Goodhue County, Minnesota


 ~ Cannon Falls City ~

Cannon Falls, now a city, has a historic past and a promising future, together with a prosperous present. Its early history is closely associated with that of Red Wing, the names of Sweney, Colvill, McGinnis and Freeborn being prominent in both places. The following article has been prepared with the assistance of John C. Applegate, editor of the Cannon Falls "Beacon," who has edited the early history and written the story of the modern growth and development of the city and its various interests.

In 1855 William Freeborn built a log cabin on the east bank of the Little Cannon River, near the falls, on mill block No. 3. This was the beginning of the present prosperous city of Cannon Falls. Richard Elton built the first store the same year, on block 36, and Eli Ellsworth, the first merchant, kept his goods in that building. The first physician was J. E. Tibbitts, the first lawyer was R. AY. Hamilton, and the first resident minister of the gospel was Rev. J. R. Barnes.

Where a portion of the city now stands, James McGinn is preempted lots 1, 2, 5 and 6, section 18, in November, 1854. March, 1855, Warren Hunt took a claim, northeast quarter of section 18, adjoining McGinnis on the east. The same spring Richard Freeborn, Jr., pre-empted lots 3 and 4, section 18, west of the McGinnis claim. In May, 1855, William Colvill pre-empted lots 7, 8 and 9, section 18, south of the McGinnis claim. Benjamin St. Clair took lots 7, 8 and 12, section 7, north of the McGinnis claim, the same spring. June, 1855, William P. Scofield preempted lots 9, 10 and 11, section 7, northwest from the McGinnis claim. The same month, Hugh Montgomery took the southeast quarter of section 18, east of the McGinnis claim. June 1855, Frank Clark entered lots 10 and 11, section IS, south of the Colvill claim. William B. Barton pre-empted the southeast quarter of section 7, northeast of the McGinnis claim in the fall of 1855.

The village proper was laid out August 27, 1855, by Richard and William Freeborn, on section 18, including a portion of the claims of McGinnis. Richard Freeborn and William Colvill. It was surveyed and platted by S. A. Hart, county surveyor. About October 16, 1856, the Cannon Falls city addition was platted. This included all the Hunt and Barton claims. The Cannon Falls central addition was made December 13, 1856, including a part of the Richard Freeborn claim. Point Lookout addition was made in the fall of 1856 and included a part of the Montgomery claim. Cannon Falls Company's addition was made May 18, 1858, and included a part of the William P. Scofield claim. St. Charles Terre Haute addition was made soon after, including a part of the St. Clair claim. Ellsworth and Tanner's addition followed immediately and included a part of the Scofield claim. The village was incorporated March 10, 1857. The first election was held the first Wednesday in May, 1857. The first officers elected under the charter were: Charles Parks, president; William Tanner, recorder; J. E. Chapman, Thomas Baker and George McKenzie, councilmen. Charles Parks built a log hotel, sixteen by twenty-four, in the fall of 1854, which was named the Falls House. This was sold in April, 1855, to Andrew Durand, who built an addition of the same dimensions and kept the house for three years.

The village of Cannon Falls was reincorporated as a city in February, 1905, with a population of 1,460. The present officers are: Mayor, F. B. Seager; aldermen, John Kilroy, O. H. Doebler, George V. Williams, E. J. Holmes and G. A. Widholm.

The water power furnished in such abundant measure by the falls in the river at this point, naturally attracted those who had money to invest in mills in the early days. The water power is still abundant, and has never been utilized to its full capacity. The great falls are on the main river a little west of the village, having in the distance of a few rods a perpendicular descent of about twenty feet. The falls on the Little Cannon, where the stone mill stands, are twenty-five feet. Another fall, just below the junction, is fifteen feet.

At this fall the first flouring mill in the township was built by R. C. Knox, in 1867, the exact location being block 51, in Cannon Falls city addition. It was a frame structure, forty-five by fifty, containing four run of stone. The entire building, when completed, cost $14,000, with a capacity of 100,000 bushels of wheat per annum. It was carried away by the flood of June. 1867, and during that same year was rebuilt by Mrs. Cornelia Grosvener. The re-erected building was fifty by sixty, four stories, and contained eight run of stone, five for wheat and three for middlings.

