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Annandale Brick and Tile Company  

1888:  The Coming of the Railroads and Early Years by Aldon Chermak (2011 Annandale History Club presentation): “About one and one-half miles east of Annandale, a spur was constructed to serve a brickyard (Boudel & Holliday, proprietors) which was in operation until at least 1888.”  An industrial spur is a type of secondary track or siding used by railroads to allow customers at a location to load and unload railcars.

1894:  Frederick Zimmerman made bricks in Annandale circa 1894-1918.  The factory was one and one-half miles east of Annandale.  Annandale was Zimmerman’s third brick factory.  The first was near Howard Lake, and the second was on the North Fork of the Crow River near Boam’s bridge, Section 10,  Middleville Township (1888).  Zimmerman lived in Middleville Township in 1876, in Albion Township in 1880 and in Waverly in 1885 (census records).

Zimmerman started a brickyard in Annandale at the former Boudel & Holliday brickyard site.  The brickyard was in Section 33, Corinna Township, on the south side of the railroad tracks across from the future Lakedale Telephone building, now MP Technologies.  Lakedale was incorporated in 1946 and the Lakedale telephone company building was on Highway 55 from 1982 to 2008 when it was sold. 

Wikipedia: “Usually a brick factory is located on a clay bedrock, the most common material from which bricks are made.  A brickyard includes a kiln for firing bricks, a drying yard or shed for drying bricks before firing, a building for manufacturing bricks, a pugmill or clay preparation plant, and a quarry for clay.”  The manufacturing of brick required hard work and a great amount of skill.   

1894: Wright County Plat Map:  C.J.F. Zimmerman owned 40 acres, plus a 2.12 acre triangle, in Section 33, Corinna Township.  The 1901 Corinna Township map shows a wagon road and the Sault St. Marie Railway (Soo Line) passing through his land.

1895:  Minnesota Census:  C.J.F. Zimmerman, brick maker, Corinna Township.

1899:  Clay Record Publishing Company:  February 27, 1899:  Fred Zimmerman of Annandale, Minn., expects to purchase a brick and tile machine.

1900:  The 1900 census lists Fred Zimmerman and his two sons, Edward and Charles, as brick makers.

1901: Wright County Plat Map:  C.J.F. Zimmerman owned 80 acres in Section 33. Corinna Township.  The two 40s were not contiguous.  40 acres were in the northwest corner of the Section 33 on the south side of the railroad tracks, and 40 acres were on the northeast corner of Section 33, north of the railroad tracks.  The reason for this is that the railroad tracks veered south.  The northeast 40 acres bordered the road that is now County Road 6.

1903:  St. Paul Globe, July 8, 1903: “The Annandale Brick Company is capitalized at $10,000.  A.M. Ridgway L.R. Williams, W.D. McDonald, John H. Buri and C.F. Zimmerman incorporated the new company.”

1905: The Annandale Brick and Tile Company was formed with $10,000 capital by A.M. Ridgway, L.R. Williams, W.D. McDonald, John H. Buri, and C.F. Zimmerman.  The Annandale Brick and Tile Company filed as a Minnesota company on March 4, 1905. 

History of Wright County, 1915, Page 714: “Annandale Brick and Tile Company, A.M. Ridgway, president and John H. Buri, secretary.”  William D. McDonald, Annandale banker, was treasurer. The following were investors in the Annandale Brick and Tile Company:  Dr.  Alfred Ridgway, Annandale physician since 1890; Lew Williams, pharmacist and drugstore owner since c.1891; William McDonald, founder of the Annandale State Bank in 1893; John Buri, hardware store owner since January 1, 1887; and Fred Zimmerman, brickyard owner.

1914: Clay & Shales of Minnesota, Frank F. Grout and E.K Sopes, The University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn. 1914, Page 171: “At Annandale in the western part of the county, the Annandale Brick & Tile Company have built a plant on the Soo Line a mile east of town to use a deposit of laminated clay known to cover several acres, with a thickness of at least 15 feet.  The clay where used is found to contain sufficient sand, so this sandy part of the deposit remains untouched.  In working and burning qualities the clay seems to be excellent, but some difficulty has been encountered at the plant in getting the clay to dry without cracking.”

