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Wright County, Minnesota
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The first trains were run over the new road early in 1887 in South Haven. There was nothing there but the grain flathouse which was built before the railroad was in operation-the lumber being carted from clearwater.
In 1888 the village was platted. That same year, the first store was built by A. G. Lano and James Monitor. They carried a line of general merchandise. Later. Mr. Lano bought Mr. Monitor's interest. Mr. Lano was succeeded by William Quade. He was followed by Mr. A. Marquardt and Alex Kersten.
The first postmaster appointed was A. G. Lano. The building consisted of two stories-the second story being occupied by the Lano family. In 1891 the building and its contents were a total loss by fire. The family managed to escape through a second-story window. Mrs. Lano undertook to save her two children, Clara and Harry, but getting through the window, she dropped Harry inside and was obliged to jump with only Clara in her arms. The smoke and heat was bad, but Adolph Tessman succeeded in getting inside the window and groped about in the dark and found the child and carried him out. Harry was unconscious, being almost suffocated with the smoke, but he was revived. Mr. Lano rebuilt on the same location and also erected a home, later occupied by Edward Marquardt.
The second business was a General Store owned by Monitor and Perry. Then followed a saloon, hardware store and a meat market. The village was incorporated in 1902. The first officers were R.A. Marquardt, President and C.M.King, Recorder. F.G. Kersten, F.J.Haskell and John Maurer were Trustees. J.N.Backlun was Treasurer. J.G.T.Rudolph was the Assessor and J.N. Backlun was Constable.
On August 15, 1906 the First State Bank was established with Mr Bragg as cashier. The village grew, and the railroad station house was built along the Sioux Line.
In 1907, a cement sidewalk was laid on both sides of Oak Avenue, South Haven's main boulevard. The village hall was built in 1908. In 1910 a school was built of brick, conveniently and modernly arranged and equipped, steam-heated, and blessed with an abundance of natural light.
A disastrous fire on April 11, 1910 wiped out a large portion of the businesses. All business places including the saloon, bank, hotel, a confectionary store, meat market and ice house, as well as a barn were destroyed on the West side of Oak Avenue. The fire caused a full $ 40,000 in damages. Within two days, cleanup began and the carnage was replaced by a the new building of business places. The solid brick block facing east was built jointly by Marquardt, Alson Noyes, B. Blackmer and G. Strecker. Gust Werner and F.S. Holms built a brick building on Oak Avenue between Grant and Custer Streets.
A second fire took all of the business places on April 11, 1911 (those not burned in 1910)-the lumber yard, machine shed of the Central Lumber Company, store building owned by George Kites, and a stock of merchandise owned by A.T. and C.V. Forsberg was a total loss. The owners rebuilt a new lumber yard in a new location and surrounded it with a steel enclosure.
The village hall was pressed into service to accommodate some of the business concerns in 1911. The system was in operation in September.
A local newspaper, The Leader, was published by P. A. Neff, the first issue appearing in August the third of that year. The first printing order made by The Leader was that of the new telephone book.
South Haven installed a new electric plant, and residents were very proud of their electric lights. South Haven claims the distinction of being the first city in Minnesota, outside the large cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Rochester, to have a 24 hour electric power plant. (This history information is from the "South Haven Centennial" booklet)
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South Haven is a pretty little town along a major highway and is expected to grow in the next ten years (by 2012).
South Haven boasts one of the County's best-equipped volunteer Fire Departments.
South Haven's downtown area has historical sights related to it's railroad history. The hotel still stands near the Sioux Line Railroad. It's City Liquor Store and bar, as well as Mom's Cafe are local hangouts.
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