Blocks or Buildings

The best definition I can find is that a “block” was a multiple occupancy building. In Bemidji, a block such as the Battles Block might house several offices or businesses, and very likely apartments or rooms to rent as well. The term block is also used to define a piece of real estate such as Lot 1, Block 3, but that was different than the way the term was used to describe buildings in Bemidji. These blocks were more like “building blocks” – or not!

How many do you know???


Barker Block

Earle Barker came to Bemidji in 1900. He started business as a jeweler and watch repairer in 1900, and in June of 1903 purchased the Mayo Drug Store. Earle Barker’s Drug Store was at 213 Third Street in 1904. In 1907, the Barker block was built. The newspaper reported periodically on the progress.

“The Barker block will be of solid brick, one story high, 100 feet long by 25 feet wide, with a basement running the entire length of the building.” (Oct 5, 1907)

“The work on the new Barker block is progressing very nicely, under the supervision of G. E. Kreatz. This building will be one of the finest-appearing blocks in the city, and being located in the business center, will add to the solid appearance of the main street. The new block will be finished in white. The bricks being used are called sand lime, and they will be faced with white stone. The front will also contain very heavy plate glass, and there will be two of the finest show windows to be found in the northwest. Contractor Kreatz expects to have the block ready for occupancy in time for Mr. Barker to make an
elegant display of holiday goods in the spacious windows of his new location.”  (Nov 2, 1907)

For the next years, there wasn’t much mentioned about the block itself, although a great deal of attention was paid by the local newspaper on the military career of Lieutenant Earle Barker. He was a veteran of the Spanish-American War and headed Bemidji’s Naval Militia, which was the first contingent of Bemidji men to leave for service on April 17, 1917.

In 1920, Dr. G. M. Palmer, Dentist & Orthodontist; Drs. Marcum & McAdory, Physicians & Surgeons were occupants in the Barker Block.

In late 1921, a new Barker block was built west of the original block at 217 Third Street. Otto Johnson of Bismarck and Carl Johnson of Grand Forks, N. D. opened a ladies’ ready-to-wear establishment on the main floor of the new building. The upper story of the new block was furnished for office purposes.

In June 1922, Earle A. Barker advertised that Barkers was opening a rest room and beauty parlor in the basement. He also advertised the presence of a trained attendant for the children, free stationery, free telephones, free reading material and a phonograph for the entertainment of those resting. In the store he provided use of a free weighing machine, free telephone service and a Sanitary Stamp Vending Machine.

Earle Barker sold Barker’s Rexall Drug Store in 1940 to Buck Buchanan and H. Arthur Vanderby. The drug store was sold once again in 1954, and August Ulrich opened the Bemidji Pharmacy in 1955. In April 1956, he announced the establishment of Just a Little Drug Store in the same setting and operated it until his retirement in 1974.

Oscar Erwig and his daughter Martha purchased the jewelry department of Barker’s, a separate part of the block in 1944. Martha was crowned Miss Bemidji Pioneer in 1925. She worked with her father at the Barker Drug and Jewelry Store until her marriage on Jan 3, 1929 in Bemidji to Lawrence “Hap” Lindman. They then became partners in Lindman Jewelry Store, which they operated until retiring in 1976.

Dr. Groschupf and Dr. McCann’s offices were located upstairs in 1942.  Drs. Garlock, Marcum, and Groschupf had their offices upstairs in 1946. This is where I had my tonsils removed. No hospital stay – but in the doctor’s office. Did the stairs really creak? The way I remember it, they did! Dr. Groschupf was our family doctor, and although his office was at Barker’s, he made home visits. I remember him visiting our home several times when I had bronchitis and was enclosed in a steam tent. (1946)


Boston Block

F.D. Coleman & Co., General Merchandise (Nov 27, 1902)

Dr. A. Ray, a dentist of Minneapolis, was in town this week, and has secured rooms in the Boston block for a permanent location for his line of business. He comes highly recommended as a practitioner of the modern art of dentistry. (March 27, 1902)

J.C. Moore, Sales Agent for Bemidji Townsite & Improvement Co. (1902)

E.H. Winter & Co.; Chester McCuzick; E. F. Crawford; Dr. J. B. Smith;  Edwin H. Smith, physician and surgeon; E. H. Jerrard (1904)

Bemidji Pressed Stone & Tile, Ben Erikson, W. A. Boyd (1904)

This block was occupied by the Security State Bank from at least 1910 until the block was destroyed by fire on Jan 17, 1935.


Gibbons Block

Gibbons Block, north of the Markham, 214 Beltrami Avenue

Delay Caused In Placing Front In Gibbons’ Block. When placing one of the large plate glass windows in the Gibbons block this morning the carpenters in charge accidentally broke the glass which will cause a delay of several days in completing the front. The remainder of the carpentry work on the .building is nearly completed and the building will be ready for occupancy in a few weeks. (Dec 19, 1913)

Workman are now putting the finishing touches on the new brick Gibbons block and it will be ready for occupancy about the first of the year. The upstairs will be used by Mr. Gibbons as a law office and offices will also be provided Dr. J. T. Tuomy, dentist, and Dr. A. Garlock, an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist. The down stairs will be used by Marion Hazen as a saloon, while the other part is for rent. The building is to be steam heated, the downstairs finished in mahogany and the upstairs is in oak. (Dec 24, 1913)

Now Located In Gibbons Block on Beltrami Avenue
Marion Hazen, proprietor of the saloon located north of the Markham hotel, has moved his stock into the new Gibbons’ block, which was recently built. The saloon now has a corner entrance facing the alley and Beltrami Avenue and is one of the neatest and most attractive thirst parlors in the city. All new fixtures have been placed. (December 29, 1913)

Dr. A. V. Garlock, eye, ear, nose and throat specialist has opened offices in the Gibbon’s block. Dr. Garlock comes to Bemidji well recommended by the community which he recently left in southern Minnesota. (Jan 13, 1914)

William Drese and George Williams, formerly of Sioux Falls, South Dakota have leased the north room on the ground floor of the Gibbons block and have opened an up-to-date shoe shining and hat cleaning establishment. The fixtures are entirely new and the shop is one of the most attractive in the northwest. (March 10, 1914)

