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History of Silver Creek
Presentation to the Annandale History Club
Date:  March 2, 2009
Henry Smith

Henry Smith filled in for the scheduled speaker who couldn't attend the meeting.  This report includes Henry's presentation and additional research.

 There are three books about Silver Creek.

            Ten Years to Live, Henry J. Schut, 1978
            Footprints from the Past, Henry J. Schut, 1993
            Our Pioneer Days in Minnesota, Gertrude Braat Vandergon, 1949 (link)

Silver Creek is the name of a township, a village and a creek.  Silver Creek Township, Wright County, Minnesota, was created April 6, 1858, and has a total area of 39.2 square miles, including three villages (Hasty, Enfield and Silver Creek) and 15 lakes (the largest lakes are Locke, Limestone, Ida, Millstone and Eagle).  The township is bordered on the north by Clearwater Township and the Mississippi River, on the west by Clearwater and Corinna Townships, on the south by Maple Lake Township and on the east by Monticello Township.     

Silver Creek meanders south to north through the township. The creek starts at Lake Mary in Maple Lake Township and empties into the Mississippi River in Section 15, Silver Creek Township. 

The village of Silver Creek is five miles south of Hasty and six miles north of Maple Lake, located in Silver Creek Township, Section 5, at County Roads 8 and 123 on the shore of 78-acre Silver Lake.  Lake Maria (108 acres) is nearby and is surrounded by the 1,580-acre Lake Maria (pronounced Ma-rye-uh) State Park created in 1963 and officially opened in 1971.     

The 1879 Silver Creek plat map named the following acreage owners in Section 5 where Silver Creek village was established:  J. H. Chubb, E. M. Lambert, Henry Ferguson, John Ferguson and John Houston.  The sawmill and the Methodist Church were on the 1879 map in Section 5.   The 1879 plat map also noted that the post office was located in Section 6 on the property of J. N. Lambert.  

The village of Silver Creek was surveyed January 22, 1898, and the plat was filed December 12, 1898.  The plat included an existing dam and mill.  There were many established businesses in Silver Creek at that time.  The plat was signed July 26, 1898 by the following land owners in Silver Creek village:  

According to History of Wright County, in 1915 Silver Creek village was a busy little trading center and shipping point with three general stores, bank, shoe store, hardware store, blacksmith shop, creamery, Methodist church, town hall, garage, pool hall and about 100 people.  The following Silver Creek businesses were listed in the 1915 Maple Lake business directory:

Henry Smith's presentation was about the more recent businesses of Silver Creek.  Silver Creek was once a nice town with many businesses.  There was a garage where Henry's uncle, Bill Mol, overhauled cars.  Bill Mol also had a welding shop.  Ray Swanberg had a hardware store.  He also had a barber shop in the restaurant across the street from the hardware store.  General store owner, Bill Thiesse, had a new grocery store built in 1950 or 51.  The post office was in Bill Thiesse's store.  There was a store run by Mr. Gamble.  Leonard O'Dean's father ran a shoe store and shoe repair shop. 

There was a painting in Don Henneman's store of the Silver Creek Mill which was down by the lake by the creek.  Bill Mol sold Massey Harris farm equipment and Chevrolet cars through Gruys in Monticello.  There was a pottery business in Silver Lake which is closed.   John Hasslen stored antique cars in a building across from the tavern.  There was a popular place called the Hoot n Holler.  All these businesses are gone now, but there are many new houses in Silver Creek.  Silver Creek has an active sportsmen's club.  Silver Creek never had a police department.  Silver Creek was never incorporated and is part of Silver Creek Township.

Railways - The following information is from the History of Wright County published in 1915. 

In 1866 the St. Paul & Pacific Railroad (reorganized by James J. Hill as St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway in 1879 and Great Northern Railway in 1889) completed a rail line from St. Paul through Anoka, Elk River, and Big Lake to east St. Cloud.  This line was just a few miles outside of Wright County's northern boundary.

