Stories of Dassel

When was the steel water tower built

By Jeanette Servin

Eureka!! After looking in all the wrong years for the year Dassel’s steel water tank was built, the date was finally found—the year was 1919. In the June 5, 1919, issue of The Dassel Dispatch, the following articles are found on the front page: (In Part)

“Will Build Steel Tank: The Village Council is advertising for bids for the construction of a steel water tank of 47,000 gallons capacity to replace the wooden tank now in use. New motors are also included in the specifications. The (wooden) tank is leaking badly, and the entire plant is in bad condition.” In another article entitled Notice to Contractors, it is stated (in part) the following:

“Sealed proposals will be received by the Village Council of the village of Dassel, Meeker County, Minnesota, until 7:30 p.m. on the 27th day of June, 1919, for the erection on a steel tank on the present steel tower and new pumping equipment…The work will consist of the erection of a new steel tank of approximately 47,000 gallons with steel riser pipes, two pump jacks and motors………Signed:

H. E. Swanson, Village President. Attest: John Clarquist, Clerk.

The actual work of installing the tank was begun in October of 1919.

Editors note: Jeanette noted that Roland Dille gave the DAHS a tip that led her to the sought after information. In a note to the History Center, he wrote, “There was some question of when the new water tower was built. In the article in the Dispatch about the burning of the Murphy store in October, 1919, the writer said that the fire department had a bad time fighting the fire because of the shortage of water, the old water tower having been torn down and the new one not yet up”


Jeanette Tomlinson, First Dassel Seed Corn Jubilee Queen, 1941

As the DAHS is preparing to plan and install a seed corn exhibit, a great photo has surfaced. It came to light that Jeanette (Skalberg) Tomlinson was the first Dassel Seed Corn Jubilee Queen  in late September of 1941.

Royalty for first Dassel Seed Corn Jubilee—1941. Marcia (Wreisner) Fredeen, Marian (Anderson) Haapala, Princesses Helen (Corkins) Berg, and Dorothy Swanson, Queen Jeanette, Princess Evelyn (Tormanen) Ramey, and Ruda (Carlson) Olson, and Mary (Peel) Rindahl. Jeanette remembers that the princesses dresses were shades of purple.

Jeanette remembers it was warm comfortable weather and the corn was ripening. The royalty rode on a float in the parade. Ken Anderson was her escort after the parade. “He was in the service at the time,” Jeanette remembers, “so he was in uniform and he helped me off the float.”

Dassel State Bank provided the dresses for the royalty, and Jeanette remembers that Mrs. Sam (Eva) Ilstrup went to Minneapolis to purchase them. “She asked us our size and came back with the dresses in the photo,” Tomlinson said.

The queen and princesses were chosen by a business promotion, Jeanette remembers.  Each business had tickets, and when customers would purchase something, they received tickets in accordance with the price of their purchase. With these tickets, they cast votes for the candidate of their choice.  And the girl with the most ticket votes was crowned queen.

According to articles in the September and October, 1941 issues of the Dassel Dispatch, the queen and attendants were announced between the halves of the Dassel High School and Minnehaha Academy of Minneapolis football game; the coronation was at a special program Saturday night on the big out-door state at the fair grounds [which were in Dassel.], There were 43 candidates before the first elimination after which there were 15. The celebration was said to be the greatest celebration Dassel has ever sponsored and included a program, “The Hybrid Seed Corn Industry in Review,” by the University of Minnesota Extension Divison. It was held at the Haapala Seed Co. building on the fair grounds. It also noted that “Corn was King” because it was vital to the prosperity and survival of Dassel.

The Dassel Seed Corn Jubilee in late September of 1941 was followed by Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7 of 1941. There was only one more Corn Jubilee — in 1942 — when Betty Bergquist was crowned queen.

Jeanette said that someone had made home movies of that first corn event and that she thought they had been shown at the high school some 20 years later. She would be interested in any information about those movies and so would the DAHS. If anyone has any information contact the DAHS, 320-275-3077.

Jeanette is pictured with the dress she wore as queen. She has her shoes also.


Dassel History Center & Ergot Museum

Carolyn Holje, Director
901 1st Street N.
P.O. Box D
Dassel, MN 55325
(320) 275-3077


Tuesday - Friday
10 am - 4pm

9 am - 1 pm