Reynolds & Winter, land agents, have rented the ground floor and basement of the John Gibbons block, next to the Markham hotel, on Beltrami avenue. The Hazen saloon formerly occupied the floor. Since the clamping on of the Indian “lid” the floor has not been occupied. Reynolds & Winter will move their offices to the new location this week (Dec 13, 1915)

The Northern Minnesota Real Estate office has moved in the Gibbons building at 214 Beltrami Ave., which was the former office of Reynolds &Winter who have moved across the street into the Dalton building. (June 1920)

The soft drink business of William Lilye was purchased yesterday by Henry Dahl. Mr. Lilye has conducted his business in the Gibbon block west of the Markham hotel since moving out of the hotel building some time ago. (August 1921)

NEW GIBBONS BLOCK IS NOW NEARLY COMPLETED
The new Gibbons block on Beltrami avenue is now housing its owner, Judge John Gibbons, who occupies beautiful suite of offices in the rear half of the seen story of the building, and Edward Jackson & Son, contractors, occupy the front suite of offices.
The lower floor will be occupied by Andy McNabb soft drink parlors, who, it is understood, will soon be ready to equip up-to-date quarters for this purpose. (Jan 6, 1922)

McNabb Opens Soft Drink Parlor In Gibbons Block. Andy McNabb of this city recently outfitted the lower story of the new Gibbons block on Beltrami avenue for a soft drink parlor and has now opened the place for business. The second floor of the new building is occupied by the offices of Judge J. F. Gibbons and Ed Jackson & Son, contractors. (Jan 11, 1922)


Knopke Block

The Knopke block was at 319 Beltrami Avenue. Charles Knopke and John Graham had the Bemidji Meat Market in this block.

Gust Brown then ran the Bemidji Candy Kitchen here which was the predecessor to the Suman Candy Kitchen. In 1915, a newspaper note read, “The Knopke block is being repaired and a new front will be built for the Gust Brown store and a new tile floor will be laid.” Thomas Johnson, Bemidji architect, was in charge of the project.

The Bemidji Candy Company at this location was owned by Charles A. Knopke and E. P. Gould in 1920-1921. The city directory of 1927-1928, lists the business as the Bemidji Cafe and Candy Kitchen.

Peter Jianopoulos operated the Bemidji Café and Candy Kitchen, 319 Beltrami Avenue for several years. He was born in Sparta, Greece May 15, 1889. He came to Pennsylvania with friends from Greece at the age of 10 years and stayed with an uncle until as a young man he moved to North Dakota to operate a café. From there he moved to Bemidji where he was associated in business with George Kootsikas. In 1934, he moved to Walker where he operated a café until his retirement in 1954.

F. P. Prawalsky, Machinist, was located at the rear of 319 Beltrami Ave. (1927-28). Then it was the location of the Vanity Dress Shop.

By 1931, Ebert’s Bemidji Music Co. was located in this building. In June, F.S. Ebert announced the purchase of the entire stock of musical instruments, music, accessories and fixtures of the music department of the Thorpe Co. of this city, formerly the Larson Co. Purchase of this stock has enlarged stocks on hand in all departments of the music company of which F. S. Ebert is the proprietor. Ebert’s Music Co. is located at 319 Beltrami Avenue. (June 1931)

The stores in the Knopke building were damaged in the Security Bank fire in January 1935. They reopened for business in the middle of March 1935. They were the Bemidji Music Co., and  the Vanity Dress and Beauty Shop.

H.C. Baer announced that when he built the new Security State Bank on the corner, he also planned to rebuild the Johnson building adjacent to the south and have the second floors of both buildings join. Am guessing the Johnson Building eventually housed O’Meara’s. It was known as the Johnson Building because the first floor was occupied by the Burg Co. store, a variety store, while the second floor housed Dr. Johnson’s office and two apartments, one occupied by Mr. and Mrs. T.P. Daly and her mother, and the other by Miss Effie Adams. Building destroyed by fire on January 17, 1935. There were apartments on the second floor of both buildings, and this no doubt made it more convenient.

Most of us know the 319 location as that of Herington’s Shoe Store. It was founded in 1947 by Bob Herington Sr. after returning from World War II. In 1977 his son Bob came to work for him in the shoe store & continued the tradition of offering service and quality footwear to northern Minnesota. Bob’s wife Judy started working in the store in 1988. Jeni joined the team in 1991 and Gayle in 2004


Malzahn Block

Malzahn Block

An organizational meeting for the First Presbyterian Church was held on August 24, 1896 in the Malzahn building. This building was purchased by Troppman and used until replaced by Troppman with a brick building.

The Beltrami County news is owned and edited by C. R. Martin, one of the bright editors of the state. He established his paper here in March 1898 and it has steadily grown into great popularity. It is independent in politics and is the official paper of the village. Mr. Martin’s advice is considered valuable in the affairs of the village and county. He is secretary of the Fire Department of Bemidji and selected the splendid equipment by which the department has been able to protect the village from fire so effectually. Mr. Martin’s printing office is centrally located in Malzahn block, where he has a very good newspaper and job printing outfit. (Bemidji, January 1900)

An immense crowd thronged S. A. Lochen’s “New Store” at its opening Monday evening. The store is a marvel of artistic loveliness, from the show windows clear through. For 12 years Mr. Lochen has been a window trimmer, and the whole interior speaks of his cleverness. Mr. Nelson, of Wahpeton, is assisting Mr. Lochen and wife. The new store is well stocked with the very latest in female wearing apparel and  novelty, and both store and stock would be a credit to any city. Was this in the Malzahn block? (Oct 18, 1900)

Little Gem Confectionary (June 1901)

Young and Cahill purchased the grocery business of F. M. Malzahn in Oct 1901. Same clerks, same place of business. (Oct 3, 1901)

Night calls received at office, upstairs in the Malzahn block. Phone No. 55., W. R. Morrison., Physician and Surgeon, Accucheur. Oct 10, 1901.

