Village of Birchwood Celebrates 100 Years

Village of Birchwood Celebrates 100 Years

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the Village of Birchwood. In preparation for a centennial celebration in September, the WBLAHS has been gathering stories and images of Birchwood and its people. Several projects are in the works, including a series of interpretive signage for parks within the city that share the history of the property and the namesake for each.  

Currently underway is a study of the Birchwood Village Hall. The 1970s cedar siding was recently removed to reveal the original 1930s vertical pine siding that was designed in the Moderne style by architect Magnus Jemne. A task force appointed has been working to recommend next steps to the city council.

Jemne worked locally in the office of then Minnesota architect Cass Gilbert and eventually partnered with co-worker Thomas Holyoke for five years. He is best known for the design of the Women’s City Club completed in 1931 in St Paul, Minnesota. There are few other known examples of his work that remain. 

Watch for future updates on the future of the Birchwood Hall and upcoming programs and events to celebrate the centennial of Birchwood Village. 

White Bear’s Civil War Monument

White Bear’s Civil War Monument

Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was originally called, was celebrated on May 30th of each year for more than a century. In 1971 the observed holiday was officially set as the last Monday in May. The origins of the holiday on a national scale can be complex, but the residents of White Bear have traditionally commemorated the occasion in one way or another since the late nineteenth century.

In 1912 the White Bear Soldiers’ Monument Association was formed and petitioned the Village Council of White Bear to request permission to “locate and erect a soldiers’ monument in the parkway in Clark Avenue between First and Second Streets”. Contributions from the White Bear Chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic (G. A. R.), a veterans organization organized in 1885, and private citizens made the monument a reality.

Throughout 1912 and the first portion of 1913 there was much discussion on the where along Clark Avenue the monument should be positioned. The Soldiers’ Monument Association was required by the Village Council to enlist support for the project from a majority of the property owners along Clark Avenue. This was successfully completed with the notable exception of one property owner, Mr. T. L. Bourquin, who objected to the location and recommended the monument be erected in a public park. His concern was that “by placing a Soldier’s [sic] Monument in the center of the boulevard thereby, interfering with the view of the lake from the depot and giving the large traveling public an impression of a graveyard to gaze at while waiting for their respective trains.”

At the White Bear Village Council meeting on December 3, 1912, unanimous approval was granted to place the monument at Clark Avenue between First and Second Streets. The monument was erected at that location and dedicated on May 30, 1913. During the reconstruction of Clark Avenue in 2004 the monument was moved to its current position one hundred feet to the north of its original location thus allowing it to be more visible to the public.

1940 Veterans Memorial Flagpole Time Capsule

1940 Veterans Memorial Flagpole Time Capsule

On Thursday evening, June 21, 2018 the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society opened the contents of the time capsule from the base of the 1940 WPA Soldiers Memorial Flagpole at Railroad Park. The highly anticipated contents included the usual items – several issues of The White Bear Press, listings of members of local organizations – but the personal letter from W. A. Stickley, owner and publisher of The White Bear Press and leader of the campaign to have the flagpole built, was a treasure. The flagpole and its base are being restored through a partnership between the White Bear Lake Lion’s Club Foundation and the City of White Bear Lake. The project is expected to be completed this fall and will be rededicated on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2018.

Read the letter from Capt. W. A. Stickley.

Dedication of Flagpole November 11 1939

Dedication of the flagpole
November 11, 1939.

 

Warren A Stickley

Capt. Warren A. Stickley

The White Bear Lake Area Historical Society Offices & Resource Library will be closed Wednesday, January 4th, due to winter storm conditions. It is the policy of the WBLAHS to follow the closing decisions of the White Bear Lake Area Schools. Stay safe, everyone!