In 1882 the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway (Great Northern Railway in 1889) completed a line of railway up the west side of the Mississippi River to St. Cloud,  passing through Monticello and Clearwater in Wright County.  This was sometimes referred to as the Osseo branch.  This line was five miles north of the town site of Silver Creek with a depot in the town site of Hasty.   Note:  In 1890 the residents of Silver Creek town site unsuccessfully attempted to change the Hasty depot's name to Silver Creek Station.

In December 1886 a line of railway was completed to Glenwood, Minnesota, by the Minneapolis & Pacific Railroad, passing through Buffalo, Maple Lake, Annandale and South Haven in Wright County.  This line was six miles south of the town site of Silver Creek with a depot in Maple Lake.  In 1888 the Minneapolis & Pacific Railroad became the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railway or "Soo Line."      

Mill Gertrude Braat Vandergon wrote that there was a mill in Silver Creek village in 1874.  The 1879 Silver Lake plat map indicated a sawmill on Silver Creek on the property of E. M. Lambert.  Around 1885 Mr. Chubb constructed a sawmill on Silver Creek at Silver Lake.  The mill was soon after sold to William Whitney and later to J. H. Whitney and F. Whitney.   The dam was a concrete and wooden structure in the channel between Silver Lake and Silver Creek.  Water flowed over the dam into the creek, then to Lake Maria and Locke Lake and eventually into the Mississippi River.   

Creamery The Silver Creek Co-operative Creamery was organized June 21, 1912.  In 1915 there were some fifty patrons owning about 200 cows.  The locker plant was added in 1940.  Cream and butter were the products of the creamery until milk handling equipment was installed in 1943.  The creamery and locker plant were always busy.  Besides milk and butter, the creamery sold feed.  The creamery later combined with Maple Lake Creamery (Maple Lake had a creamery since 1896).  The Silver Creek creamery building is still there across from the former bank building.

Bank - The First State Bank of Silver Creek was chartered on July 11, 1914.  In the fall of 1920, H. N. Shorty Lungwitz and his wife Anna became cashier and assistant cashier, respectively, at the Silver Creek bank.  On February 18, 1935, the bank moved to Monticello under the new name, Wright County State Bank.   All other Monticello banks had closed.  The First State Bank of Silver Creek was among nine of thirty banks in Wright County that survived a mandatory federal four-day bank holiday in 1933 to prevent a rush of withdrawals.   Wright County State Bank was acquired by Marquette Bank in 1992.  The brick bank building in Silver Creek is still in use as a tavern.          

Silver Creek Post Office  

The first Silver Creek Township post office was established in Fremont in 1856 with A. G. Descent as postmaster.  Fremont, which existed from 1856 to 1858, was a townsite on the Mississippi River at the mouth of Silver Creek.  A Silver Creek post office is noted on the 1879 Silver Creek Township plat map in Section 6.  Rural Free Delivery was established in Silver Creek circa 1903.  The Silver Creek post office was discontinued December 1, 1906, and records kept at the Maple Lake post office.  (Maple Lake was established as a mail site in 1858 but the town wasn't incorporated until 1890.)  The Silver Creek post office was reinstated in 1921 and continues today.  The current Silver Creek post office is open from 1-3 p.m. in a small frame building rented from Mr. Gruys.  Mail is delivered from the Maple Lake post office.  There are many historical photos of Silver Lake at the post office. 

Silver Creek Community Church (formerly Reformed Church of Silver Creek ) (1894-present) According to Condensed History of Wright County, 31 Hollanders came from Amsterdam to Wright County in 1867.  At the end of two years only A. H. Braat and his family of six and the Van Kekeren brothers remained as the nucleus of a colony of Hollanders that have contributed greatly to the marked development of Silver Creek Township.  In 1873 four Vandergon brothers (John, Hugh, Dick and Nicholas) distantly related to the Braats arrived and in 1874, Tennes (Tunis) Shermer and H. Nyland, all natives of Holland, joined the colony.  In later years the Holland community added to its members P. Schermer and George Meintsma.  The Dutch Reformed Church was organized in 1894. 