The Little Cannon mill is a stone structure, two stories above the basement, fifty by seventy, built in 1857. It was not used until 1861, when machinery for the manufacture of woolen goods was put in. It was operated as a woolen mill until 1875, when it was converted into a grist mill, with four rim of stone for wheat and two for feed. This was known for years as the Thompson mill. It is now the New Cannon Plansifter mill.

The Goodhue Mills are situated on the Big Cannon, about a half a mile above its junction with the Little Cannon. The dam gives a fall of fifteen feet and with an abundant supply of water at all seasons of the year. It is one of the finest water powers in the locality. The machinery is propelled by five water wheels, one American of ninety horsepower, and four Eclipse wheels of forty horsepower each. It has all the latest improvements and appliances in the way of machinery and fixtures for producing the finest quality of flour. It is a frame structure forty-five by sixty, four stories high. The mill was erected in 1872 by Gardner & Moore, and cost $22,000. Its water power cost $8,000 extra. The brands manufactured are the Climax, Mona, Telephone and Paragon. The company took first premium at the Centennial of 1876, at Philadelphia. The river is spanned by a steel arch bridge, the dam is twelve feet high, and a new one is now proposed.

From the earliest days the fraternal spirit in the village has been strong, and the various societies have contributed in no small degree to the educational and charitable as well as social progress of the community.

Oriental Lodge No. 31, A. F. and A. M., was organized June 26, 1860, and worked under a dispensation until October 24, 1860, at which time a charter was received. In 1861 the lodge purchased two lots on the north side of the Little Cannon River and fitted up a lodge room. The charter members were Joseph E. Chapman, John L. Armington, Stephen N. Carey, William H. Mosier, Samuel Finney and Ralph Tanner. The first officers were: John L. Armington, M. W.; Joseph E. Chapman, S. W.; Stephen N. Carey, J. W.; William H. Mosier, treasurer; Samuel Finney, tyler.

Alleghany Lodge, No. 33, I. O. O. F., was organized January 3, 1872, by M. E. Henderson. J. W. Newell, George McKenzie, J. W. Neff and E. L. Clark. At the time of organization there were thirteen initiations. The first officers were: M. E. Henderson, N. G.; J. W. Newell, V. G.: E. L. Clark, secretary; G. W. Neff, treasurer.

Valley Encampment, No. 11, was organized April 3, 1873, by M. E. Henderson, Lyman K. Ayrault, Warren Gilchrist, George Manning, G. W. Neff, E. L. Clark and L. White. At the first meeting there were five initiations. The first officers were: M. E. Henderson, C. P.; Lyman K. Ayrault, H. P.; George Manning, S. W.; Orrin Gilchrist, J. W.; E. L. Clark, scribe; G. W. Neff, treasurer.

Mutual Lodge, No. 40, A. O. U. W., was organized January 30, 1878. The charter members were S. Higman, G. A. Follet, G. H. Cross, H. Hanson, William Smith, H. H. Manning, Myron D. Gibbs, O. T. Jones, W. H. Scofield. C. E. Daniels, J. L. Scofield, E. Holden and A. L. Cawley.

Cannon Falls Lodge, No. 253, P. of H., had a number of members during the time of the popularity of the Grange.

Prairie Flower Lodge, No. 169, I. O. G. T., was organized in the interests of temperance, March 2. 1875, with fifteen charter members. The first officers were M. McKay, Ida Mallett, Adelia Stranahan and Hattie Copeland.

The Ben Socs Scandinavian Benevolent Society was organized August 9, 1872 with seventeen charter members. The officers were G. Westman, president; Haagen Thompson, vice president: L. Engberg, secretary; John Mattson, treasurer; John Danielson, C. G. Rydell and P. Flygare, trustees.

Other societies which have been organized in the city are McKinley Post, No. 92, G. A. R.; Cannon Camp, No. 1540, M. W. of A.; Zion Chapter, No. 6, O. E. S.; Crescent Camp, No. 950, R. N. A.; Cannon Falls Council, No. 82, Samaritans; Beneficent Degree, Samaritans; George McKinley Corps, No. 80, W. R. C, and Harmony Camp, No. 48, W. O. W.

The "taverns" of a village always have an important part in its progress, more especially in pioneer days. The two earliest hotels were the Falls House and the Exchange House.

