Crooked Creek

T102N, R4W

From, "The History of Houston County", Taylor Publishing, 1982 - Page 

The valley and Freeburg Village have had drastic changes since 1920.  The village was a prosperous community with a bank, a creamery, a shipping association with a stockyard, a railroad depot, a post office, two stores, two blacksmith shops, a barber shop, three taverns, and a flour and grist mill.

The first big change was the bank, it closed its doors in 1932.  The Silver Start Creamery, owned by the Carl Weir family, manufactured butter and ice cream until about 1935, when the plant burned to the ground.  Carson Michelson purchased the property, rebuilt it into a tavern, swimming pool and named it Little Miami.

When trucks became more numerous, there was less transportation of animals by railroad, and the Shipping Association succumbed in the middle 30s.

The stores, the east store, was operated by Henry Randolph, Noels, and Julis Hanke, and the west store, operated by John Grafs and others until early 60's, it finally closed.

The "Big Flood of '46" closed the postoffice, and the depot, of which John Graf was the agent, also the post master.

Edward Colsch operated the Freeburg Logging Co., at his farm home for several years.

Everett Neuman purchased the old east store property for a garage, and did repair and tune-ups.  The two blacksmith shops of Paul Noel and Tom Welsh, both were closed due to modern methods of repair shops.

The flour and grist mill was operated by Nick Rouster, who installed a 20 horse power Mogel single cylinder gasoline engine because the water wheel had been buried by floods.  He also established a saw mill, operated by the engine.  Later, Joe Graf operated the mill a few years, then dismantled the machinery, moved it to Caledonia, where it was known as Graf's Mill.

Otto Schroeder purchased the mill property, built a feed mill on a higher elevation, sold to Michelson, then Elmer and Melinda Kohlmeier purchased and operated it for a year.  By this time, the portable feed mills were more convenient for farmers.

The tavern in the bank building was opened by C. Michelson, and run by others until the 1970's.  C. Michelson established a cabinet shop in the building.

Little Miami was a beautiful place, with the flowing well furnishing water for the pool.  The swimming pool was closed after the 1946 flood, as it filled with mud.  There have been many operators, but Palma Utke and her daughter, Mary Beth operate it now.  It is one of the cleanest establishments in southern Minnesota.

The railroad was the lifeline of the valley while the passenger trains and freight trains went through.  When the automobiles increased, the passenger trains were removed.  The few passengers rode with the conductor in the caboose.  It cost 25 cents to ride from Freeburg to Caledonia.  The train would stop for you wherever you were, pick you up, and proceed on.  It was always a thrill to hear the whistle and bell.

Many valley folk became proud owners of cars, 1912, on to the teens and thirties, but others believed that horses were more dependable.

It has been interesting that Freeburg has felt the new house building boom during the years.

The 1982 Crooked Creek Township Officers are:  clerk, Edward L. Colsch, Sr. treasurer, Wilfred Pohlman, chairperson, Lloyd Lampert and supervisors, Marvin Wunnecka and Forest Sauer.

Submitted by Elmer Kohlmeier.


1860 Crooked Creek Census Index

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CHURCHES:             Peace United Church of Christ

St. Nicholas Church


Freeburg School        


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Map of Freeburg, MN
  • St. Nicholas Church Cemetery

Early Settlers - SURNAMES

  • Colsch
  • Graf
  • Hanke
  • Kohlmeier
  • Michelson
  • Neuman
  • Noel
  • Pohlman
  • Randolph
  • Rouster (Roster)
  • Sauer
  • Schroeder
  • Utke
  • Weir
  • Welsh
  • Wunnecke