North St. Paul Historical Society

North St. Paul Historical Society Promoting awareness of North St. Paul's history for residents and visitors through education, interpretation, presentation, and preservation.


#OTD 1923

Ernest Carl Doepner was born on January 15, 1923

Sergeant Ernest Doepner was North St. Paul’s first casualty of the Korean War. Doepner had been killed in action in September, 1950, when he selflessly risked his life to save a fellow serviceman who lay wounded. In February, 1951, Doepner was awarded the Bronze Star posthumously for heroism.

Born in Washington County, Minnesota. He was a truck farmer outside North St. Paul, and sold his produce at the farmers market in St. Paul. His family knew him as "Sonny."

Samuel J. Joy residence, Silver Lake 1912

Samuel J. Joy residence, Silver Lake 1912

H. E. Hegstrom, Superintendent of North St. Paul Schools 1930

H. E. Hegstrom, Superintendent of North St. Paul Schools 1930

The Old Library. 1937

The Old Library. 1937


Hey Polars, one and you remember any good school pranks?

For our January meeting, Bruce Fisher has called upon a group of young men who bravely STREAKED through the halls of the old North High in the 1970s. They will share their story on January 28th at 7:00pm at the Museum.

We would like to hear your memories. Did your class release chickens in the hallways? Paint the Canon? Move the bell? Soap the fountain? Please share those here and we will read the funny entries at the meeting.

OR...come join us and share your memories in person. Refreshments will be served. Our meetings with monthly speakers are free of charge and open to the public.

Mayor Bill Sandberg awarding 1996-1997 Miss North St. Paul.

Mayor Bill Sandberg awarding 1996-1997 Miss North St. Paul.

#OTD 1943

#OTD 1943

#OTD 1943

"In the semi-darkness of a cold wintry morning on Sunday, January 3, 1943, the Stahlmann family and their neighbor, Mrs. Sophie Quinn, drove from the Stahlmann home at First Avenue and First Street toward St. Peter’s Church to attend 8 a.m. Mass. Accompanying H.G. “George” Stahlmann and his wife Alvina were his sister Sabina and his half-sister Angela Nicolin, both of whom had come from California to enjoy holiday festivities with their relatives. Minutes after they left, all were dead.

Traveling north along Margaret Street, Stahlmann came up behind a car that had stopped at the Soo Line railroad tracks. Although a heavy snowfall obscured his vision, Stahlmann did not stop. Instead, he cut around the other car, knowing that trains never passed through North St. Paul at that time on Sundays. As he drove across the tracks, an unscheduled high-speed train carrying World War II troops struck Stahlmann’s car. The impact hurled the car to the side of the crossing strewing pieces of the vehicle for 200 feet along the tracks.

Harry Hale, his wife and their five children also were headed to St. Peter’s that morning and it was their car that was stopped at the crossing. According to the Courier’s report, Hale said that he had stopped just short of the tracks when his wife shrieked, “a train!” “That train came by me like a bullet,” Hale said. “There was a terrific crash. When the train had passed, the Stahlmann car, reduced to a heap of rubble, lay near the crossing…” Hale dashed to St. Peter’s where he summoned Father William O’Reilley, who was just getting ready to say Mass. Father O’Reilley at the scene administered the last rites to all of the victims and then returned to St. Peter’s to join in prayer with a stunned congregation.

From 1935 when George Stahlmann had purchased a half-interest in the Muller funeral home, until their death, the Stahlmanns had endeared themselves to many people in the community. The Courier on January 7, described Mrs. Alvina Stahlmann, a music teacher, as “a very sweet little lady… Each spring she held a recital and music lovers always complimented her on the poise and ability of her pupils.”

George Stahlmann had earned the respect and admiration of associates through his avid involvement in civic affairs. He had served in many capacities including: president of the Businessmen’s Association, member of the North St. Paul Club, member of the Public Utilities Commission, deputy sheriff, chief air raid warden, temporary chairman of the town’s Golden Jubilee committee, head of the Victory Aides, auxiliary fireman and policeman. The Courier’s article described George Stahlmann as a “friend” who was a “highly respected man to all who knew him… His genuine ability of leadership was recognized by all North St. Paul citizens and not once did he cause their belief in him to fail… He was a kind, warm-hearted gentleman, a hard-working North St. Paul villager, a good American citizen.” At first Stahlmann’s daughter, Betty, announced that she would run the mortuary business, but in February the business was sold to Gustaf Sandberg." - Excerpt from A Century of Good Living

1970s looking west

1970s looking west


The museum will be closed today due to the icy conditions.