P.J. O’Leary bought out the stock from F.M. Malzahn and paid 80¢ on the dollar. He then advertised a closing out sale in the Malzahn Block for October 1901. O’Leary also bought out the stock of S. A. Lochen when he declared bankruptcy and advertised it for sale in January, 1902.

Fuller has opened a Jewelry Store in the Malzahn Block, next to the Algoma Hotel, with a fine stock of Watches, Clocks, Jewelry, Silverware and Spectacles (Nov 11, 1901)

We are selling the stock of Dry Goods, Shoes, Hats, Furnishing Goods and Notions, lately purchased from F. M. Malzahn at 80 cents on the $1. Now is the time to buy your winter’s supply at a great reduction in price. Fred P. O’Leary & Co., Malzahn Blk. (Nov 21, 1901)

One of the most enjoyable social gatherings of the season was the F-dance and supper given by the Spiritualistic society of Bemidji last Friday evening. Dancing commenced in real earnest at 9 o’clock in the Red Men hall, and was kept up until midnight when the merry dancers adjourned to the Algoma rooms in the Malzahn block and partook of a most elegant spread prepared by the ladies of the society. After lunch dancing was resumed at the Red Men hall, and when the dancers began to depart for their respective homes it was neigh onto 3 o’clock. (Oct 2, 1902)

Fire in Malzahn Blocks Puts Several Business Houses Out of Commission. (Feb. 19, 1904) The night was mild without wind which was decidedly in favor of the firemen. The building is what is known as the old Malzahn block, a two story frame structure, extending form Third Street on which the “Bazaar” fronts back on Minnesota Avenue to the alley and is 50 x 140 feet and two stories high. The fire started from an unknown cause in the Cigar and Confectionary Store of G. N. Christie, and spread through to the rear into the storeroom and warehouse of J. P. Young and Co., filled that store and the bazaar with dense, black smoke. Apartments were on the second floor.

The insurance adjusters to adjust the losses sustained in the Malzahn block fire are expected to arrive in the city today. An inventory of all the damaged stocks will be taken and it will be some time before the stores which have been closed can he reopened. (Mar 2, 1904)

The Bazaar store which has been closed to the public since the recent Malzahn block fire will be opened Monday of next week with a big fire sale. (Mar 10, 1904)

Miss Louise Hetland’s millinery store which has been closed since the Malzahn block fire will be opened Monday of next week. The loss on the stock was adjusted at $410 and the loss on the building at $10. The spring stock of the store very fortunately was at the depot when the fire occurred and will be shown with the opening of the store. (Mar 11, 1904)

The cream parlor upstairs at Peterson’s new stand, Troppman block (May 1904)

The new firm of Fleming & Downs, who have purchased the hardware store of P. M. Malzahn, took possession of the store this morning. [this block?] Both the gentlemen are well known in Bemidji, having been employed at the store of E H. Winter & Co. for the past year. They have many friends in Bemid]i and their success is almost certain. (Nov 25, 1904)

T. Beaudette, who recently arrived in Bemidji from Two Harbors, has opened up a first class tailoring establishment in Room 311, Malzahn block, where he is prepared to take orders for pressing, cleaning, repairing and all lines of tailoring. (May 2, 1905)

Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Opsahl yesterday established themselves in their summer home at Mississippi siding. Mr. Opsahl will maintain his office in the Malzahn Block as formerly, however. (July 1, 1905)

The firm of Bisiar & Vanderlip, (doing business in Pianos, Organs and Sewing Machines and all kind of household goods), have changed their name to Bisiar, Vanderlip & Co., with an additional partner, Mr. Jas. Praser of Duluth, Minn. Mr. Praser will look after the credit department and collections. The firm will remove their place of business to the building formerly occupied by the Dime Saver Store in the Malzahn Block, on June 1st. (1906)

F.G. Troppman, who owns the old Malzahn block in this city, has re-engaged in business at Fergus Falls. (April 12, 1907)


Masonic Block

Masonic Block, Block 11, Lot 1, Original Townsite

The Masonic Block, built at the corner of Fifth & Beltrami Ave., was one of four handsome new stone and brick buildings completed in 1905. It was located just north of the Swedback block at 423 Beltrami Avenue. The final construction cost was $8000.

The Crookston Lumber Company maintained a Reading Room on the first floor of the Masonic block from its beginning until at least 1921.

In March 1906, the reading room of the Crookston Lumber Company in the Masonic block was used for the examination of twelve potential mail carriers. The tests started in the morning and continued until late in the afternoon. Those of Bemidji who tried for places as carriers were: Sergeant Adam E. Otto, Harry Geil, Hollie Barrett, J. C. Cobb, Lee Heffron, Aakeberg, W. H. Elletson, George Harris and Arthur Gould.

The Knights of Pythias held many of their meetings and events at Castle Hall at the Masonic Block. They had a splendid public installations, a banquet and ball on January 1, 1907. The meeting started at the Masonic block, then adjourned to the Markham Hotel for a banquet, and then the floor of the lodge room at the Masonic Block was cleared and dancing continued until the wee hours. Cards and other games were set up on the first floor for those who chose not to participate in the dancing.

Turkish bath rooms were located in the basement rooms of the Masonic Block. D. C. Smyth was the proprietor in December 1907, and Prof. J. G. Philips was in charge. In Jan 1908, Miss Blanche Paddock, professional masseuse, was in attendance at the bath parlors in the Masonic block. Plain showers and turkish baths, hair dressing and manicuring were offered on Thursday afternoon of each week and times were set aside for Ladies’ Day from 2 o’clock until 10 o’clock p.m. at the Masonic building by the proprietor, D. C. Smyth. Mrs. Frost, who also was associated with the baths, had to leave for her old home at Dassel after her father was injured in an accident.

In July 1908, Prof. W. B. Ford was again in charge of the turkish bath work at the bath parlors in the Masonic building, and announced that he would be pleased to serve his old time friends and patrons. In 1909, these rooms had Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Frost as attendants. They advertised tub and shower baths, ladies shampoo and hair dressing day and night. (Sept 4, 1909) I did not find any further ads for the baths after 1910.

