The Radiator Brush

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					                    State School
                                                                                                     Nonprofit Organization
                                                                                                       U.S. Postage Paid                 1886
                                                                                                                                                                    The     Radiator Brush
                                                                                                                                                                        1886 - 1945
                  Orphanage Museum                                                                       Permit No. 7
                                                                                                     Owatonna, MN 55060                                Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum ~ Summer 2007 Newsletter
                     540 West Hills Circle
                   Owatonna, Minnesota 55060

        Return Service Requested                                                                                                       Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum ~ Summer 2007 Newsletter

                                                                                                                                News on Campus                                        Mavis Gasner has published a collection of newspaper articles from the
                                                                                                                                                                                      State School era, many of which we include in our Newsletters. If you
                                                                                                                                Summer has fast approached. The flowers
                                                                                                                                                                                      are interested in a copy of the full collection, the price is $30.00 and is
                                                                                                                                are in full bloom on the West Hills campus
                                                                                                                                                                                      available at the State School Museum.
                                                                                                                                and Harvey and Maxine's State School tours
                                                                                                                                are in full swing.
                                                                                                                                Greg Thomas, Board member, is diligently
                                                                                                                                working with the City of Owatonna to
                                                                                                                                clean, restore, and prepare Cottage 11 for
                                                                                                                                future tours…a sometimes painstaking, but
                                                                                                                                rewarding process!
                                                                                                                                Nancy Vaillancourt, with the help of other
                                                                                                                                Board members, is working with the West
                                                                                                                                Hills Commission to have the entire campus
        Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum                                                                          listed as a Historic Site on the National
                                                                                                                                Register of Historic Places.
540 West Hills Circle, Owatonna, MN 55060 | phone: 507-444-4315 | e-mail: |
                                                                                                                                Board member Shelby Zempel has been
                                                                                                                                involved in the State School Museum
 Interested in purchasing The Children Remember or a board on the Memorial Boardwalk? How about buying an                       restoration efforts since 1994. A full-time
 "apple" for the Apple Giving Tree for C-11? Please fill in the form below. Your support is greatly appreciated!                working mother of two, Shelby volunteers as
 Name ____________________________________________ Phone ____________________________________                                   the museum's graphic designer; the newest
 Mailing Address ______________________________________________________________________________                                 project being the redesign of this newsletter.
                                                                                                                                 We are excited to announce the "naming"
                                                                                                                                                                                       A Step Back in Time…
 ___ Yes, I’d like to order a copy of The Children Remember documentary video at $29.95 plus $5.00 for shipping/handling.
                                                                                                                                of our State School Newsletter to "The
 ___ Yes, I’d like to order a copy of The Children Remember documentary DVD at $34.95 plus $5.00 for shipping/handling.
                                                                                                                                Radiator Brush." Each person from the                  State Schoolers Celebrate the
 ___ Yes, I’d like to purchase ___ board(s) at $35.00 each!
 ___ Yes, I’d like to make a tax-deductible donation of __________. (Please check one: ___Donation for C-11 ___Non-specified)
                                                                                                                                Orphanage era we visit with has his or her
                                                                                                                                own story, but amazingly, everyone seems to
                                                                                                                                                                                       Fourth of July
                                                                                                                                remember the radiator brush. We hope you
 If you wish to purchase a board, please print clearly the words you wish to have inscribed.
                                                                                                                                can appreciate the bittersweet reference it
 ___________________________________________________________________________________________                                                                                           Among all the festivities of the national holiday last Saturday, the
                                                                                                                                allows, just as the memories do.
 ___________________________________________________________________________________________                                                                                           children of the State School were not forgotten. The little folks were
                                                                                                                                Please set a special time aside this summer            taken to a grove near the bridge cross at Maple Creek on the way to
 Mail your check, along with this form to: MN State School Orphanage Museum, 540 West Hills Circle, Owatonna, MN                to visit (or re-visit) the Orphanage Museum            Mineral Springs, accompanied by their teachers. Lunch was spread
 55060. Checks should be written out to: MN State School Orphanage Museum.
                                                                                                                                and grounds so that we all may…Remember                under the trees and a very enjoyable day passed. In returning to the
                                                                                                                                the Children.                                          school, the children sang a chorus while passing up Cedar Street.
Important: To ensure receiving future Newsletters, please inform us of any address change.
                                                                                                                                540 West Hills Circle, Owatonna, MN 55060 | phone: 507-444-4315 | e-mail: |
                                   The      Radiator Brush                                                     1945                       1886
                                                                                                                                                                     The     Radiator Brush                                                    1945
                       Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum ~ Summer 2007 Newsletter                                                          Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum ~ Summer 2007 Newsletter