7th Ave. and Margaret St. looking west.  Date unknown.

7th Ave. and Margaret St. looking west. Date unknown.


The museum will be closed today for staffing reasons. This provides us with an opportunity to remind our followers that we are always looking for new volunteers to help keep our museum up and running. Please message us for details if you are interested.

Happy Holidays!


#OTD 1922

One of the most heated controversies in town during the early 1930s focused on the new Public Utilities Commission that the village council created in December of 1930. The commission had been proposed as early as 1924, but many opposed it, believing that it was unnecessary to separate the water and light departments from other village functions. Others supported the new system which showed more clearly the operation and financial status of these utilities.

On December 22, 1930 H.E. Brandt chaired the first meeting. Other commissioners included J.E. Luger, Jr. and Thomas Murphy. At the meeting the commissioners discussed plans to completely reorganize plant and office operations. During the transitional period, the commissioners decided to retain the existing staff. The first staff members under the new system included: Mrs. Lydia Gould, secretary; Oscar Bergstrom, superintendent; Alton Danielson, lineman; and John Zurn, who had run the electric plant for many years, engineer.

From Oak Hill at night. 1975

From Oak Hill at night. 1975

7th ave looking east from what is referred to as Oak Hill, 1975

7th ave looking east from what is referred to as Oak Hill, 1975

North St. Paul Historical Society

North St. Paul Historical Society

This is worth re-sharing today.

This is worth re-sharing today.

#OTD 1963

Ground Breaking ceremonies for Christ Luthern Church on May 5, 1963. Located at 2475 17th Ave.


#OTD 1913

Missing for Three Weeks

On October 31, 1913 the Sentinel reported that in mid-October J.C. Effinger, assistant cashier of the First State Bank of North St. Paul, quietly had divulged to bank directors a “vague suspicion” that Arthur E. Nelson, principal stockholder and cashier, had skipped town. Upon further investigation the directors discovered that Nelson had resigned on September 29 at the request of the state superintendent of banks for “a suspicion of improprieties in his conduct of the business.” The bank directors, who previously had harbored doubts about Nelson’s credibility, sent Attorney Joseph Cowern, brother of Dr. Ernest Cowern, to North Dakota to investigate Nelson’s background.
When Cowern returned he informed the directors that he had discovered several false entries of mortgages on abstracts in North Dakota. Not only were legitimate entries missing from the official books in North Dakota, but also each allegedly authentic certificate contained a fictitious recorder’s name, and the embossed seals did not match the official seals. Cowern could not locate assets to substantiate Nelson’s claimed financial rating. At the request of the bank’s directors, state Attorney General L.A. Smith and a deputy state bank examiner came to North St. Paul on Tuesday morning, October 28, to inspect the bank’s books. They conferred behind the bank’s closed doors making arrangements to avoid a financial disaster, while anxious depositors waited. When they emerged, Smith announced that he was satisfied with the new arrangements which guaranteed the security of all accounts.
Grateful depositors learned that each of the bank’s directors had contributed cash from his personal savings in order to save the bank. John Herrick, John Luger, Andrew Lawson, John Schleck, Martin Luger, P.S. Wick and J.C. Effinger pooled their resources to collect $32,000 which they turned over to Kelsey Chase, state bank superintendent, to secure deposits. By Tuesday afternoon the bank had reopened and business continued as usual. The Sentinel recorded Attorney Joseph Cowern’s reaction to the affair: “I am very much impressed with the unusual action of the directors. I have acted as advisor for a number of banks, and it is very seldom that the directors arc as unselfish as these men have been.” Undoubtedly, the directors were interested primarily in avoiding a financial disaster that would be felt throughout the entire community. But, they also knew that they would pay the same amount even if the bank closed. The Minnesota state banking law contained a “double liability” clause which required each investor to contribute an amount equal to his original share to secure the bank’s debts.
Months later, Ramsey County District Judge W.J. Kelley assigned a judgement of $25,000 against Arthur Nelson who had disappeared permanently. The court also ordered Mrs. Nelson and another land holder to turn over their land in North St. Paul to the bank. The court permitted Mrs. Nelson to remain in her house, but placed a $700 lien against it. Eventually, the bank also recovered Nelson’s $2,500 bond from the bonding company.


