Kremlin's First Businesses

Although some of the earliest arrivals came to Kremlin in 1909, and the largest groups of the immigrants arrived in 1910 and 1911, it was not surveyed and laid out as a town until 1913.

K.C. Farley was a land agent and locator. He platted the first town site, which came to be known as the "Farley addition" about where the elevators later stood.

Homer Spaulding was the first merchant when he and Archie Parsons opened the first general merchandise store in the Farley addition. Archie was proving his claim at the same time.

Archie Parsons sold his claim to Louis Coutier, his neighbor to the north. His partner in the store, Homer Spaulding, kept the store and Parsons became the first postmaster, followed by Jule Jenson and Richard Sjordahl.


A new townsite

E.C. Carruth had acquired acreage just to the east of the Farley addition. He declared that he was going to build a "first class town".

Carruth and Ted Oltesvig had the first saloon and they built it on Carruth land. There were soon a couple of other saloons. One was operated by Paul Glynn.

Soon Parsons and Spaulding moved their store to this new location and the Farley addition died a quick death according to the notes of one old timer.

At various times there were other general merchandise stores. The Parsons-Spaulding store was later followed by Matt Bjornstad's, Frank Horish's and Odin Sjordahl's stores.


The first hardware store burns

C.A. Carlson opened the first hardware store in 1912; a second hardware store was opened in 1917 by Earl Winter.

Clarence Carlson's hardware store was a two-story building. The store was on the first floor. The second floor was used for community activities. Dances were often held there and it was also used for basketball practice. A fire was lit one evening in the upstairs stove during basketball season. Later in the evening the building burned. Clarence Carlson did not rebuild or open a hardware store again.

John E. Gardner supplemented his homestead as a rural mail carrier, probably the first in the area.

Two of the first restaurants were started in 1913 by Mrs. Rebecca Oltesvig and Mrs. Carl Sorenson.

Later there were two other restaurants, one operated by Bertha Granell and the other by Mrs. McKensie.

In 1913 Freeman Johnson and Fred Athearn started the first bank, First State Bank of Kremlin. In 1917 the Farmer's State Bank of Kremlin opened.


The first hotel also burns

William Brookshire had the first hotel early in 1914. It burned in 1916.

In 1915 Theodore Oltesvig built the Kremlin Hotel and Frank Horeish had a grocery store in the room later occupied by the bar.

The first barber was Gene Stensen. Augie Shoy had the first real barber shop but Herman Bielen took it over in 1916.

The first newspaper was the Kremlin Chancellor, edited by Matt Casey. This newspaper enjoyed a wide circulation from 1913-1929.

Mr. Dunbar started a gristmill in 1914.


Four grain elevators

The first grain elevator was built by St. Anthony and Dakota in 1912.

H. Earl Clack built an elevator in 1913, making C. P. Black the first manager. There were also elevators called the International and the Farmers.

Mrs. Florence Hilmen started the first variety store in 1913 and was in the grocery business longer than any other merchant in town. She also sold homemade ice cream. Later in the early 1930's she sold the store to Wendell (Shang) and Mary Winter who operated it until 1959 when they sold it.

Charles La Forge had the first livery barn and dray line.

The first blacksmiths were Christ and George Vosen.

Jack Schiltz started the first lumberyard. Another lumberyard was opened by Roger Templeton.

H. Earl Clack had a bulk oil plant.

Jule M. Jensen started an implement business with a McCormick Deering franchise.


A Ford dealership

John Lucke and Jule Jensen had the Lucke-Jensen Garage with a Ford dealership. The Ford dealership was operated by John Lucke and Wells Dye.

E.V. Padrick had the pool hall.

In 1916, while drilling a well on Ben Robeck's farm four miles northwest of town, Mr. Huber found gas at 330 feet. This gas supplied Mr. Robeck with light and fuel and nearby farms also had gas piped to them.

Spencer Clark Banks had the only well in the area which produced exceptionally good water in good supply. He provided water for the homesteaders and residents for many years from barrels, and later a tank, on a wagon.


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