History of Wright County, 1915 The Reformed Church of Silver Creek belongs to the denomination called the Reformed Church in America, which was planted in New York City in 1624 and is, therefore, one of the very oldest Protestant denominations in the country to be represented in Wright County.  The Silver Creek church had its beginning with services held in the present school building and in the homes of T. Schermer, Sr., and J. Vandergon.  The church was organized in the school building December 17, 1894.  Among the families present as charter members may be mentioned the Schermers, Vandergons, Braats and VandenHoeks.  At this organization there were sixteen baptisms, fourteen infants and two adults, Anna Schermer and Jennie Vandergon.  T. Schermer, Sr. and H. VandenHoek were chosen as elders, and J. J. Braats as deacon.  The church is located four miles north of Maple Lake.  The pastors have been the Rev. Messrs. TePaske, W. A. Gruys, J. J. Dragt, and the present incumbent, B. W. Lammers. 

The first services were held in an 1892 schoolhouse.  Two acres of land were purchased in 1903.   In 1904 the first church building and a horse barn were completed four miles north of Maple Lake on Highway 8.  The parsonage was completed in 1905.  A new church in Silver Lake village was built in 1964. 

The earliest burial in Silver Creek Community Church's Lakeview Cemetery on the southeast side of Millstone Lake was in 1887.  (Silver Creek Community Church link)  (Lakeview Cemetery link)

Silver Creek Schools

History of Wright County, 1915 - District 16 (119) School on S.W. of N.W. of Section 8.  This is another two-room school.  An addition was built to the original one-room building a few years ago.  The addition is in good condition, but the old part of the building is in poor shape. Extended repairs should be made soon.  The full eight grades of work done for some years.  Good teachers are employed.  The school board is always ready to furnish needed supplies.

Gertrude Vandergon (1860-1941), who came to Silver Lake Township at age seven, wrote in her book, Our Pioneer Days in Minnesota, that the 1892 District 119 brick schoolhouse was torn down in 1917 and replaced with a two-room frame schoolhouse.   District 16, Silver Creek School (Grades 1-8) was at present-day County Roads 8 & 39.

In 1955 Silver Creek consolidated with the Annandale School District and a new school was built in the village.  When all Silver Creek students were bused to Annandale, the school became a foam fabricating company.

In his book, Footprints from the Past, Henry J. Schut (1910-1981) wrote about the hardships of attending high school before bus service.  Henry Schut drove to Annandale High School and several other Silver Creek students rode with him.  He later boarded with a farmer near Annandale and rode the horse-drawn school bus to classes at Annandale High School.  Bus service started about 1935 for high school students.  Silver Creek was served by the Lundeen Bus Company, and Walter Lundeen and Henry Lundeen were the bus drivers.      

Methodist Episcopal Church of Silver Creek

History of Wright County, 1915 The Methodists were presented with a church in the early days.  P. A. Locke of Lexington, Massachusetts made a bequest of $500 to the Township of Silver Creek on condition that the town supervisors should erect a church at a cost of $1,000, that the Methodists should always use it, and that the Methodist trustees should keep it repaired and insured.  The conditions were not kept and the building fell into disuse.  

Gertrude Braat Vandergon wrote in Our Pioneer Days in Minnesota that the church was built in Section 33 in 1863 and later moved to Section 5.  The Hollanders also sometimes attended and conducted services there.  The Methodist Church was on the 1879 plat map in Section 5 (at present-day County Road 8 and 123).  The Methodist church building was moved to the village of Silver Creek in 1885.

The Methodist congregation in Silver Creek was part of the Clearwater charge and was served by traveling preachers.  Services were often conducted by lay people.  The congregation later became part of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Annandale.  The church building was sold to Immanuel Lutheran Church in 1929. 