#OTD 1928

John A. Bender, the town’s former mayor and well-known baseball player, died shortly before his forty-second birthday. On October 29, 1928, all businesses and factories closed. Almost 100 autos led the funeral procession from the John Luger house on Eighth Avenue to St. Peter’s where over 500 friends, relatives and business associates packed the church to pay their respects.
During his boyhood, Bender had been involved with many social and civic groups. He had played in the North St. Paul bands, helped found the Junior Pioneers, and in the summer he could be found on the old brick yard site playing his favorite game, baseball. Bender’s outstanding baseball skills were so well known that for a time he traveled throughout the midwest pitching games for many different teams. In 1910, he led the North St. Paul Thoens to their victorious state championship. Although the National Association of Baseball Leagues offered Bender a contract, he chose to remain in North St. Paul where he married his childhood sweetheart, Celia Luger.
Bender worked as an accountant for the Wick piano factory for 17 years. During that time he also served as village clerk and mayor. He was known as a progressive and honest administrator who oversaw many public utility improvements including the installation of the first sewer lines in town, extension of the water mains and the efficient operation of the electric service. In Bender’s obituary on November 2, the Courier said “In the opinion of Mr. Wick, he was a man, reliable in every way in whom he placed the most explicit trust and confidence and in fact, regarded as one of the firm.”
Perhaps the most poignant tribute to Johhn Bender was written by ed Shave, sports editor for the St. Paul Daily News:
There is always sorrow and grief when a friend passes over the Great divide, and that grief is intensified when a truly noble, lovable character leaves this earthly life.
Such a character was John A. “Chief” Bender of North St. Paul, who died Thursday after an illness of a few weeks.
The “Chief” was one of the most outstanding baseball characters in this section back between 1910 and 1916.
He was a pitcher and a good one, but aside from his athletic ability the “Chief” was one of those characters possessed of an exceptionally calm disposition. He stood out of his character, his well developed sportsmanship. The “Chief” never complained, he took his defeats, and there were not many, with stoic calmness. He did not alibi, he did not blame the umpires, in the intense moments which come in baseball games, when the rooters are prone to see the decision as they wish it, not as the arbiter sees it. In his calm manner the “chief” was one of the least agitated, it was he who aided in quelling the outbursts. He was an example for young men to follow, he stood for those cardinal principles which make for manliness, create character.
“Chief” Bender’s loss is felt not only in North St. Paul
But throughout the state.


#OTD 1889

On October 22, 1889, the St. Paul City Council voted unanimously to grant a franchise to Lane K. Stone and Walter S. Morton to construct the North St. Paul Railroad. North St. Paulites celebrated the vote which guaranteed them the much needed transportation link with St. Paul. Although the Wisconsin Central Railway operated a motor coach between the two towns, the service was not adequate. For months people had talked of the coming street railway which would enable them to travel more frequently to and from St. Paul at more desirable times. Most difficult were weekends when North St. Paulites wanted to attend performances at the Metropolitan Opera House in St. Paul, but could not do so easily because there was no return train to the suburb. By November 1, crews were out filling the swamp at White Bear Avenue and East Seventh Street, preparing to grade the roadbed for the line. Although winter interrupted construction, the line progressed rapidly. In April, 1890, the completed North St. Paul Railroad linked the town with St. Paul via the St. Paul City Railway, which by then was beginning to electrify its service.


Call For Volunteers!

We are one of the few remaining local history museums with regular hours, but we are finding ourselves short of volunteers to help keep those hours. Are you looking to help serve our community in a very simple way? We need people to work the front desk and greet visitors. Our current hours are Fridays from 1 - 4 p.m and Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Message us for details.

Thank you for your continued support!


#OTD 1922

North St. Paul’s Playhouse Deluxe

Automobiles jammed North St. Paul’s streets and over l,000 people thronged Seventh Avenue on the evening of October 3, 1922. The event which attracted people from near and far and had the town buzzing was the grand opening of the new Rialto Theater. While Frieda Michel, who represented the First State Bank, sold tickets in the lobby, Harry Lyon and his band entertained movie-goers with a concert outside the theater. By 7:30 over 500 tickets had been sold, and those who missed the first show either waited for the second show, or went home to return the following evening.

