A recent photograph published on the internet, generated a variety of questions regarding the location and history of Meadow Vale. We will make an effort to provide more details about life in the area known as Meadow Vale, possibly fill in some details about the community
Meadow Vale was originally a farming community located in the north west corner of Elk River township. For individuals looking at a map, consider section 6 of township 33, range 26, with some overlap into section 31, township 34, range 26.
|Meadow Vale Schoolhouse|
Perhaps the most common photograph associated with the community continues to be the image of District 28 schoolhouse (references vary, some research refers to the school as District 18). The school, along with the nearby church, served as the community centers for Meadow Vale. Still later, the local Grange Hall also acted as a community gathering place.
Memories of the community, written by Mildred Hill Felix, remember the borders of the unincorporated neighborhood. “Meadow Vale, in those days extended from the George Keasling place to the Antlett place, then west and south to the Taylor and Englebretson places. No more. Anyone coming from other communities were considered outsiders.”
The schoolhouse and church (Meadow Vale Union Church) were both built on the southwest area of the community. “About a quarter of a mile east of the school, a lovely little church was built on the south side of the road,” Ms. Felix remembered. “One summer evening during an electrical storm, lightning struck this church and it burned. Another church was then built on the opposite side of the road. This church was later sold and moved away.”
|Meadow Vale Union Church|
Several of the community events in Meadow Vale included a literary club and missionary society meeting. The Felix memoirs noted, the literary club “was just what the name implied—discussing of books, poems and other writings.” She went on to remember, the missionary society “met monthly and there was always a big dinner, and all the men attended this dinner. I’ve known there to be as many as 15 or 16 cakes, and many tried to taste them all.” The missionary society raised money during the meetings to support missionary work in Turkey.
Ms. Felix also remembered the origins of the Sherburne County Fair in Meadow Vale. “A Meadow Vale fair was started showing needle work, baked goods, garden crops, fruits, etc. People came from Elk River, Big Lake, Orrock, Zimmerman and around.” The Sherburne County Fair grew out of this Meadowvale fair and moved to Elk River.
In the years of its existence, Meadow Vale residents clearly maintained a busy community life. Between church and school, fairs and philosophical societies remained active. Even in this isolated area of Sherburne County.