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Nashwauk Minnesota History

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Excerpted from

Nashwauk - From Timber to Taconite
The Story of Nashwauk Minnesota

Compiled by the 75th Anniversary Book Committee
Published 1978 by the Eastern Itascan, Nashwauk Minnesota


Independent School District No. 319

One of the first concerns of Nashwauk's earliest settlers was formal education. Independent School District No. 9 was organized in June of 1903. The beginnings, though modest in numbers, were ambitious in scope. As the numbers increased, the buildings were enlarged or left in favor of more adequate facilities. The school system grew steadily, rapidly adding a kindergarten, a library, a high school, manual training and domestic science, a music department, a night school and athletics. Nashwauk left its mark statewide in areas such as athletics (undefeated football teams 1926-1928 and 1952-54), agriculture (winning state competitions), music (first high school band not of the Twin Cities to attend the Minnesota State Fair, 1916).

Grade School, Nashwauk Minnesota, around 1928
Grade School, Nashwauk Minnesota, around 1928 Postcard and Postcard Image Collection

In 1962-63 Nashwauk and Keewatin were once again consolidated into one school district to share the burden of educating their citizens as they had been when it all began in 1903.

The Nashwauk school system sent many of its sons and daughters into the world well-prepared to pursue a wide variety of professions. Due to the many and varied activities and programs, the youngsters became well-rounded adults ready and eager to take their place in a growing, bustling and maturing society.

1903: Certificate of organization of Independent School District No. 9 issued in June. 3 teachers employed. School held in Nashwauk.
1907: Kindergarten established in Nashwauk — Josephine Hill as teacher.
1908: $100 voted for library. Librarian hired to work 3 hours each Friday at $15 per month.
1908: Nashwauk High School work established with 3 pupils.
1910: Manual training and domestic science instituted. 1915: School band formed with 42 pupils.
1916: Night school established to hold sessions 3 nights a week.
1923: Schools promoted to 4 year accredited high school list
1923-1947: Judd Gregor, Phy. Ed. instructor and coach — fondly  remembered by many of Nashwauk's young men.
1926-1928: Nashwauk undefeated football team — coached by Judd Gregor.
1947-1973: Angelo Taddie took over the reigns from J. Gregor as Athletic Director and coach.
1952-1954: Nashwauk football team undefeated. Held record for longest winning streak in the state at the time — 20 games in a row.
1962-1963: Nashwauk and Keewatin consolidate to form single district. Class of 1963 first to graduate from con­solidated district.
1975-1976: First AFS foreign exchange student, Miss Sissel Lie (Norway) attended Nashwauk High School.

Original school bell that was salvaged from the Nashwauk Grade School

This is the original school bell that was salvaged from the Nashwauk Grade School before it was demolished several years ago. The bell is now permanently set in a brick casing and stands in front of the Nashwauk-Keewatin High School. The billboard in the front is used to announce school activities.

Nashwauk Minnesota High School Mixed Chorus, 1936-1937
Nashwauk High School Mixed Chorus, 1936-1937

N-K High School Band — July 4, 1965
N-K High School Band — July 4, 1965



In my Sanctuary there is

Peace for tired minds

Rest for weary bodies

Compassion for suffering humanity Forgiveness for repentant sinners Communion for Saints

CHRIST — for all who seek him!

St. Cecilia's Catholic Church, Nashwauk Minnesota
St. Cecilia's Catholic Church

St. Cecilia's Catholic Church

Immigrants from Italy, Yugoslavia, Germany, France, Hungary and Poland brought the Catholic faith with them to Nashwauk after the turn of the century. Fathers Gamache, Zarilli, Kileen and Larrigan first came from Hibbing and Coleraine to offer Mass for the people in their homes and in the old school house north of town beginning in 1905.

Father Quillien became the first resident pastor in 1910. During the next year both men and women worked to build the first Catholic Church in the town of Nashwauk. Father Gamache came to live in Nashwauk in 1911 and a rectory was built for him in 1916. In 1936 the church was enlarged and remodeled under the direction of Father William Hennebry. The rectory was modernized in 1953.

In 1956 Mr. and Mrs. James Linsmayer donated the Hayes building to the parish and also a catechetical center in Cloverdale. About the same time the Men's Club raised funds to purchase the chimes which were installed and serviced by Joe Ewen.