The Falls House was built by Charles Parks in the fall of 1854. At that time it was a log house sixteen by twenty-four. The house was sold to Andras Durand in April, 1855, who at once built an addition as large as the original structure. In the fall of 1856 a building, thirty by forty, two stories, was erected. In the spring of 1858 it was sold to Edward J. Turner, who rented it to Benjamin Van Campen for ten years. Subsequent proprietors were Colonel Williams, Sole Slosson, John English and- others. September 18, 1871. D. L. Davis took charge of the property, he having purchased it sometime previous, September 19, 1866. In the fall of 1873 Mr. Davis sold it to Peter Gravlin, who kept the house until 1875, when Mr. Davis again came into possession. Air. Davis refitted the building, and in the spring of 1872 made an addition, fourteen by twenty-two feet. In 1890 this property came into the hands of Henry Thompson, who rebuilt the main part of stone and greatly improved it.

The Exchange House was built in the fall of 1866 by Peter Gravlin and Christopher Benway. Benway sold his share the following spring to Charles Brown, and the house was run by Gravlin and Brown as the "New England" house. They sold out to John Williams in 1874 and he in turn to Helstrum and Riddell. David Piatt bought it in June 1875, and gave it the name of Platt House.

The Cannon Falls "Beacon" is the outgrowth of the Cannon Falls "Gazette." The "Gazette" was started by R. M. Hamline in July, 1856. After fifteen months it was purchased by Mr. Hatch, who after a year sold it to the Hoag Bros. The Hoag Bros, changed the name to Cannon Falls "Bulletin." A year later the paper was removed to Northfield. Cannon Falls was without a paper until June, 1874, when Mr. Bromwick started the "Echo." This paper lived a year. August 4, 1876, John A. Leonard started the Cannon Falls "Beacon," and continued it until July 6, 1877, when he sold out to O. T. Jones and C. A. Cook. April 5, 1878. Mr. Jones purchased his partner's interests, and on May 27, 1878, sold a half interest to L. C. McKenney. In May, 1880, S. S. Lewis bought an interest with Jones, Mr. McKenney having retired. Mr. Lewis conducted the "Beacon" till the summer of 1901, when he sold it to Joe Brynildsen, who, in December, 1903, sold it to the present publisher, John C. Applegate. The "Beacon" is Republican in politics and occupies a prominent place in the state press.

Cannon Falls has probably never been more prosperous than at present. All of its industries are in operation and all labor employed at good wages, and the outlook for its continued prosperity is most nattering. Notwithstanding the many new houses built in the city of late years, there are no vacant houses, and one of the pressing needs is a number of dwelling houses at moderate rental. The city is replacing the old wood and iron bridge across the Big Cannon at Third Street with a new steel and concrete structure at a cost of $10,000.

The extension of the water system to residence streets has encouraged the home-making spirit, and a general tidying up and beautifying of home places has resulted. The si reels in resident portions have been narrowed and bordered by boulevards and grass plots. There are practically no wooden sidewalks in the city, they having been replaced by modern cement walks, while cement street crossings are replacing the old flagstone.

Cannon Falls Mini Directory

Frank A. Barlow
John Lynn

Five and ten cent store, Skog Bros., proprietors.

John J. Anderson, blacksmithing and machine shop.
W. A. Fans, blacksmithing and horse-shoeing and general repair work;
Roy Daniels, in Ritchie's old stand on Fourth street, is an up-to-date mechanic, and does good work in horse shoeing and general blacksmithing.

Canning industry
The Cannon Valley Canning Company, canners of sweet corn; president, E. B. Seager; secretary, S. Kraft; superintendent. F. A. Agnew; organized in the spring of 1901

Cannon Falls Co-operative cheese factory; George I. Valentine, president; does a flourishing business and its product ranks with the best in the state.

Regent Clothing House. John A. Ohnstad, proprietor, carries a full line of clothing and gentlemen's furnishings.

Wastedo Creamery Company; manager, F. S. Stone. This concern came to Cannon Falls from Wastedo two years ago and has built up a successful business.

Lewis L. Conley, D. D. S.
O. E. Doety, D. D. S

Dray line
City dray, Emil, proprietor.