                                                                  amusements with supper served in picnic fashion on the         1950… [next era] State School Children                            would be awarded one of the Boerema Family Nursing
                                                                  campus.                                                        Enjoy Big Fourth                                                  Scholarships."

                                                                                                                                 Owatonna State School youngsters enjoyed a big Fourth             Betty was adopted from the State School in 1936 by a
                                                                  1899…                                                                                                                            Westbrook, Minnesota farm family. Her given name was
                                                                  The children had a very enjoyable Fourth this year,            of July celebration here beginning at 8:15 a.m. For an
                                                                                                                                 hour between 9 and 10 the students participated in the            Glenes Leppala, later changed to Betty Maricle…
                                                                  firecrackers being bounteously supplied to them. Emil
                                                                  Theimer, Jr., came up from the city in the afternoon and       100 yard dash, three legged race, sack race, 100 yard relay       Betty has never forgotten her "roots" in Owatonna and
                                                                  helped entertain the youngsters with a number of cannon        race, 50 yard dash, the traveling race for teams of boys          the State Public School. One of the preference, but not a
                                                                  crackers. Fireworks in the evening rounded out the day’s       and girls and a tug-of-war.                                       requirement, given in awarding the scholarships is being
                                                                  enjoyment.                                                     The BPOE Elks Band then played a concert and at 12:30             an adoptee.
                                                                                                                                 a picnic dinner was held for children, employees and
                                                                  1940…                                                          immediate families on the front lawn. A movie was shown
                                                                  Five hundred of the population of 600 children and staff       in the auditorium at 2:15 and ‘cheerios’ were an afternoon        Memorials & Donations—
                                                                  members of the Minnesota State Public School here held a
                                                                  novel Fourth of July celebration last Thursday. Its phases
                                                                                                                                 treat at 4 p.m. After supper a combination softball game
                                                                                                                                 was held preceded by a peanut scramble.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Thank you!
The State School selected a very pretty spot adjoining            included a gathering on the spacious lawn in the morning
the Cemetery, for a picnic on the Fourth. Very few of the         with an informal entertainment, a parade with floats                                                                             Memorial Given By:
children obliged to stay at home on account of sickness.
The children came over in wagons arranged with large
                                                                  and marching groups at 10:30, a tumbling exhibition            OHS Grad Meets                                                    Harvey & Maxine Ronglien
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Bernadine Butler
                                                                  following and a bountiful picnic dinner on the lawn at
racks, all wound with red, white and blue, and festooned          12:30. Games and contests took place in the afternoon          State Schooler                                                    Joe Shea Family
with flowers and evergreens. One young man six years              and ‘cheerios’ were served at four. Motion pictures were                                                                         JoAnn Larson
old fell off the bank into Maple Creek, but was promptly                                                                         Taken from the Owatonna People's Press, Friday, June 8,
                                                                  shown at 7:30.
rescued by Superintendent Merrill. Every effort was put                                                                          2007, edition
forth by the teachers to give the children a pleasant day.        The celebration was Owatonna’s biggest and third biggest       Eric Nollet, a 2006 graduate of Owatonna High School,
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Donations Since Last Newsletter:
Everything passed off smoothly and they returned at half          point of numbers attracted in the county. A number             who just completed his freshman year at Calvin College,           Ramona Orlowski                   Lou Johnson
past six in the evening to their village across the river.        of Owatonna folk attended and enjoyed the morning              recently met Betty Boerema, a former "State Schooler."            Harland Strohschein               Barry & Kathleen Long
                                                                  events and greater numbers would have been welcomed,                                                                             Mona Ketzeback                    Joyce Wittenhagen
1895…                                                             according to Supt. M.R. Vevle. Lack of publicity, however,     Calvin College is a Christian college with 4,200 students         Jerry Prondzinski                 Tiffany Thalacker
                                                                  prevented them from being advised of the event.                located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and is considered one          Mary Halbert                      Mary Anne Anfang
The children of the school enjoyed themselves on the 4th.
                                                                                                                                 of the top Christian colleges in the country.                     Jerry Robinson                    Fred Herr
They did not go to the woods as in former years but spent
the day picnicking. In the evening the children went to           1942…State School to Celebrate 4th of July                     The Boeremas, after a very unlikely meeting with Harvey           Perry Verkler                     Elizabeth Witt
the city to see the fireworks.                                    Program                                                        and Maxine Ronglien on their original visit to Owatonna,          Robert Voshell                    Helia Burshem
                                                                  Plans for the Fourth of July celebration at the State Public   have become one of the original supporters and patrons            Helen Hufendick                   Edward Peterson
1897…                                                             School were announced late last week by Mendus R.              of the State School museum. They have made seasonal               Wayne & Marlene Rognlin           Shirley Heinen
The glorious Fourth was celebrated in fitting style at the        Vevle, Superintendent. A picnic dinner will be served on       visits to Owatonna and the museum in recent years. In             Victor & Ruth Laskowske           Bev Miller
school Saturday. Firecrackers and lemonade and a special          the main lawn, weather permitting, and all employees and       fact, Betty's picture and original indenture contract is on       Rosemary Link                     Sonja Westre
dinner were the principle features. The dining room was           their families are invited to attend.                          display at the museum.                                            Kari Schreck                      Luann Hoffman
prettily decorated for the occasion with flags and bunting.                                                                                                                                        Vernon Johnson                    Jerry Robinson
                                                                  Program for the day: 9:30 to 10:30 Band concert,               It was in connection with the donation of two nursing             Eva Jensen                        Judy Steger
                                                                  Elks Band; 10:30 to 11:00 Speaker; 11:00 Program by            scholarships to Calvin that they learned that Calvin
1898…                                                             the children; 12:00 p.m. Picnic dinner served; 2:30
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Bonny & Judd Hollister            Daniel Hoffman Family
                                                                                                                                 presently had an OHS graduate attending. In contributing
The children celebrated the Fourth on the State                                                                                                                                                    Elmer Koedam                      Arland “Buzz” Wilson
                                                                  Games; 4:00 p.m. Cheerios on main lawn; 7:15 p.m.              the scholarships, Betty said, "It is my hope and dream
School grounds having their own fireworks and other               Movies shown.                                                                                                                    John & Betty Boerema              Don & Vivian Manthe
                                                                                                                                 that someday a graduate of OHS