Mrs. McCullough taught catechism classes. Catharine Ryan was the first organist when the church was built and after 1916 Mary Margaret Ewen played the organ for nearly half a century. In recent years Mrs. Herbert Specht directed the choir and played the organ. Pat Specht and Kathy Young are now the regular organists.

Frances Yetta and James Provinzino are some of the oldest living members of St. Cecilia's parish. There is also Silvio Brignolio, Frances Bolf, Glendora Metzer, and Julia Klayich Rokich. Several priests of the Duluth diocese are originally from St. Cecilia's parish: Fathers Francis Method, George Schroeder, George Zeck and Tom Radaich. The former Mary Elizabeth Ewen of Nashwauk is now Sister Ramona OSB at St. Scholastica's in Duluth.

Some of the better known priests assigned to St. Cecilia's were Fathers Austin Turbiaux (1922-1928), William Hennebry (1933-1945), Henry Spain (1945-1949), Thomas Durkin (1950-1960), John Dolsina (1960-1967), Thomas Stack (1968-1972), and Rudolph Pakiz, the present pastor.

Under Father Dolsina the old church, rectory and Hayes building were removed or demolished and in 1965 the new St. Cecilia's Church, rectory, classrooms and Linsmayer Hall were built and dedicated. The architect was McCann of Minneapolis and the builders were Hofmann & Sons of Crosby. The parish hall was named after James Linsmayer, an outstanding benefactor of the parish, who left a foundation for its perpetual care and maintenance.

On September 18 of 1960 the Golden Jubilee of the parish was celebrated with an outdoor Mass at the high school stadium.

In 1977 Father Rudolph Pakiz was made pastor of St. Kevin's in Pengilly, in addition to being pastor at St. Cecilia's, and three Franciscan Sisters from Little Falls moved into St. Kevin's rectory to assist with pastoral ministry work in both parishes. They are Sisters Mary Amy Schreiner, Bertha Gerads and Janet Kunkel.

In addition to religious services, the St. Cecilia's parish complex is now being used for release period classes, organization meetings, parish and community dinners and socials and indoor recreation for children. There are rooms for office work, counseling, and living quarters for the pastor, housekeeper and guests. As of the first of 1978 the plant was appraised at half a million dollars and the parish debt is down to S50,000.

Some organizations within the parish are the following:

The Catholic Ladies' Guild was organized in 1920 with officers Mrs. John Roger, Mrs. Herbert Laffitte and Mrs. John Ring. In 1923 it became the Altar Society and in 1924 Circles were organized with Mrs. Sheff, Mrs. Thomas, Mrs. Schullo and Mrs. Kolar in charge. Present officers of the Parish Council of Catholic Women or Altar Society are Sue Gangl, president; Betty Linder, vice-president; Mary Shields, secretary; and Louise Crema, treasurer.

In 1951, twenty-three members were received into the Third Order secular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel by Father Howard Rafferty of Chicago. First officers were Fred Montifeltro, Frances Maciej, Rose Williams and Katherine Tarro. Present officers are: Louise Crema, Hilda Denne and Maria Metzer.

Joseph Malley was the first president of the Men's Club which was started about 1932 and was active at the time the new church was built.

Old St. Cecilia's Church, Nashwauk Minnesota
Old St. Cecilia's Church

A Parish Council was organized in 1967. First officers of the council were Louis Stocco, president; Emil Schullo, vice-president; Pat Raskovich, secretary; and Albert Borelli, treasurer. Present officers of the Parish Council are Gary Brooks, president; Kenneth Young, vice-president; and Maria Kautto, secretary.

The greatest event in the history of the Catholic Church in Nashwauk actually took place in Rome. At the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) the bishops of the world promulgated documents which affected churches throughout the world. As a result, rituals for the sacraments were revised, English took the place of Latin, the church became viewed as "the people of God,"; the involvement of lay people in the church work was emphasized, there was a more tolerant or ecumenical approach toward other churches and many laws were modified or revoked. The effect was a period of change, insecurity and re-evaluation which is still being experienced by parishioners of St. Cecilia's. The Church will never be the same as it was in the first half of the 20th century when the village of Nashwauk was built by hardy immigrants and their children on the western end of the Iron Range.