 It is not known if this clay deposit was on Zimmerman’s west or east 40 acres.       

1915:  Wright County Plat Map:  Household members were C.J.F. Zimmerman, wife Matilda, children Edward, Charles, Josephine – “Brick Yard Place.“  By 1915, Zimmerman had sold 20 acres of the northeast 40 acres to William Anderson.  Part of this land is now the Lampi Auction site.

 1918:  The Annandale Brick & Tile Company may have ceased business in 1918.  According to Marlyce Nelson Tengwall, her father-in-law, N.J. Nelson, purchased the brickyard/farm in 1918.  He was called “Brickyard Nelson,” even though he never made bricks. Roy Nelson later purchased the farm from his mother, Hilma Nelson. There was a large brick house on the property that Roy and Marlyce Nelson tore down in 1957 when they built a new house.

Marlyce also said that many churches in Kimball, Buffalo, and Annandale were made with bricks from Zimmerman’s factory.  These included the Annandale Methodist Church (erected in 1889 and bricked in 1902) and the old Lutheran Free Church 1946-1988 (former Advent Church erected in the fall of 1898, now Camelot Apartments).

There are many red brick buildings (businesses, homes and churches) in the Annandale/South Haven area.  Fires in 1910 and 1911 destroyed many businesses in South Haven, which were rebuilt with brick.  There are several large farmhouses near South Haven that were bricked.  The red brick South Haven Hotel was built in 1912.  Many of these red brick buildings very likely had bricks from the Zimmerman brickyard.  Some prominent brick Annandale landmarks that no longer exist include the St. Ignatius church built in 1901 and razed in 1959, the Annandale village hall built in 1898 and razed in 1966, the Powers blacksmith shop razed in 1976, and the 1888 Annandale schoolhouse razed in 2002.  The 1922 school was razed in 2015.            

There was also a note at WCHS about “Brickyard” Anderson.  He lived on the north side of the tracks, opposite side of the railroad tracks from the brickyard.  Anderson was the grandfather of the Backsell sisters, Bertha (1892-1988) and Edith (1891-1982).  William Anderson and wife Augusta purchased the 20 acres that Zimmerman sold in 1915.  According to Bertha Townsend, he was called “Brickyard” Anderson, because he purchased brickyard land.

A 1977 note in the Wright County Historical Society Brickyard file from Bertha Backsell Townsend said her father was a brick layer who did some of the best brick work in Annandale.  She said Andrew Backsell (1860-1946) bricked the Methodist Church in Annandale in 1902, bricked the 1888 Annandale schoolhouse, built the Dr. Norris house in about 1909, and built the Planer house (Dr. Bendix later lived there).

A website dedicated to preserving information about Minnesota brickyards ( stated that in 1919 Annandale had a small brickyard with daily capacity of 6,000 to 10,000 bricks.  There is a photo of the Zimmerman family on the website.

Charles J.F. Zimmerman (1853-1927)

Carl Johan Frederick Zimmerman was born June 11, 1853, in Snarestad, Sweden, son of Johan Fredrik   Zimmerman, who was born in Bellin, Germany and immigrated to Sweden, and Johanna Christine Mansdotter.  The family immigrated to the United States April 4, 1872, when “Frederick” Zimmerman was 19.  He married Matilda Nelson in 1875.  In October 1876, he filed a claim for land in Middleville Township, Wright County, Minnesota.  Three children were born to this union, Edward, Charles and Josephine.

Zimmerman served two terms, 1905 to 1909, as District 1 Wright County Commissioner.  He lived in Buffalo in 1920 and died at his daughter Josephine Enghauser Nelson’s home in Minneapolis February 20, 1927, at age 73.  Survivors were his wife and three children, Charles, Edward and Josephine.


Compiled by the Annandale History Club Secretary – May 2016