Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Recently, it occurred to me, this blog heaped a great
deal of attention on athletics in Elk River.
Unfortunately, the attention focused on men’s sports, specifically
football and basketball. It is time to
shift the focus and give attention to women in sports in Sherburne County.
Elk River Women's team, 1921
As early as 1921, several schools in and around Elk River offered Women’s Basketball to the female students. Based upon the writing in the Elk River yearbook the women of Elk River presented a relatively new sport to the student body. The description of the Elk River team noted “inexperienced” players for the team. In addition, the yearbooks writers reported “a lack of a suitable place in which to practice.” In spite of these shortcomings, the Elk River team posted a 2 and 3 record, facing Anoka, Princeton, Buffalo, and Monticello.
The women of Elk River continued to build on their
experience. Women’s Basketball became a
regular part of the offering at the High School. By 1926, the team scheduled a 13-game season,
adding games against Big Lake, Osseo, and St. Francis, posting a 9 and 4
Elk River Women, 1926
With the coming economic depression in the 1930s, some schools dropped women’s sports. Elk River offered a replacement to this with intramural sports. The school promoted play in soccer, basketball, volleyball, and kittenball. Organized, league play, returned to Elk River in the 1950s.
Saturday, September 11, 2021
Football season is upon us. It seemed very appropriate to note the great history of Football in Sherburne County. Sherburne county athletes played organized games of football for 130 years. According to “A Century of Pride The History of Elk River Football,” the first game reported in the local news witnessed Elk River defeating a team from Monticello by a score of 29 to zero. Since then, Sherburne County presented a number of notable games. Here are two seasons of Elk River High School football players, 1914 and 1927. Note, 1927 saw a championship season, with the Elk River team recording a record of 5-1-1. Later, Big Lake and Becker presented outstanding teams. The Big Lake team from 1967 presented below.
|Elk River 1914|
|Elk River Championship Team 1927|
|Big Lake 1967|
Thursday, September 9, 2021
With the coming of the twentieth anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers, 9/11, it may be appropriate to take some time and think about the events of that day. Where were you when the towers were attacked? Let’s think about the 3,000 people killed that day, and the 6,000 injured. Remember, the attacks also hit the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and a fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania.
|This week, every memorial ought to serve as a |
reminder of what happened on 11 September 2001
Let’s take some time and think: Where were you when the towers were attacked?
Friday, September 3, 2021
A few weeks ago, we shared a few lines of letters from Pvt. George Bostrom to his sister. Bostrom, originally from Elk River, served in the American Expeditionary Force in France during World War One. Here is a second portion of a letter in 1918 sharing conditions in France in the last days of the war:
Well Sister, I’m in the lines again and have been for some time. I think we will move soon, possibly little further to the front because we are kind of in reserve here although we aren’t so very far from the front. Suits me alright tho because back here we would be an excellent target for the (Germans) if they had a mind to open up their big guns on us. There has been some of their medium sized shells come our way at different times. The other night they sent ove3r a few that made us wonder if they really had come with our names marked on them but I guess they must have misspelled them. I shouldn’t joke that way. It hurts me when I hear others talk that way but here I am writing it.
Well I will close for this time.
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
With the coming harvest season, I am reminded of the practices for preserving food during World War Two. In 1943, with the war going full blast, every family tried to raise food in their own “victory gardens.” The produce of these gardens seemed so abundant questions developed on how to best preserve the extra food. In Elk River a unique program developed to provide canning services to any family in need of the service.
In June 1943, the Elk River newspaper announced the high school acquired a canning unit capable of processing 500 quarts per day. With the aid of supervisors, anyone needing access to the canning unit might preserve any food grown in their victory gardens. The unit canned in glass or tin cans. If the family used tin cans, they would be charged two cents per can.
The only shortcoming of the program concerned vandalism of victory gardens. In July, the Village Marshall posted an ad in the Elk River newspapers. He knew of several vandals destroying victory gardens. He wanted to give them an opportunity to turn themselves in before he turned these cases over to the state for prosecution. The Marshall’s tactics apparently succeeded, as the vandalism stopped, and the Elk River canning unit preserved a bumper crop of garden produce.
The canning units in Elk River serve as another example of the attitude of complete cooperation during World War Two.
Saturday, August 14, 2021
The current weather conditions, drought, high heat, and lack or water reminds me of recent research into Sherburne County during the 1930s. A time of worse weather conditions permeated throughout the county.
In the years 1933 and 1934, the county suffered a
major drought. Farmers remembered the
time as a “dust bowl.” Some residents of
Sherburne County remember this time as an end to farming in some areas of the
county. “The light, worn out soils took
to the air and drifted like snow over the roads and onto front porches,” is the
way historian Herb Murphy described it.
Some folklore of the times described Orrock Township as the “poison ivy
capital of the world.” Other tall tales
suggested that “jack rabbits, when passing through Orrock Township, had to pack
a lunch because there was nothing to eat.”
Farming in Orrock Township after the difficult
weather of the 1930s. Notice the thick layer of
sand sitting above the darker soil.
A variety of conservation efforts restored the area of Orrock Township. Conservation groups planted trees and slowly brought back the land. The bulk of the township became the Sherburne Wildlife Refuge and the Sand Dunes State Forest. All of this resulting from the catastrophic drought conditions in the 1930s. Worse than the weather of 2021, yet events important to remember.