Nashwauk Lutheran Church,Nashwauk Minnesota
Nashwauk Lutheran Church

Nashwauk Lutheran Church

Lutheran Church work began in Nashwauk on Sunday, April 19, 1925, with services at 8:00 p.m. in the old Finnish church on upper Third Street, with 51 worshippers in at­tendance. Reverend Harold Farseth of Our Savior's Lutheran Church of Hibbing conducted the service. Paul Johnson, choir director of Immanuel Lutheran Church of Hibbing, sang a solo and Martha Pearson (Mrs. Gunnar Schlander) was accompanist. Marcus Rostvold, infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Arndt Rostvold, was baptized.

Services were held every other Sunday for a year. Reverend Ebb of Immanuel Lutheran and Reverend Farseth took turns in ministering to the Nashwauk group. A quartet - Mrs. Charles Hagen, Mrs. Arndt Rostvold, Mrs. William Saccoman and Miss Alma Weggum, sang at most of the services.

In June 1926, J. Clifford Lysen, a student at Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, came to take charge for the next four months. Place of services was changed to the Village Hall, then to the Unique Theater. Reverend Lysen was ordained and became the first pastor.

Need for a place of worship became necessary, so in August of 1926 a committee composed of Ole Weggum, Harry Olson, John Turunen, George Lord, and Paul Tweed, was drafted to draw up a Constitution, and on April 8, 1927, church body was incorporated and the name Nashwauk Lutheran was chosen. The first officers were, A.L. Wigen, H.C. Wick, Paul Tweed, C.A. Forsberg, Russell Trythall, John Turunen, George Lord, Nels J. Nelson, Harry Olson, and Chester Larson.

In July, 1927, the lot on which the present church stands was bought and building began. Only the basement was built and served as the place of worship for several years. The first services were held on November 18, 1928.

Basement of Nashwauk Lutheran Church 1928
Basement of Nashwauk Lutheran Church 1928

In January, 1939, plans were made to build a super structure. It was completed, and on December 25, 1940, the first service was held. Dedication ceremonies took place on May 11, 1941.

With the growth of the congregation and Sunday School, it became evident that more space was needed. Plans for an educational unit were formulated and in 1958, the Louis Strange property was purchased to be used for church expansion. Building started in 1959, and was finished in 1960.

1962 saw a long hoped-for event for Nashwauk Lutheran. For years the congregation had hoped for a full-time worker the Lord. What would come out of it was that on June 17,1962, Luther Rostvold was ordained at a special service. He is now serving in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Pastors who have served the congregation are: J. Clifford Lysen, C.E. Nestande,C.J. Hanson, Sidney A. Rand, A.P. Nassen, R.E. Bay, Donald Ofsdahl, Ronald Seedorf, and Eldon Landvik, who is pastor at the present time. Others who have served as interim pastors are: Harold Farseth, H.T. Haagensen, Ingvold Hustvedt, and James Falk. David Steen served as student pastor in 1959 and 1960.

Nashwauk Lutheran celebrated its Fiftieth Anniversary in April of 1977. Many who have moved away came home to help make the celebration a big success.

Active organizations within the church are the Sunday School, Luther League, Campus Life, and the American Lutheran Church Women.

Present officers are: Claude Nelson, Charles Okeson, Fred Ranger, Ann Krouse, Yvonne Mattson, Lyle Warwas, Fred Toronto, Alden Judnitch, Robert Buescher, Florence Meuller, John Haynes, Herbert Rowe, Dick Freidenberg, Larry Lake, Richard Dal Canton, Lona Lokken, Susan Resch, Corrine Marsh, and Eleanore Willman.

One of the First Lutheran Confirmation Classes.
One of the First Lutheran Confirmation Classes. First Row, L. to R.: Frances Hagen, Arlene Lord Olga Johnson, Daisy Latvala, Eleanor Lofgren. Second row, L. to R. Ray Nurkka, Clarence Hagen, Rev. Lysen, Wilbur Mattila, John Berglund, Hans Nurkka. Third row, L. to R.: Ray Koski, Alice Dahl, Agnes Johnson, Hendrickson, Elmi Salonen, Eckstrom. Fourth row, L. to R.: Henry Johnson, Anna Johnson, Florence Sumi, Sigrid Skoog, Eleanor Mattila, Rachel Lappanen, Tuomala, Tauno Salonen. Fifth row, L. to R.: Lappanen, unidentified, Hendrickson, Mrs. Hagen, Alma Weggum, Emelia Forsberg, Eunice Koski, Melba Johnston