Drug stores
Scofield Bros., James L. and F. W. Scofield. This is the oldest drug house in the county and has done a successful business in drugs, wall paper and jewelry, for forty-one years.
George V. Williams carries a full line of drugs, wall paper, jewelry and fancy articles, and is doing a good business.

Dry goods
The Cannon Falls Dry Goods Company; J. L. Erickson, president; F. C. Carlson, manager, is the largest store of its kind outside the county seat, handling a very large and complete line of dry goods, shoes and groceries.
Meger & Johns have done business in Cannon Falls for nearly twenty years and carry a large and well selected line of dry goods and clothing.
Harry Freeman, general dry goods and furnishings.

Electric service
Cannon Falls Electric Service Company, L. F. Blinco, superintendent, has a very complete and modern plant and gives first-class service.

Cannon Falls Farmers' Elevator Company; F. I. Hohnson, president; Nels Mattson, secretary; F. R. Anderson, manager, is a vigorous institution of great value to the local market.
Charles M. Most, grain elevators, Jonas W. Holmes, manager.

Wells Fargo Express Company, A. L. Clifford, agent.

Fur factory
C. O. Bye, proprietor of the old reliable tannery and fur factory, situated on the north side, is well equipped and does a prosperous business.

C. Danielson Furniture Company, Charles Danielson, manager, is an up to-date concern carrying a large stock and doing a large business. Has branches at Goodhue and Zumbrota.

Cannon Falls Dry Goods and City Grocery; Magnus Olson, proprietor; Frank A. Lundberg, manager.
Falck Brothers, Ole E. Falck and John E. Falck; established 1894.
Lundquist's Grocery and Feed Store, Charles O. Lundquist, proprietor.
Westman's Grocery, C. J. Westman, proprietor.
North Star Grocery; N. C. Olson, proprietor; Carl Olson, manager; established 1886.

H. A. Van Campen is the oldest dealer in implements and vehicles in the city, having been agent for the McCormick harvesting machinery for a third of a century.
O. P. Peters is another old dealer in this class of goods, having purchased the hardware business from D. E. Yale nearly twenty-five years ago.
Ritchie & Lee as a firm is comparatively new, though John Ritchie, of the firm, has been engaged in the implement and vehicle trade for a number of years.
J. H. Carlson Hardware Company, John H. Carlson, manager. This firm carries a complete line of hardware and house furnishings and is building up a large and paying business.

Hjalmar Olson succeeded to the business of J. A. Ekloff some years ago and has built up a prosperous business in this line.
Frank Schurch is one of the oldest dealers in harness and horse supplies in the county and is doing a prosperous business.

The Falls House, a commercial hotel, William C. Carroll, proprietor
Piatt House, Willis H. Piatt, proprietor.

Tanner & Seager Ice; also proprietors of the Cannon Falls Nursery.

Scofield Brothers, Caspar Walfahot, manager;
George V. Williams, John Seagren, manager; Albert Lagerstrom.

Emil J. Holmes, lands and city property.

Peter S. Aslakson
Charles P. Hall
Thor R. Johnson
Willis W. Woodruff
George E. Wilson

Riverside livery, Frank B. Lucking, proprietor;
City livery, Reisner & Schickling.

Ballard Trimble Lumber Company, F. R. Hall, manager;
North Star Lumber Company, E. E. Lee, manager.

Meat markets
Bremer Bros., George Bremer, Fred Bremer, established 1892.
Dibble Bros., Richard Dibble and Dan S. Dibble, established 1889.

Mrs. Carrie Tanner.
Mrs. Gertrude Ohnstad.

Goodhue mill, operated by the Cannon Valley Milling Company, a Minneapolis concern, James C. Boynton, local manager.
Cannon Falls Milling Company, T. L. Beiseter, president.
New Cannon Plansifter Mill, Paul AV. Rothe, manager. This is the old stone mill on the Little Cannon, for many years known as the Thompson mill. Mr. Rothe is very successful in its management.

Lars C. Lockrem

The "Beacon," John C. Applegate, proprietor; founded in 1876. The ''Beacon'' under its present management was the leader in the movement for railroad regulation in the state, and was recognized throughout the northwest as an authority on the railroad question. The result of this movement was radical reforms in transportation methods, and reductions in freight and passenger charges, saving millions every year to the business and farming interest of the state.
The "Ledger," a weekly, published by S. S. Lewis.

