harry Kline built, a home that my wife and I would later purchase.

The home has been called “the rock on Rice,” “the fortress,” and, by some, “the stone castle.” Others even called it “the hospital.”

We married in 1949 and our first home was 318 Rice Street — just across the street from the Kline home at 317 Rice St.

One year later, on Nov. 1, 1950, we moved into our new home that we built on Bowers Drive in Ramsey—on the Mississippi River. We lived there for 10 years and raised six children.

Needless to say, that resulted in many trips to town for school activities, Boy Scouts, dancing school, athletics, and church .

This made us decide to move back to town. We started looking in town in the spring of 1959.

One day, my wife said maybe we could buy that big stone house across from where we first lived. I said it was not for sale and we probably could not afford it anyway.

She asked me to call Mrs. Kline, the widow of Harry Kline, and ask her about it.

During the next month she asked me almost every day — so I finally called.

Mrs. Kline said she was thinking about downsizing and looking for a smaller place. She also said to call again after we sold our place in Ramsey.

We sold in May of 1960, and moved in to a duplex we owned next to my Chrysler dealership on West Main.

I again called Mrs. Kline and told her we had sold. She said she would get busy and find a smaller place for herself.

She did just that and said that I could come alone to see if I wanted to show it to my wife.

It was very clean; however she was reluctant to show it because it had never decorated in the 30 years since it was built.

We set a date for me to see it and then called my wife—who was there in five minutes.

She loved it and saw what it needed and we bought it and moved in on May 1, 1961.

As soon as we bought it, the calls and requests started coming nonstop from friends and strangers asking when they could come and see it.

Several callers wanted to know if I would keep or sell the two Cord automobiles in the garage. I had to inform them that it was 1961 and the Cords were sold in 1946 — after Dr. Kline died.

Another interesting call came from a lady that lived two blocks away for the previous 30 years. She asked me when I intended to take down “all of that iron framework” that was going to become the clinic building.

Again, I had to tell her that it was 1961 and that all came down towards the end of World War II.

Another one I just cannot not forget was when a local grade school principal and two other ladies came to the door and said that they came to see the house.

My wife said we were not showing it. They pushed her out of the way and came in anyway.

Another caller wanted to know when I planned on knocking down the old, ugly building and building a new home there.

My former wife has decorated and furnished it beautifully and still lives in the one of a kind home.

I’m certain that Dr. and Mrs. Kline would be more than pleased that she has so beautifully finished the home’s interior.

Editor’s note: Tom Ward serves on the Anoka County Historical Society’s board of directors.

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