#OTD 1965North High standout, Don Arlich, was 22 years old when he broke into the big leagues on October 2, 1965, with t...

#OTD 1965

North High standout, Don Arlich, was 22 years old when he broke into the big leagues on October 2, 1965, with the Houston Astros.

To celebrate the Minnesota Twins entering post-season play, we have a new temporary display at the museum containing Twi...

To celebrate the Minnesota Twins entering post-season play, we have a new temporary display at the museum containing Twins memorabilia highlighting the contributions of North St. Paulites, Jerry Bell and Clyde Doepner.

Come say hello, see our display, and share your Twins memories. Regular hours are Friday from 1 - 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Also by appointment for special tours and groups.

Win Twins!


#OTD 1938

Theodore R. Lillie became owner and editor of the Courier on October 1, 1938 when he purchased the paper from Hans Grunau. An energetic and innovative newspaperman, Lillie introduced new features including a full page of national and international news photos.


#OTD 1887

When North St. Paul first formed, The Sentinel newspaper promoted community spirit by offering a year’s free subscription to the first baby born in town. The newspaper awarded the subscription on September 28, 1887 to the father, Ole Evans, who named his child Severt “Sentinel” Evans in honor of the paper.

Yes, really.

Wisconsin Central depot 1912

Wisconsin Central depot 1912


#OTD 1926

Over 200 property owners packed the Rialto theater on the evening of September 23, 1926 to view an educational film, “The Romance of Clay,” and to discuss the proposed sanitary sewer system for the village. The high attendance demonstrated everyone's concern for resolving the town’s sanitation problem. Also, many who attended the meeting were there because of Mayor John Bender. Bender, always a sports-minded individual, had delayed the meeting until everyone had finished listening to the radio. This was the same night that Gene Tunney had won the heavyweight boxing championship from Jack Dempsey.
After Bender called the meeting to order, everyone watched the film which depicted the manufacture of sewer pipes and the advantages of new sewer disposal systems. Engineer Milinowski, a consultant from the firm of Druar and Milinowski, then led a discussion of his firm’s report.
The report outlined the plans, design, materials, costs and location of sewer lines and a disposal plant for North St. Paul. Some people questioned the possibility of connecting with St. Paul, but the consulting firm felt that this would be too costly and not necessary. Others who were concerned about past problems with the water supply asked whether it would be sufficient for the new system. Bender assured everyone that “the water supply is far greater than the needs even if the town grew larger.” Bender also pointed out this would be a sanitary sewer only. Storm sewers could be installed separately and were not needed at the time.


2666 7th Ave E
North Saint Paul, MN

Opening Hours

Friday 13:00 - 16:00
Saturday 10:00 - 13:00


(651) 779-6402


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About Us

The North St. Paul Historical Society works to promote an awareness of North St. Paul history for residents and visitors through education, interpretation, presentation, and preservation. The Museum is a nonprofit organization whose goal is collection, preservation, and exhibition of historical artifacts of local North St. Paul significance.

The Historical Society's hosts monthly gathering, featuring guest speakers on the fourth Tuesday of the month starting at 7:00 p.m. Monthly gatherings do not take place in November, December and during the summer months.

Museum Hours

Friday 1 - 4 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Also by appointment for special tours and groups.

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who remembers 'Kiddy Korner'?
My Grandmother’s Lois Temme Prom dresses from North High. Including dance cards. One is dated 1936.
Does anyone have a picture of the house where John Glenn school is now located on County Road B. This was my grandfathers home. HIs name was Joseph Kopp.. He had 7 children... Thanks. June Kopp Jennings.
My Grandparents Ken Andersen and Lois Temme. Attending North High Prom. Not sure on the year. Guessing 1935/1936ish. I have two of here dresses and dance cards.
This is my Grandma, Lois Temme. She was in the North High band. No idea what year this is. She was born in 1918 so I’m guessing 1934/1935ish.
Do you have any photos of Harmony Elementary with the original building still intact?
North St. Paul Main Street, circa 1912. Note Neumann’s Bar;
Anyone have pictures of Viking DriveIn or King Hi?
My dad and I on our bikes at Silver Lake Beach in No. St. Paul, early 1970's. 😎