540 West Hills Circle, Owatonna, MN 55060 | phone: 507-444-4315 | e-mail: |     540 West Hills Circle, Owatonna, MN 55060 | phone: 507-444-4315 | e-mail: |
                                  The     Radiator Brush                                                       1945                      1886
                                                                                                                                                                   The    Radiator Brush                                                      1945
                     Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum ~ Summer 2007 Newsletter                                                           Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum ~ Summer 2007 Newsletter

                                                                         West Hills Selected for                                CHAMPION for two years
                                                                                                                                in a row in the early 1940s.
                                                                         2007 Preservation Award                                Owatonna was known as “The
                                                                                                                                Butter Capitol of the World”
                                                                         “It is with great pride and pleasure that the Steele   during the State School era.
                                                                         County Historical Society has chosen the West
                                                                         Hills (former State School Orphanage site) to          So, if you have an opportunity
                                                                         receive the 2007 Historic Preservation Award for       to be in Owatonna August 14-
                                                                         Steele County. The Society’s Board recognizes the      19, 2007, COME TO THE
                                                                         long term efforts the Rongliens and the City have      FAIR! It is rated as the largest
                                                                         made to maintain the historic integrity of the         FREE COUNTY FAIR in
                                                                         West Hills, retaining the beautiful architectural      Minnesota – a miniature State
                                                                         feature, and also the creation of the State School     Fair. The Dairy display will be
                                                                         Orphanage Museum, which is truly a treasure for        located in the Muckle Museum
                                                                         everyone in Steele County.”                            Building.