In 1912, the A. F. & A. M. Bemidji, 233, held their regular meeting nights on the first and third Wednesdays, 8 o’clock at Masonic Hall.

The Bemidji Chapter No. 70, R.A.M. had their convocations on the first and third Mondays at 8 o’clock p.m. at the Masonic Hall.

Elkanah Commandery No. 30 K. T. had its stated conclave on the second and fourth Fridays, 8 o’clock p.m. at Masonic Temple, Beltrami Ave. and Fifth St.

The O. E. S. Chapter No. 171, had their regular meeting nights on the first and third Fridays, 8 o’clock at Masonic Hall, Beltrami Ave., and Fifth St.

Retail clerks of the city met in the Crookston Reading Room and organized a new association in September 1913. Scott Stewart acted as temporary chairman.

The community Christmas tree in 1916 was erected at the Masonic temple corner, and the work of getting the monarch of the north woods wired for lighting and put up was being pushed with all speed. The Queen Esthers, with Miss Elsie Schmitt, president of the society, and her assistants devoted much time and energy to the promotion of the Christmas celebration. (Dec 22, 1916)

The Fourth Minnesota Infantry that was stationed in Bemidji during World War I was first quartered in the Crookston Reading room of the Masonic Block. The Fourth was represented as protection for the big industrial interests of the city, the state paying part of the expense for salaries and the industries paying a portion. They were first quartered in the Crookston reading room and later shifted to the hotel at the southeast corner of Third Street and Minnesota avenue. Soon after a house was erected on the lake front for additional sleeping quarters, the lumber furnished by the Crookston Lumber company. The unit was demobilized in December 1918.

In July 1920, the Bemidji Pioneer moved to its new quarters in the Masonic block. Due to the necessity of dismantling the large paper press, the Pioneer had to reduce the size of its paper for a few days.

After the high school was destroyed by fire in January 1921, classes were held in the Masonic hall and the Crookston reading room. The manual training classes for the senior high school were held in the Crookston reading rooms starting in the fall of 1921.

This building became the home of the Bemidji Pioneer from 1920 to 1975. Then it became the site of Quistgard’s Hallmark Shop.


Miles Block

Miles Block, 3rd and Beltrami Ave, 301 Beltrami Ave.

Workmen began tearing away the building on the corner of Beltrami avenue and Third street Monday morning preparatory to erecting the Miles block, which is to be the finest in the city. (July 25, 1901)

The Miles Block Will Be Pushed to Completion as Fast as Money and Labor Can Accomplish It. C. H. Miles, who recently purchased the J. W. White property on the corner of Third street and Beltrami avenue, paying therefor the sum of $6,000, has determined to erect a fine building at once, and work will be begun next Monday morning. The building is to be of solid brick, 50×80 feet, two stories, with basement. The front will be of Menominee pressed brick, and the style of architecture will be exceedingly attractive. The corner room will be occupied as a first class saloon, the adjoining one will be for rent, and the second story is to be fitted up for offices. (July 18, 1901)

Charles Miles has kindly given the ladies of the Spiritualist church the privilege of opening his new brick block, and the ladies are now planning to give a social about Oct. 15. Supper will be served at 6 o’clock in fact there will be two suppers, as Mr. Boyer will give a dance in another room, and the ladies of the Spiritualist church will serve a midnight supper for the dancers. As a special inducement to several young society ladies who have volunteered to sell tickets for this church, a $10 hat will be presented to the one selling the most tickets. They will be given the choice of two hats, one at Mrs. Berman’s or one at Miss Stuart’s. (Sept 26, 1901)

The Bemidji Tailoring Co. will move into the building between the City Hotel and the new Miles block. (Oct 10, 1901).

Bailey & Loud In New Quarters. The upstairs rooms in the new Miles block have been completed and finished up in elegant shape, and they are simply perfection in finish, heating, ventilation and lighting facilities, and the occupants may well feel proud of their new quarters. The walls are plastered, with hardwood wainscoting and floors. The hallway is wide, adding to the general appearance of the interior.

Bailey & Loud have secured two front office rooms, the largest in the building, and a library room adjoining. Probably no law firm in the state has better or more convenient apartments. The firm kept open lodge Saturday evening in honor of having located in their elegant offices, and a large number of gentlemen friends called to spend the evening in playing whist and offering congratulations to the tenants. Luncheon was serviced.

Dr. Morrison has two rooms in this building, one front room which will be used as an operation room; the other, a reception room. The rooms are large and are decorated as beautifully as a lady’s boudoir. (Nov 21, 1901)

Louise Hetland has moved her Millinery Stock from Lochen’s Store to her new rooms upstairs in the New Miles Block, where she will be pleased to meet her old as well as new customers. (Oct 1901) Miss Louise Hetland has millinery in this building, and Silver Bros. have moved in with their land office. (Nov 21, 1901) Miss Hetland, who has been located at the Miles block for the past few weeks, has moved her stock of hats, millinery, etc., to the office of Hotel Algoma. (Dec 05, 1901)

Beginning with the first of the year the firm of Bailey & Loud will dissolve, and H. J. Loud will go it alone, keeping two of the rooms now occupied by the firm in the Miles block. (Dec 26, 1901)

N. Lang, real estate, associated with Lang’s Addition to Bemidji, Room 2.

R. B. Foster, dentist in the new Miles Block. (1902)

What threatened to be a serious fire was happily diverted by the prompt action of the fire boys yesterday afternoon. Fire caught in the attic of the Miles building, corner of Third and Minnesota, and spread to the second floor. The hydrant at O’Leary’s corner was frozen, but connections were speedily made at two others and two streams soaked the building from roof to cellar. The upper floors were badly damaged and several hundred dollars worth of bedroom furnishings destroyed. (April 10, 1902)

Dr. P. C. Bjorneby has arrived from Red Wing and will begin the practice of medicine and surgery in Bemidji. He will have office rooms in the Miles Block and at present is located in the office of Dr. Blakeslee. The doctor has many acquaintances here who speak most highly of his skill. (July 10, 1902)