Immanuel Lutheran Church (1931-present)   

Immanuel Lutheran Church shared a parish with Zion Lutheran Church established in 1888 on Co. Rd. 39 near Sugar Lake.  The Zion congregation moved the church building to Annandale in 1948.  The two churches had the same pastor until December 10, 1953, when Immanuel and Zion decided that each should call its own pastor.  In 1928 Immanuel Lutheran Church started as a Mission Society of Evangelical Lutheran Church, Zion Congregation of Corinna.  The first services were held in the Town Hall.  A church building was purchased from the Methodist Conference in 1929 and moved to its present site.  The Mission Society worked together and remodeled the church, putting in new windows and doors and refinishing the inside. 

The church property was purchased in order that Lutheran services might be conducted in the village for the convenience of those members of Zion who lived in Silver Creek and its vicinity.  The following men were appointed to close the transaction:   Albert Rotsolk, Emil Klemz, Paul Klemz, Treasurer.  Others in the new congregation of Immanuel Lutheran Church were Albert Klemz, Ernest Klemz, Carl Klemz, Harrison Laughton, August Klemz, Charles Rotsolk, Harold Klemz and Robert Klemz.  In 1931 the Zion congregation divided and Immanuel Lutheran Church, Silver Creek, was organized.

Immanuel and Zion congregations started a Christian Day School together in 1944.  This school was held in a small brick school house between Silver Creek and Annandale.  The Zion congregation left the school in 1949.  Immanuel decided to go on with the school.  Classes were moved to a small school by Sugar Lake.  In January 1955 it was decided to discontinue the school.  The schoolhouse was sold for $1,000.

Notes by Secretary
Annandale History Club


By Lorie Plaggerman
Wright-Way Shopper
January 8, 1981

On April 6, 1858, the board of county commissioners determined the boundaries of what would be known as Silver Creek Township.  Included in this area are the town sites of Hasty, Enfield and, of course, Silver Creek.  The former village of Fremont, which existed from 1856 to 1858, was also encompassed by the township boundaries. 

Silver Creek Township had several post offices in its early years.  Among them was the Bianca Post Office, established in the late 1850s, with Reverend Moses Goodrich as postmaster.  In 1860 the Ypsilanti Post Office opened under the direction of Joseph Brooks.  Mr. Kling was appointed postmaster of the Hasty Office which was established in 1889.  The Fremont Post Office was created in 1856, headed by postmaster A. G. Descent, and in 1910 the Enfield Office was opened.  All of these post offices have since been discontinued.  However, the Silver Creek Post Office remains in business today, and operates out of a newly-constructed building.

The village of Silver Creek is unincorporated.  Its an inland town and one of the few pioneer towns to have survived without the benefits of either a railroad system or river. 

Among some of the earlier settlers in or near the village was Isaac Carter.  He was born in Maine, but moved to Wright County, Minnesota, with his parents in 1859.  At the time of his marriage in 1866, he and his wife obtained 80 acres of land in Section 33 of Silver Creek Township (approximately one mile north of town).  He later added another 40 acres to his farm.  Merl Carter (grandson) and Larry Carter (great-grandson) of Isaac each have homes on this original homestead. 

On June 4, 1867, 31 people who had left their native homeland of Holland, arrived in the Silver Creek vicinity.  Many of these folks eventually took up residences in Clearwater, Monticello and St. Cloud.  However, A. H. Braat (and family of six) and F. and Charles Van Kekeren remained in the area.  In May 1873 four Vandergon brothers, also from Holland, purchased a farm near Silver Creek.  The following April, T. Schermer and H. Nyland also settled in this area.

This group of Dutch settlers held fast to their religious upbringings from the Reformed Church of Holland.  In early years, they had gathered together in private homes to share times of worship.  They were also able to use the schoolhouse (built in 1892) for their Sunday services.

