anoka county history

I got a call the other day from a friend in St. Louis. She had seen television reports about the awful flooding in Minnesota and was concerned about us. I assured her we were fine, but I couldn’t explain why. Why is most of Anoka County dry only a few hours after a heavy rain?

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Occasionally some new idea captures the fancy of the general public to such a degree that its popularity exceeds all reasonable expectations. Such was the case with rock gardens in the 1930s. The July 15, 1931 Anoka Union newspaper explains, “Never in the history of Anoka have people been so interested in rock gardens and flowers of all kinds as this summer of 1931.”

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Every year the Anoka Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution honors a Woman in American History. She may be living or dead; a DAR member or not, famous or, as is often the case, a woman who doesn’t make the headlines, but works quietly behind the scenes making a positive difference in the lives of others.

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Every year the Anoka Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution honors a Woman in American History. She may be living or dead; a DAR member or not, famous or, as is often the case, a woman who doesn’t make the headlines, but works quietly behind the scenes making a positive difference in the lives of others.

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One of the joys of writing this column for the Anoka County UnionHerald on behalf of the Anoka County Historical Society are the occasional calls I get from readers telling me they have a story of historical interest to share. One such call came from an Anoka resident, Ardy Hoogestraat, whose family had owned and lived in the Sandy Beach Hotel on Lake George. Before meeting with Ardy I consulted Roe Giddings Chase’s “little booklet” written in 1906 describing the cabins and resorts on that lake in Oak Grove.

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Probably the last remaining testament to St. Francis’s importance as a milling town was the starch factory located on the east bank of the Rum River and the south side of Bridge Street, where the Anoka County Highway Maintenance Building now stands. By the late thirties and early forties it was no longer in the business of converting potatoes into starch.

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“Slop the pigs.” That’s an old saying you don’t hear anymore. Right by the old sink there was always the old slop pail where the potato peelings and other kitchen scraps were tossed. Each day, after supper, someone had to take it out to the pig pen or chicken coop and toss it over the fence. Many folks who were into gardening would bury it between the rows in the garden. I suppose we could call that the original recycling.

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