About December 1st, we [O’Leary & Bowser] will move into our new store next to the Miles Block, where we intend to conduct a first-class department store. Before leaving our old quarters we wish to clean up all odds and ends in our stock, and in order to do so we offer some rare bargains. (Oct 30, 1902)

A New Physician.
In the coming to this city of Dr. Roland Gilmore, Bemidji has not only gained a physician who comes recommended as one of more than ordinary skill, but as well a man of character and good standing. Dr. Gilmore has for the past few years been in practice of medicine at our neighboring town of Fosston, but feeling the desire to broaden out in the pursuit of his profession, he began to look about for some place where he might enlarge the sphere of his work, and happily decided upon this city as the scene of his future endeavors. The doctor has engaged a suite of office rooms in the Miles block. (Nov 20, 1902)

Occupants in 1904 City Directory: C.H. Miles; Irwin & O’Brien, Henry Funkley, attorney; Herbert J. Loud, attorney, and Jay L Reynolds, attorney, insurance agent, and Justice of the Peace; Ralph B. Foster, dentist; Dr. Rowland Gilmore, physician; Gilbert L. Goislee, physician; G. W. Campbell; U S Recruiting Office


Nangle Block

The Nangle Block was listed in the city directories at 217-221 Minnesota Avenue for the older building (1898-1911) and at 300 Third Street for the newer building (1911-2015) – depending on the building and which entrances took priority.

Charles Nangle came to Bemidji in 1898 and started his business in the Malzahn block. Charles Nangle purchased Lot 1, Block 16 of the original townsite on Nov 9, 1898 from Weagant for $1300. Weagant and Nangle filed the paperwork on Dec 9, 1898. Nangle then moved his business across the street from the Malzahn block, where he carried a fine stock of groceries, provisions, flour, feed, dry goods, clothing, boots, shoes and hardware. His first recorded sale to the county was $9.90 worth of jail supplies.

For some time Charles Nangle has contemplated retiring from the active politic to go into the mercantile business, and on Monday morning last, he waked up feeling fresh and clear-headed on the subject. As men do when they feel strong, he purchased the business lot occupied and owned by A. H. Weagant on the corner of Third and Minnesota. Before the sun had set on his resolution, he had made a purchase of the property at a cash price of $1,300 or about $200 less than it is worth. After completing the purchase, Mr. Nangle at once set sail for the twin cities to stock up for a big winter’s trade. Mr. Weagant says the sale was made by him because he seriously thinks of taking his family to a warmer climate on account of the frail health of Mrs. Weagant. (Bemidji Weekly Pioneer, Jan 19, 1899)

Dr. Thornthwaite, proprietor of an osteopathy school in Galveston, Texas, before the cyclone, has now located over Nangle’s general store. Female troubles a specialty. Consultation free. Call and see him. (Dec. 19, 1900)

Nangle went out of business and held big “Going Out of Business” sale starting in March 1911 – everything had to go by April 10, 1911. He then replaced the building. Nangle built the commodious building at the corner of Third Street and Minnesota Avenue,

This morning the plans for the new building, which Charles Nangle is to erect, were placed in his hands by Thomas Johnson the architect. Mr. Nangle is today advertising for bids for the building of the new structure. From the plans of the building, the first floor of which is to be used by Mr. Nangle as a grocery store and the second floor for the new quarters of the Bemidji Commercial Club, it is evident that the building is to be modern in every respect and that it will be a credit to the city of Bemidji. (Mar 18, 1911)

BEMIDJI MERCHANT RETIRES
Charles Nangle, In Business Here Since 1897 Closes Out. With the selling of his stock, Charles Nangle, who has been in business here since 1897, and who is considered one of the city’s leading business men will retire. He has already sold his hardware stock to the Given Brothers Hardware company and is rapidly disposing of his other goods. Just as soon as his stock is taken from the building, on the corner of Minnesota avenue and Third street, work will be begun of the new structure which Mr. Nangle is to erect. In the new building the Commercial Club will have its new and modern quarters. (Mar 21, 1911)

Work has begun on moving the old Charles Nangle store building. The building has been on Minnesota Avenue by the side of the modern new business block on Third street during the work of construction of the new building. It will be moved to the Soo right of way and will be used by Mr. Nangle as a warehouse. (Aug 19, 1911)

A formal opening of the Commercial Club at its new quarters in the recently erected Nangle building, Third St and Minnesota Avenue, on Oct 12, 1911.

Chas. Nangle, residence (1913)

The new building is steam heated. Fred Anderson who is favorably known in Bemidji, having made his home here since 1905 with the exception of the past four years which he spent in the western part of the United States, will be in charge of the new hotel. Mr. Anderson has had considerable and well known experience with the public. He has leased the second story of the Nangle building for a long period and expects to conduct a first-class hotel. The hotel will be known as the Nangle hotel.

Anderson has now opened the hotel for business. The new furnishings have been put in place, his lease having taken effect January 1. The firm of Huffman & O’Leary of this city was the successful bidder for the furnishing of hotel and the building. (Jan 3, 1922)

Charles Augustine Nangle died Oct 20, 1933 in Beltrami County

Williams Hardware Co., wholesale was listed in this block (1934-35)

Williams Hardware announces the closing of its Bemidji branch. At one time Williams had 12 branches, the Bemidji branch is the last one to be closed. Jack Borland, branch manager, is retiring after 19 years of management. Ted Bruers and Ole Julin were offered positions with Williams in Minneapolis but they and their families have decided to stay here. (April 24, 1961)

The upstairs was a residence, a hotel, and an apartments complex under various names such as the Nan-Cen Apartments, the American Legion apartments, etc.

Gold Bond Gift Store was listed at 300 3rd Street in 1964.

The American Legion Club Building was in the building with the 219 Minnesota Avenue address until it was replaced by a newer one-story building — maybe 1990?. After twenty-five years, this brick building was sold to the owner of the 209 Bar in 2014.

 


O’Leary – Bowser Block

O’Leary & Bowser Block, 202 Third St.  P. J. O’Leary came to Bemidji in 1898 and opened a general store together with W. N. Bowser. The two gentlemen retired in 1909 although their store continued in a new brick block under the corporation name of O’Leary-Bowser Corp.  This building still has a data at the top which says 1909.