                                                                         All of us involved with the restoration of West
                                                                         Hills here in Owatonna were most happy to receive      National
                                                                         this prestigious award. However we acknowledge
                                                                         that this recognition would in NO WAY BE               Register of                        Minnesota
                                                                         POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF
                                                                         SO MANY OF YOU who have contributed
                                                                                                                                Historic Places                    History Theatre
                                                                         financially, given artifacts, or provided words of     Since 1975, the former Main        We were honored this past
                                                                         encouragement. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR                   Building of the State School       Spring when the Minnesota
                                                                         YOUR SUPPORT!                                          has been listed on the National    History Theatre in St. Paul
                                                                                                                                Register. Working with the         invited us to place a historical
                                                                                                                                City, we are now in the process
                                                                         2007 Steele County                                     of hiring a consultant to assist
                                                                                                                                                                   display of the State School
                                                                                                                                                                   Orphanage in their main lobby
                                                                         Free Fair: August 14 – 19                              in preparing an application
                                                                                                                                for the entire campus to
                                                                                                                                                                   during their production of the
                                                                                                                                                                   “Orphan Train” musical. The
                                                                         One of the “fun” memories of many State                be listed on the National          production ran in March and
                                                                         Schoolers is spending a summer day at the Steele       Register as a “district.” The      April and was widely attended.
                                                                         County Free Fair. Newspaper accounts also tell         process is involved and high       We were also encouraged to
                                                                         us that in the 1930s, State School Tumblers were       standards are demanded by the      display our brochure. As a
                                                                         honored to give a demonstration of their tumbling      Minnesota Historical Society       result, many who viewed our
                                     All Girl Gymnasts in                skills at the fair.                                    and the National Park Service.     display have since visited the
                                     State School Event -                                                                       We will keep you informed of       Museum and grounds. We
                                     May 20, 1943                        In 2007, the State School is being remembered in       future developments.               continue to be amazed at how
                                                                         a very different way—for the important role the
                                                                                                                                                                   few people in Minnesota today
                                                                         State School farm played in Steele County’s Dairy
                                                                                                                                                                   know the State School existed.
                                                                         history. The School’s Holstein dairy herd was
                                                                                                                                                                   We were grateful for the
                                                                         always rated extremely high in the dairy circles.
                                                                                                                                                                   opportunity to showcase the
                                                                         “Star,” their prized bull, was the STATE FAIR
                                                                                                                                                                   State School at this event.

540 West Hills Circle, Owatonna, MN 55060 | phone: 507-444-4315 | e-mail: |    540 West Hills Circle, Owatonna, MN 55060 | phone: 507-444-4315 | e-mail: |
                                    The     Radiator Brush                                                    1945                       1886
                                                                                                                                                                   The      Radiator Brush                                                     1945
                       Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum ~ Summer 2007 Newsletter                                                         Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum ~ Summer 2007 Newsletter

