Then & Now

After years of waiting—20 to be exact—White Bear Lake’s historic town hall has finally moved to Polar Lakes Park; the decision wasn’t made lightly. The building was constructed in 1885, located between two of the area’s best-known bodies of water—White Bear Lake and Goose Lake.

White Bear Lake Mayor Jo Emerson keeps a notepad and pen in her car. When she’s driving to and from city council meetings, she takes a different route each time and looks around for “things that need to be fixed”—sidewalks or streets in need of repair, burned-out streetlights or other flaws.

The former passenger and freight depot that sits at Fourth Street on the west side of White Bear’s only remaining north-south railroad track was constructed in 1935 of repurposed bricks from the roundhouse building that once stood two blocks to the south.

Nothing in 60 years has stopped Jerry Griffith from working with glass. “Once it’s in your blood,” he says, “you can’t get it out.”

The flagpole along Highway 61 at the south end of Railroad Park was the result of a community expression of patriotism. During the summer of 1939, the effort to bring a municipal flagpole to our city was launched.

Roger Benson began flying as a young man out of Tom North’s field on Highway 96 east of White Bear Lake on the way to Stillwater. In the 1930s, he plowed an airstrip on his family’s farm just east of Bald Eagle Lake in White Bear Township.

Mention the words “barbershop quartet” and several images come to mind: harmony, men, The Music Man. But every Tuesday night, a group of 30 women define a new standard for barbershop in 2015. This group comes together to rehearse, share fellowship, and devote time to perfecting their craft.

In 1890, School District 69 of Mahtomedi was formed. The spring term of 1890 was its first session and was held in the back of E.T. Warner’s store until a more permanent location could be found. The first structure was completed along Quail Street in time for the fall session of 1891.

The Ramsey County Fair began with high expectations in August 1913 on the present site of Central Middle School. For a $2 membership, attendees received a pass, which allowed entering and leaving the fairgrounds throughout the four-day event.

Walter Tuchfarber, a Bald Eagle resident in the early 1950s, invented the “Cruz-Raft,” the precursor to the pontoon boat.