O’Leary-Bowser block (1927-28) (1934-1935)

Bemidji Bootery, Singer Sewing Machine in the O’Leary-Bowser Block (1934-1935)O'Leary-Bowser-Suman-Block-


Squall (1914)

Herbert Warfield and Harold White have purchased the sailboat “Squall” from C. D. Lucas, and already have the boat in the water and ready for sailing. It is the only sailboat in use on Lake Bemidji. (July 6, 1914)


Swedback Block

Swedback Block, 401 Beltrami Avenue, later the site of the Johnson Corner Drug in the 1950s.

John Swedback and E. J. Swedback purchased Lots 23 and 24, Block 11  on June 20, 1898 from the Bemidji Townsite and Improvement Company. This was the headquarters of the Swedback Brothers Construction firm which furnished lumber and materials for many of the homes and businesses of early Bemidji.

Dr. O. C. J. Thomas, osteopathic physician, has secured office rooms in the Swedback block. (Nov. 20, 1903)

Bailey & McDonald, Attorneys at Law; Mrs. Ida Jackson, music studio; Dr. F. E. Brinkman, Chiropractic  (1904)

Business Men’s Club held their meeting at the Swedback Block, (Oct 7, 1904)

Fire Destroys Swedback Block — Nov 24, 1904. Damages amounted to:

E.J. Swedback $ 8, 000

Bailey & McDonald  $4, 000

Bemidji Merc. Co $3,500

E S. Straw  $4,000

Dr. P. E Brinkman $100

Bemidji was yesterday visited by one of the most destructive and obstinate fires in its history. At 12 30 dense smoke was discovered pouring from the basement of the Swedback block on the south side from under the store room occupied by the Bemidji Mercantile Company. The department was on the scene within two minutes but the smoke proved so dense that entrance into the basement and in both f urnace room from which the smoke was pouring proved impossible.

Water was promptly turned on but the building is a brick veneered one, and it was soon evident that the fire had crept up the walls and that the building was doomed. Three streams of water were played upon the building at various vantage points but although no fire whatever could be seen dense volumes of smoke continued to pour from the basement and later from the roof of the building.

An immense crowd had by this time gathered and willing hands assisted the tenants of the block to get out their goods. Dr Brinkman lowered his goods from the front windows and Mrs. Jackson’s household effects and valuable collection of music were quickly taken from the rear. The valuable law library and papers of Bailey & McDonald suffered severely. When it became apparent that the fire could not be stayed the stock of the Bemidji Mercantile company and the shoe stock of E. S. Straw was taken from the building great loss being occasioned by the haste of removal.

The work of removing goods from the second story was attended by great discomfort and considerable danger. The rooms were filled with smoke and several of the workers were nearly overcome.

The day was chilly and the firemen had a most difficult task but every man of them worked bravely and unceasingly. From 12.30 in the afternoon until 11 o’clock at night three streams of water were kept playing on the building. For several hours the flames did not appear at all, but toward night it looked as though nothing whatever could be saved of the building. The firemen kept doggedly at the work, however, and their efforts were finally successful in staying the progress of the flames and saving the shell of the building.

The entire loss, as given above, aggregates almost $20,000 and of this amount the losers will receive about $10,000 insurance which had been carried upon the goods and building by the owners. The building was formerly the court house of Beltrami county and was remodeled three years ago by E. J. Swedback from a wooden building to a brick veneer structure, the lower rooms being occupied by stores and the upper ones for offices. Each of the tenants of the building have already looked up locations. The Bemidji Mercantile company will remove its stock to the building formerly occupied by I. Meyer & Co, Bailey & McDonald, the attorneys, will occupy the Miles block for a short time after which they will remove to the Hotel Markham block, and the other tenants have looked up locations but have not as yet decided where they will locate.

The most serious loss was felt by Mr. Swedback, as he valued the building at $8,000 and it is doubtful whether it could be replaced for the amount. Bailey & McDonald, the attorneys, feel very sorry over the loss of a number of valuable law books which were a part of their large library and which each member of the firm has striven to accumulate during the past twenty years. Many valuable files are also lost

Mr. Swedback will rebuild as soon as possible and intends to make the building a solid brick structure. He has already ordered glass and other material to replace the damage done to the building and will commence the clearing away of the debris as soon as the insurance adjustment is made.

Stray Embers. The crowd was as thick as the smoke.

The fire cut off all lights last night from the Swedback block to the court house on Beltrami avenue. Three fireman remained at the ruined building during the whole night to see that no new fire broke out.

E.S. Straw wishes to extend his heartfelt thanks to the firemen and the citizens who did everything in their power to save his property.

The day was a quiet one. A strong wind from the south would have made it difficult to save the wooden buildings north of the Swedback block.

The Straw shoe stock has been stored in the building formerly occupied by the Ross hardware store, where it awaits the coming of the insurance adjusters.

Bailey & McDonald this morning presented the fire department with a check for $25 in token of their appreciation of the faithful work of the department. Senator Swedback takes his loss very philosophically and speaks in the highest terms of the work of the firemen and of the assistance rendered by citizens.

M. Ibertson was compelled to move all his belongings out of his building next to the burning building. Mr. Ibertson’s building was not at all damaged by fire however.

The cause of the fire is a mystery. Several of the tenants had left the building but a few minutes before the alarm was turned in and none of them suspected fire. A big fire had been built in the furnace in order to carry over from yesterday noon until today. The furnace top is more than two feet from the ceiling, however, and the furnace was tightly closed. All the steam pipes in the basement were covered with asbestos. A rigid inspection this morning failed to give any clue as to the cause.

