Thursday, November 16, 2017

November 16, 2017 West Douglas County Record

Open House Brandon Auditorium November 15, 2017

Thank you to everyone who attended the Open House at the Brandon Auditorium or helped us in any way. It was a huge success.  Special thanks go to Bob Piotrowski for his wonderful music and the Beautiful and Talented Johari Tribe Dancers.  The entertainment was enjoyed by all. 

 Everyone got enough to eat.

This dance looked a little bit dangerous. 

 Music by Bob Piotrowski was enjoyed by all.

 There was a great crowd. 

 The Beautiful and Talented Johari Tribe Dancers supplied great entertainment.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Historic Brandon Auditorium

This unique building was constructed in our hometown as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) Project during the Great Depression and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.  Folks from all over the country stop and ask for a tour of this unusual structure.  They want to know about its construction and the history that goes with it.  They marvel at the wood carvings that were created especially for this building, there are no others like it anywhere.  The huge mural is also a one of a kind work of art.  Its artist has other work displayed in the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Philadelphia.  Many community members and even some of our relatives, gave their field rocks, time and sweat working on its construction.  If only the walls could talk about everything they have seen in the past 80 years.  For 21 years all of the Brandon High School graduations were held in this place.  Can you even believe that the Silver Streak Basketball Team played the Harlem Globetrotters here?  Through the years, young people of all ages came from miles around to dance, watch movies and roller skate.  Sixteen big name bands held dances inside these walls on a regular basis.  We can all personally remember the wonderful events that we have attended here.  We can all be very proud to have this well used treasure in our town.  It is up to each of us to try to help preserve this special building in any way that we can so that many others may also enjoy it in the future.

  Brandon History Center

If you would like to share any of your memories about this, 

please  send an e-mail message to

We would love to hear from you !

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Brandon Auditorium Kitchen Countdown

The Brandon Auditorium Kitchen Countdown is on.   Do you think that it will be finished in time for the November 15th Open House?  Keep your fingers crossed.  What is your bet?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Beautiful Shoes at the Silent Auction

Come and browse through the beautiful new shoes at the Silent Auction.  More baskets for the Silent Auction would be welcome and appreciated.  You can give Marcia a call at 320-524-2174 or they can be dropped off at

 The Brandon City Office. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Cast Iron Sink at Silent Auction

Please join the Brandon History Center on Wednesday November 15th from 5 - 7 PM at the Brandon Auditorium to see the newly remodeled kitchen.  There will be Hot Dogs/BBQ's, chips and Bars. (Free Will Offering) and a cash wine/beer bar.   Entertainment will be provided by The Johari Tribe Dancers and Music by Bob Piotrowski.  There will be  silent auction  items to help offset the costs to repair the auditorium walls.  One of the silent auction items will be a historical piece of the auditorium.  This original cast iron sink from the old kitchen will be on the auction...starting bid $500.00  Please join us for a night of food and fun. 

If you would like to include a silent auction item for this sale, please contact Marcia Bolin at 320-524-2174.  This is a great cause to get involved in. Everyone's help is much appreciated. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Come to the Brandon Auditorium November 15th 5 - 7 PM

Support our local gathering place.  We all have great memories of events that we have attended in this local historic building.  Together let's try to keep the Brandon Auditorium in good repair for everyone to enjoy. 

Elsie Lorsung Kapphahn 1904 - 1970

Elsie was the daughter of Joseph and Mary Butula Lorsung.  She had a sister Florence Lorsung McClintock and two brothers, Walter and James.  As a small child she was sitting on a stool and her mom was helping her to tie her shoes.  Elsie fell backwards off the stool and broke her back.  This was a problem for Elsie the rest of her life.  Elsie spent most of her adult life as a telephone operator in Brandon.

Elsie was a beautiful young woman. She always loved wearing hats. She has a serious look on her face in this professional photo, but in real life she had a smile on her face at all times.  Photo courtesy Mary and Mark Cariveau - Ann and Nick Combs.  Recently Mary and Ann, who are great-grandaughters Jacob Tamble, came to visit the Brandon History Center. Jacob Tamble was one of the earliest residents of Brandon.  

This is the Central Office where Elsie worked for many years.  She started here in the late 1920s.  She retired from Gardonville Telphone Company in 1968.  The gal standing is Hildegard Stariha Loeffler.  The sitting gal is Gertrude Stariha Loeffler.  The gentleman is Carl Bolin.  Photo courtesy of Austin Loeffler.

Elsie  Kapphahn and Hazel Meyers working at the new Gardonville Telephone Office on Central Avenue, Brandon MN early 1950s.  Photo courtesy Florence McClintock

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Brandon Forum Oct. 15, 1914

Recently two great-granddaughters were able to sort through things that Great-grandma had been saving.  They shared pictures and newspapers with the Brandon History Center.  Over time we will try to share some of this history with you.  You can always send messages to us by going to our e-mail address.

Newspaper courtesy of Mary and  Mark Cariveau  --    Ann and Nick Combs

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Going to "read for the minister" 1929 - 1930

Clifford Strom, at age 13, began to read for his minister in preparation for Confirmation.  Once each week Cliff drove Blanch, pulling a jogging cart, three miles to class.  His cart had wheels in the summer and skis in the winter.  Pastor John A. Peterson was the minister at Chippewa Church, who helped Cliff prepare.   Cliff was confirmed in the spring of 1930 at age 14. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Thursday, September 7, 2017

St. Paul and Pacific Railroad reached Brandon MN in 1879

Penny Miller My great grandfather, Joseph Hopfner, Sr, walked from his farm in Millerville Township to work on the railroad being built through Brandon. He did this to earn money for a yoke of oxen.

Horses were used to help lay the railroad tracks.

Railroad track timbers, horses and laborers can be seen in this photo.

Old time steam engine with the train crew.

Coal burning freight train.

St. Paul and Pacific Steam Engine

The St. Paul and Pacific Railroad reached Alexandria in the fall of 1878 , where it paused on its journey westward until the spring of 1879. These were exciting times for folks in Douglas County. Their lives would be changed forever because of the railroad and everyone knew it. In 1879 the train reached what today is Garfield, Brandon and Evansville, and by year's end stretched all the way to a point just east of the Red River Valley at Fergus Falls, where it linked up with another line to complete the railroad to Manitoba, Canada. Perhaps the greatest impact the coming of the railroad had upon a single community in Douglas County was in the Township of Chippewa, where the small village of Brandon had been platted 10 years earlier at the juncture of Sections 4. 5, 8 and 9. The new village included Chippewa Station. In August 1879 the railroad engineers selected Section 21 as the site of the railroad station or depot in the area, 2 1/2 miles to the south. Because the center of trade in the township would shift to the vicinity of the railroad depot, the original village of Brandon was abandoned or moved "lock, stock,and barrel" to the railroad, where the City of Brandon stands today.
These are notes by Bud Greenquist

All photos are from MNOPEDIA