The organization of the Silver Creek Reformed Church on December 17, 1894, is attributed to the efforts of Reverend Peter Lepeltak and Reverend Gerrit Dangremond.  The construction of their first church began in June 1903, being completed the following year.  A horse barn was also built in 1904 to provide spaces for those who drove horse and buggies to church.  A double stall was rented at the cost of $2.00 per year.)

In 1964 a new church building was erected in the town of Silver Creek.  The original church building, located four miles north of Maple Lake on County Road 8, is now owned by Richard Vizenor (1981). 

In the early 1900s many others of Dutch descent migrated to Silver Creek Township.  A number of people of Swedish heritage also made their homes in the Silver Creek area.  Charles A. Swanson and his son-in-law, Frank Neutz, each owned successful farming operations northeast of town.

In 1896 John Algren (also a native of Sweden ) settled along the shore of Limestone Lake, which is approximately 1 miles northwest of Silver Creek.  He was involved with farming, as well as operating a popular summer vacation resort.  He could accommodate up to 25 guests at this resort, and rarely lacked for business.

The shore of Silver Lake was the building site for a sawmill constructed by Mr. Chubb around 1885.  The mill was soon after sold to William Whitney, who operated it until a fire destroyed the building about four years later.  The mill was rebuilt and the business was then sold to J. H. Whitney and F. Whitney.  These two brothers enjoyed a successful operation sawing logs and grinding feed for many years.

The first store in Silver Creek was opened in 1891.  The proprietor was Henry Whitney, an uncle of J. H. Whitney.  Gradually other businesses moved into the area.  A hardware and blacksmith shop was established in the village in 1900 by Andrew Johnson and Frank Lock.  Three years later Mr. Lock sold out his share of the business, whereupon Andrew Johnson formed a partnership with his brother, Claus W. Johnson.   Another early merchant of Silver Creek was William Klemz, who had purchased a general store in 1909.  Two years later he sold the business and pursued his interests in farming and carpentry.

In 1911 C. P. Weston resigned his role as the first postmaster of the Enfield Post Office and moved to Silver Creek.  There he bought a saw mill which he used not only for sawing wood, but also for manufacturing sorghum.  He also dealt in farm implements and machinery, as well as serving as the town clerk.

The Silver Creek Co-operative Creamery was organized on June 21, 1912.  According to an annual report from 1914, the average price paid for butterfat was $0.3375.  There were approximately 50 farmers being served at that time with a total of about 200 cows.

On July 11, 1914, the First State Bank of Silver Creek-Hasty was incorporated and two days later opened for business.  Although the bank has long since been closed, the building remains and is occupied as a tavern.  The huge vault has been converted into a cooler for storage.

By 1915 the population of Silver Creek had reached approximately 100 residents.  The business district then consisted of three general stores, a pool hall, the creamery, a hardware store, shoe shop and blacksmith shop, the bank, a garage and the town hall.

The town also had the opportunity to include a Methodist Episcopal Church.  This was made possible through a bequest of $500 from P. A. Locke of Massachusetts for that purpose.  He had requested that the town supervisors would erect a church building at a cost of $1,000, which would then be used and maintained by the Methodist trustees.  Although the structure was put up, the other conditions were not met and the building fell into disuse.

Another church which has been a part of Silver Creek's history, as well as the present day, is the Faith Lutheran Church.  Located in the country, it projects a look of peace and tranquility.

Theres also Immanuel Lutheran Church which is located in the town of Silver Creek.  An attractive addition was recently added to this church.

Among some of the businesses located in Silver Creek in 1981 are Blegen's Market, Silver Creek Hardware, Mike's Meats and Feed, Sandee's Beauty Salon, the Corner Bar, Silver Creek Repair and the Post Office.

Silver Creek is situated in the midst of several beautiful lakes, and on the shore of Silver Lake. There are no main highways which lead into the town, which provides for very quiet and peaceful living.