United Methodist Church, Nashwauk Minnesota
United Methodist Church

United Methodist Church

The organization of Nashwauk Methodist Church dates back to 1904. The first regularly conducted services were held in the old school house on the north side of Nashwauk. Services were held every Sunday afternoon with William Mudge, Superintendent of the LaRue Mine, conducting. Mr. Mudge left Nashwauk in 1906; Sunday School continued under the guidance of Mrs. John Hudson, Mrs. Richard Williams, and Miss Margaret Brown.

A Ladies Aid was organized under the leadership of Mrs. Charles West, with Mrs. Dodson as secretary.

In the fall of 1906 a supply pastor, Mr. Hawkes, was appointed to serve in Nashwauk. Those active at this time were Mr. and Mrs. T.R. Dodson, W.A. Gordon, John Ohles, Carl Lippincott, Archie McWilliams, Charles West, William Wivell, Dr. Shellman, Andrew Berglund, Henry Hogan and the Mmes. Margaret Brown, Edith Anderson, Ann Corserd, Elizabeth Mowatt, Mr. John Lanto, and J.C. Lewis.

In 1907 the Finnish Church was erected and the Methodist Congregation was given permission to use it for their services. Henry Hulme served as supply pastor at this time.

The first Methodist Church was built in 1909 on the corner of Fourth Street and was dedicated by district superintendent, Clemens, cousin of Mark Twain. The first choir consisted of Dr. and Mrs. Hewson, the Misses Laura Manlin, Beatrice Thomas, Georgia Brown, Eda Jansig, Millie Wivell, and Messrs. George Wivell, James Jensen, and John Bartle.

The next years saw a succession of ministers: Anthony Doods, Ernes Parish, Fredrick Smith, John L. Parish, E. Hunter, E. Ellis, V.G. Fellows, H. Bossaet, C.H. Muse, Otto Baab, B.A. Williams, W.H. Downing.

In 1928, while W.H. Downing was pastor the need for a new church was felt. The Finnish Church was bought by the Methodists and sold to Charles Latvia. They purchased the tots on Third Street and Pearson Avenue from Mr. Latvala where the present- church now stands. The building committee included Julius Kuntz, X.E. Luiten, Stanley Mahon, Guy Williams, C.J. Dicks, Dr. Weber, and Reverend Downing. The trustees were: X.E. Luiten, Stanley Mahon, J.P. Raattama, Julius Kuntz, Max Murray, J.E. Cannon, M.B. Rustan, Guy Williams, and Horace Dearth. The church building was dedicated October 14, 1928

Pastors serving Methodist Church since 1928 are: L.S. Sloan, K.O. Brudevold, George Galbraith, Allyn Hanson, Harold Symons, Reverend Prudham, C. Peterson, Floyd Cripps, Calvin Hill, Charles Hawn, Bruce Erikson, Richard Kuhn, Howard Amundson, John Newton, and Richard Vork who serves at the present time.

Nashwauk Methodist has produced one full time worker, Gordon Orde, who was ordained June 4, 1975. He now serves parishes at Wykoff and Fountain, Minnesota.

This year, 1978, is Nashwauk's anniversary of the church building. In 1979 the church will celebrate its diamond jubilee.

First Communion Class of 1911 at St. Cecilia's with Father Quillian. Those who have been identified include Lloyd Kolar, Peter Tarro, Rudolph Cloon, William Cloon, Anton Podominick, John Briske, Frank Plutt, Louis Bonovencini, Mary Pesevanto, Ellen Kennedy, Catherine Tarro, Celestine Tarro, Mary Mayerle, Kate Sterbenz, Poida Podominick, John Hughes, George Maurin.

Show me the way, not to fortune and fame, not how to win laurels or praise for my name — but show me the way to spread "The Great Story" that "Thine is The Kingdom and the Power and the Glory" - (Helen Steiner Rice).

Pictured above are the three pastors of Nashwauk's three churches: Left, Father Rudolph Pakiz, St. Cecilia's; Rev. Richard Vork, United Methodist; Rev. Eldon Landvik, Nashwauk Lutheran Church.


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