Swedback Block Rebuilt

The Post office is to be moved from lower Beltrami Avenue to the Swedback block. Result of considerable agitation by residents who live in the residence districts on north end of the city. The building, now occupied by the post office, is part of the W. F. street estate and has been used for a number of years past. The change will be appreciated by residents. (2/24/1905)

Post office moved tonight from present site on Beltrami Ave. to the north room of the Swedback Block – 5 yr. lease (4/1/1905)

Bemidji Townsite & Improvement Co., H. A. Simons, Agent. Swedback Bldg. (June 2, 1905)

Charles Swedback, the census enumerator, expects to open headquarters in the Swedback block where all information relating to enumeration of our people can be given. This is a step in the right direction and Charlie should be encouraged by giving him every assistance. (June 2, 1905)

J.A. Hoff, Painting, Paper Hanging, Located in rear of Swedback Bldg. (1905)

P.J. Russell. Attorney at Law, Bemidji. Physician and Surgeon Office: Swedback Block Residence Phone office Phone 18 (1905)

E.E. McDonald, Lawyer, Bemidji, Office: Swedback Block (1905)

Senator and Mrs. E. J. Swedback of this city left this morning on the south-bound M. &I. passenger train for Minneapolis where they will make their future home. Mr. Swedback stated that he was compelled to make this move on account of the illness of his wife, Mrs. Swedback being afflicted with asthma. The Swedback family leaves a host of friends in this city who are sorry to have them move away from Bemidji. The senator will return in about three weeks and will make an extended visit here. (Nov 07, 1908)

 

 


Thome- Mayer Block

202 Minnesota Avenue, Blk 18, south end of Lots 13-16, Orig townsite

Merchants Hotel, Merchants Saloon (1904)

Matt Mayer is getting along nicely with the work of raising his building on Minnesota Avenue. He was one of the first to begin the work of raising to the grade required under the new conditions and conforming to the establishment of the sewers and grading of the street. Matt owns the Merchants Hotel building and saloon and the Viking Saloon building. Victor Gustafson of Chisholm has the contract for raising the buildings and placing new foundation under them. (9/28/1906)

Fire on  Feb. 6, 1907

The buildings destroyed were located on Minnesota avenue, reaching from the corner of Second street to the alley, mid way between Second and Third streets.
The fire started in the building located between P. J. Russel’s office and the Merchants hotel, and was first discovered by Clarence Huck, night clerk at the Markham hotel, who saw the flames issuing from the rear of the structure. An alarm was quickly turned in, and the firemen responded with the apparatus. Although the fire boys worked diligently, the labors were much handicapped by an inadequate supply of water with which to cope with the fire. The flames, which had gained much headway before being discovered, spread rapidly, the Merchants hotel building and Thome & Mayer’s saloon, soon being enveloped and doomed to destruction. P. J. Russell’s office building and the saloon building adjoining on the north were soon in flames and the efforts to check the fire were unavailing, although the fire engine was brought to the scene and pressed into service.
The fire ate through the wooden structures until it reached the double block belonging to P. M. Dudley. This was soon a mass of flames, but the firemen made a stand at this point and stopped the fire before it leaped the alley to the north….

There were seven buildings, in all destroyed, as follows: Thome & Mayer, double building, one part saloon other hotel conducted by W. E Hazen; Thome & Mayer, saloon operated by E. Kinney; Mondeau estate, office of Attorney P. J. Russell; Mondeau estate, saloon operated by Andrew Dahl; P. M. Dudley, double building operated as saloon and hotel.

The building in which the fire originated was occupied by J. E. Kinney with a stock of liquors. At the time the fire was discovered by outsiders, there were four or five men in the saloon, besides the bartenders, none of whom knew the building was in flames until notified from outside. (Feb 6, 1907)

Having the utmost faith in the stability of Bernidjiand its future growth and development, Thome & Mayer will erect a handsome three-story brick block, to replace their building which was destroyed by fire on February 7th, and caused them a loss of over $15,000.
The next day after the fire, which was a heavy loss to the firm, Messrs Thome & Mayer began figuring on replacing the buildings which were burned. They consulted architects in various cities of the state, and had rough sketches of proposed submitted to them for their approval…. The new block will be of solid brick, 60×100 feet, three stories in height, and will be so constructed as to be used for a first class hotel with many rooms, a cafe, barber shop, store building, wareroom and several office rooms.
There will be a commodious basement, extending the full length of the entire building, which will be equipped with a laundry and will also contain the heating plant.
On the ground floor, the saloon of Thome & Mayer will occupy the room on the corner of Second Street and Minnesota avenue, which will be 20×60, and fitted with fine new fixtures. Extending on Minnesota avenue, there will be a room for use as a barber shop, 16×30, also a room to be rented for merchandise purposes, 24×65. In the center of the rear of the building, there will be a court, six feet wide, extending fifty feet, allowing light for all the rooms in that portion of the building.  On the Second Street side will be located the hotel office, dining room and kitchen.
On the second floor the eight front rooms will be used for offices and will be fitted out for that purpose, and are already leased in advance. The balance of the floor will be used for sleeping rooms, in connection with the hotel, there being sixty four rooms.
On the third floor there will be forty sleeping rooms for the hotel, which will be called “The Merchants.”
There will be bath rooms, closets, etc., and every requisite for a first-class hostelry.
The completed plans and specifications are now in the possession of the architect and will be returned to Thome & Mayer and bids requested for the erection of the building which will be opened and the contract awarded March 25.
It is estimated that the block will cost, when completed, $25,000, and will be one of the most substantial and handsome brick buildings in the city.

Work begun on rebuilding of hotel – May 17, 1907.

The Front of the New Merchants Hotel Building Gives Way and Falls to the Ground. The Loss Is Estimated at $5,000.00.