News on Campus                                                    "State School Kids" Memorial                                                                                                    Funding
                                                                  Due to scratches and fading, the writings on the three                                                                          In our last issue, we wrote of the possible opportunity for
Museum Update                                                     granite pieces behind the Memorial had become difficult                                                                         individuals to "fund a room" to help with the expense
                                                                  to read. THANKS TO YOUR DONATIONS, we                                                                                           of the displays inside C-11. We would like to thank
In an effort to keep the Museum ever-changing, new
                                                                  were able to replace these writings IN BRONZE. These                                                                            those who showed an interest. We met as a Board and
Spring displays feature the nursery, gardens, greenhouse,
                                                                  writings give visitors an immediate glimpse of State                                                                            have agreed on an alternate idea. In Cottage 11, we will
zoo, and summer activities of the children. Of course, we
                                                                  School history upon arrival on the grounds. These                                                                               be displaying an “APPLE GIVING TREE” on a wall
always attempt to “show the children,” as that’s the real
                                                                  writings, now in bronze, should last indefinitely.                                                                              inside the building. Names of donors will be engraved on
story of the State School. If you have the opportunity,
stop and visit the Museum. Comments in the “Visitor’s                                                                                                                                             colored apples and displayed on the tree. Colors and size
Register” affirm your visit will be well worth your time.
                                                                  Latest State School Book:                                                                                                       of apples will be determined as follows.
                                                                  "Crackers and Milk"                                                                                                                  C-11 Donation Level….Color of Apple
Because of the continued growth of the overall State              Sarah Richards, the oldest of five children growing up in
School project, we are pleased to report we now have              the early 20th Century rural Midwest, struggles to hold                                                                                     $1,000 or more . . . . Red
Mavis Gasner, Museum Assistant, onboard to help with              her family together as she and her four siblings attempt to
the museum displays and our day-to-day needs. Mavis
                                                                                                                                                                                                                $500 - 999 . . . . . .Gold
                                                                  survive illness, abandonment, abuse, neglect, hunger, and
is the lady who recently produced “A Collection of                eventually being placed in the State School. In Crackers                                                                                      $250 - 499 . . . . . Green
Newspaper Items” and updated the “Cemetery Records                and Milk, Arlene Nelson retells her mother’s amazing                                                                                         $100 - 249. . . . . . Silver
Book.” In the future she would like to add a book of all          story of an unusually tarnished childhood, as her mother
the State School buildings. More details about this project       told her many years ago. Readers of all ages will not be                                                                        Names of donors giving less than $100 will be listed in a
will come in a future newsletter. We’re happy to have             able to put this book down, nor will they ever forget the     The building has been totally cleaned out, walls removed          framed wall hanging.
Mavis on our staff.                                               strength, determination, loyalty and resilience of this       that had been added, floors sanded, and three new                 The idea of the “Apple Giving Tree” ‘stems’ from the large
                                                                  extraordinary girl. To order, write Arlene Nelson, P.O. Box   furnaces and air-conditioning units installed. We are             apple orchard behind Cottage 11 on the State School
Cemetery Update                                                   914 Owatonna, MN 55060. Cost: MN Residents $17.20;            presently waiting for our architect’s blueprints so we            grounds—a positive reflection of State School history.
Late last Fall, the SPX Corporation and their employees           Out State $17.00.                                             understand any standards we need to abide by. And we
completed the installation of 151 NEW named crosses.                                                                            continue to gather artifacts for furnishing the building.         Your donations, whether specified or not, continue
To complete their “labor of love,” they have added a new          State Schooler Honored                                        We are specifically searching for 1930s furniture, wool           to allow us to tell the story of the orphanage, and
granite bench near the “Guardian Angel.” Visitors can             Marion Nikoley was placed in the State School                 braided rugs in good condition, single-sized metal beds,          are greatly appreciated. Please see the back page for
now sit inside to relax, meditate, and enjoy this beautiful       Orphanage in 1924. He was later adopted by an                 rug beaters, and old scrub brushes. Also, 1930s                   information on making a donation.
Children’s Cemetery. The entire project was funded by             Owatonna family and became a lifelong resident. Marion        boys’ clothing (including knickers and high-top
the SPX Corporation and the work completed by the                 was recently honored for being the live radio announcer       shoes), old white uniforms worn by the matrons,
employees. Again we can re-affirm…these 198 children              for St. John Lutheran Church, Owatonna, MN, FOR               and 1930s women’s clothing that Assistant
are not forgotten.                                                THE LAST 60 YEARS. Congratulations to Marion for              Matrons might have worn.
                                                                  his dedicated service to his church and the community.        If you have anything you feel might be
Four Outside Audio Tour Stations
                                                                                                                                appropriate, please write to the State School
We are pleased to report this project has proved to be            Word of Deceased                                              Orphanage Museum, 540 West Hills Circle,
very popular with visitors. In fact, the Museum Board             George Kukuczka                                               Owatonna, MN 55060, or phone Board
is contemplating adding two more stations. There is no            Joseph Churack                                                member Sandy Dinse at 507-451-7646.
charge for this tour and the stations are operable 24/7           John Churack
from early Spring to late Fall.                                   Mathilda (Thomas) Stangler                                    We hope by Fall we can give a better idea of
                                                                  Floyd Clark                                                   when the restoration might be completed.

540 West Hills Circle, Owatonna, MN 55060 | phone: 507-444-4315 | e-mail: |    540 West Hills Circle, Owatonna, MN 55060 | phone: 507-444-4315 | e-mail: |

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