The Clifford Studio. Paul Engstrom, artist and manager.

A. T. Conley, M. D.
H. E. Conley, M. D.
Peter H. Cromer, M. D.
Martin L. Golberg, M. D.
A. P. Woodward.

Post office
Peter A. Peterson, postmaster; Ella M. Johnson, assistant postmaster; Hader F. Walander, clerk. Rural carriers: John A. Anderson, August M. Johnston, Oscar E. Olson, Harry F. Hine, John A. Lundberg, John A. Johnson, Alfred G. Swanson and Edwin Larson.

Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul, Frank P. Murphy, agent
Chicago Great Western. Charles B. Tompkins, agent.

Johnston & Lorenson, J. Sigfrid Johnson and J. Edwin Lorenson. Henry I. Kulker.

Andrew J. Hagg has been selling boots and shoes to the people of Cannon Falls and vicinity for thirty-two years, and success has rewarded his industry and honorable business methods.
Samuel Kraft, business established 1888; carries a very complete line of shoes and gentlemen's furnishing goods.

Sorghum mill
Carlson & Wohlander, located on west side, a new and modern mill.

Johnson & Swanson: John Johnson. .John Swanson. These two men have been in business together in this city for thirty-five years and enjoy a well-earned reputation for good workmanship.
Charles G. Wahlberg, a first class workman in Ids line.

Telephone exchange
Cannon Falls Telephone Company, established 1901. President, Charles L. Scofield; secretary. J. L. Scofield; treasurer, F. W. Scofield, who is also manager. Has northwestern long distance connection and a local and rural service of 1,200 subscribers.

Albert J. O'Hara, V. S.

Well drillers
Hartrey Bros., James Hartrey and Edward Hartrey.
Martin Holland

Public Schools. Board of education: C. W. Cress, president: P. S. Aslakson, secretary since 1890; P. N. Allen, treasurer; Dr. A. T. Conley. F. R. Johnson. S. K. Kraft. Faculty: S. M. Pinney, superintendent: Emma Williamson, principal of high school; Thomas S. Armstrong, science and manual training; Lucretia L. Lewis, assistant principal of high school; Agnes Swanson. eighth grade: Lillian Lindstrom, seventh grade; Jennie Season, sixth grade; Hattie Helmbrecht, fifth grade; Ida Anderson, fourth grade; Alice Richardson, third grade; Anna Helmbrecht, primary; Stella A. Reely, music and assistant in high school. Enrollment: High school, 87; grades, 284; total. 371. The school building is a handsome stone structure of modern build, well arranged, steam heated, well ventilated and equipped with library, laboratory and manual training department.

The Cannon Falls Commercial Club has been a moving force in the city since its organization some eight years ago. Its officers are: President, F. B. Seager; secretary, C. P. Hall.

The Citizens' State Bank, of Cannon Falls, was organized in 1878, as the First National Bank of Cannon Falls, the incorporators being L. S. Follett and Stephen Gardner, of Hastings. In 1881 the name was changed to Citizens' Bank of Cannon Falls, L. S. Follett, banker. In 1886 Mr. Follett sold the bank to Hiram A. Seriver. In 1893, C. W. Gress, of Northfield, purchased an interest with Mr. Seriver; and the firm became the Citizens' Bank of Cannon Falls, Seriver & Gress, bankers. In 1905 the business was incorporated as the Citizens' State Bank of Cannon Falls, Hiram A. Seriver, president; Cliff W. Gress, cashier. Present condition: Capital. $30,000; surplus, $30,000; deposits, $547,792; cash on hand $109,000.

The Farmers and Merchants National Bank, of Cannon Falls, was organized June, 1903. Its officers are: President, T. L. Baiseker; vice president, J. L. Erickson; second vice president, Henry Thompson; cashier, Edward Mattson; assistant cashier, M. N. Gergen; teller. F. O. Freeberg. Capital stock paid in, $25,000; surplus fund, $3,000; assets, $280,000.

  Goodhue County |Minnesota AHGP 

Source: History of Goodhue County Minnesota, Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge, H. C. Cooper Jr, & Company, Chicago, 1909.


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