With a crash that could be heard over nearly the entire city, the front of the new Thome &  Mayer $20,000 brick block collapsed and fell to the ground yesterday evening, at about 8:30 o’clock, causing a general stampede of people who were in the vicinity of the block, corner of Minnesota and Second. Fortunately, no one was injured, and beyond a few bricks and a piece of stone crashing through the roof of the small wooden structure in front of the building, no damage was done to abutting property.
An inspection of the building by daylight this morning shows that the entire front is ruined, and that about ten feet of the side walls back from the front have been wrecked.
The block was almost completed to the top of the third story. The front had been enclosed and the work of completing the brick portion was being rushed and was almost ended. The partitions for the various rooms were placed, also some of the floors. In fact the exterior of the building was about finished and Contractor Kreatz was contented that he would soon have completed his contract. Mr. Kreatz was absent in Walker, but was telephoned regarding the accident, and stated that he would return to Bemidji as soon as he could come on the first train.
Frank B. Higby, who has had charge of the brick work and who was the superintendent of the building, says of the collapsing of the front. “The cause of the accident was the fact that the center pier of the building, which was under the eye beam, crushed from under the beam and was broken, which weakened the entire front, and having no strong support, the front gave away, taking with it about ten feet of the side walls, which were held in place by the iron anchors.”
“I was notified, about 7:30, that the pier was collapsing, and though I inspected the front thoroughly, I saw no way to prevent the wrecking of the front, under the circumstances
The crushing of the pier was the whole cause of the wrecking of the front.” (July 31, 1907)

The Hotel Burroughs, the elegant new hostelry located in the Thome & Mayer brick block, corner Minnesota avenue and Second street, will be formally opened to the public Saturday evening, when an elaborate dinner will be served to the public.

H. P. Burroughs, who has conducted the City Restaurant in this city for the last three years, is proprietor of the new hotel, and he has spared no pains or expense to make the Burroughs Hotel second to none in this part of the state. The Hotel Burroughs will run on the European plan, with all the accessories necessary for conducting a thoroughly up-to-date establishment.
The hotel occupies the greater portion of the Thome & Mayer block. The entrance to the office is located on Second Street, the corner of the building being used by Thome & Mayer for a refreshment parlor. The office is large and commodious and fully equipped for the convenience of the guests.
On the first floor there is also a dining room, and lunch room and kitchen. In the basement is located the laundry and two large sample rooms. On the second and third floors are the sleeping rooms, nearly all of which are equipped with baths.
Mr. Burroughs has spent a large sum of money in furnishing the hotel as a first class hostelry, and he has also engaged the very best help to assist him in conducting the hotel.
Amos Ward of Minneapolis has been engaged as the head chef of the hotel. He came here highly recommended as a cook. Miss Smith of Minneapolis will act as head waitress and have charge of the dining room. Ben Lyons, who was employed by Mr. Burroughs in the City Restaurant, will officiate as day clerk, and Erton Geil will be behind the desk nights, while H. P. Burroughs will have personal charge of the entire building.
Mr. Burrroughs is possessed of a gamey spirit which is a winner, and he will undoubtedly make a success of conducting the big hotel which bears his name. (Dec 6, 1907)

H.P. Burroughs may lose control of the Merchants hotel of this city. Thome & Mayer, the owners of the block, served papers yesterday on Mr. Burroughs for possession of the building alleging that Burroughs had broken the lease by failing to pay one month’s rent, amounting to $235.

The case will be taken before Judge Simons Tuesday morning at 10 o’clock, and in case the decision is in favor of the plaintiffs, a new man will take charge of the hotel soon after that date. Thome & Mayer received a telegram from the Boutell Bros.’ Furniture company of Minneapolis, who own part of the hotel furniture, stating that their representative would be here Monday to take charge of their interests. The rumor which has been going around to the effect that the state inspector of buildings has condemned the Thome & Mayer block is false. The building is in a sound condition and is perfectly safe, according to Thome & Mayer. (April 1908)

Burroughs will Vacate Hotel (April 4, 1908) Resumed business as Merchants Hotel

New Cigar Factory.
Roy Burkhart and Joseph Fleckenstein of Crookston, who will conduct a first-class cigar factory in Bemidji, arrived in the city today, prepare to begin action in getting out their new cigars. The gentlemen have leased rooms in the Thome & Mayer block (the Merchants hotel) and are awaiting the arrival of their large stock of tobaccos, when they will open up for business. Both Mr. Burkhart and Mr. Fleckenstein are past masters as cigarmakers, having been in the employ of H. F. Brown of Crookston whose name is a household word over west as connected with cigar perfection. (May 4, 1908)

Merchants Hotel write-up and photo of Thome-Mayer building in paper dated April 30, 1908. Opens with Meyer as manager, article May 7, 1908

Anton Rood filed a complaint with the council asking the revocation of the liquor license of Matt Thome, in the building known as the Merchants Hotel, giving as his cause that liquor was furnished and paid for after 11 o’clock p. m. This petition was referred to Mayor Pogue, to be brought up at the next meeting. (July 21, 1908)

CHICAGO RESTAURANT TO BE OPENED THURSDAY
Jacob Lee and Charles Gom Have Rented the Merchants Hotel Café and Dining Room.
Jacob Lee and Charles Gom, two Chinamen who came here recently from Chicago, have completed arrangements with Matt Mayer to rent the cafe and dining room of the Merchants hotel, and will conduct a first class establishment under the name of the Chicago restaurant. Messrs. Lee and Gom will conduct the restaurant on two plans, the American and the Chinese, and the bills of fare will be composed of viands of the two nations. The Chicago Resturant will open for business next Thursday with an excellent dinner and Messrs. Lee and Gom invite the people of this community to patronize this place, which they intend to conduct in a clean and up-to-date manner. (Feb 27, 1909)

Mentioned in following papers: Dec 2, 1908; Mar 16, 1909; Jan 12, 1910; May 12, 1910

Rex Hotel opens – Proprietor and manager is Thomas Bailey. July 14, 1910.  Lengthy article.

Mr. Thome formerly conducted the Merchants Hotel on the corner of Second Street and Minnesota avenue, the present site of the Rex Hotel. (April 26, 1911)

Rex Hotel, Lycan & Co., Proprs., R. B. Lycan Mngr., 202 Minnesota Avenue in 1912-13.

W.L. Meyers who was burned out in the Rex Hotel fire (fire on Nov 5, 1912) has asked the council to transfer his license from the Rex hotel building to the Stechman building on Third street and his request was granted. (Dec 3, 1912)

Fire Ruins (1914 Sanford map)

City attorney instructed to take up with the Duluth Brewing Co., the matter of tearing down the old Rex Hotel walls, etc. (May 25, 1914)

Matt Mayer moved his family to Grant Valley and became constable of Grant Valley in 1922. Mathias Mayer died Dec 29, 1929 in Crow Wing County, Mn. Buried in Greenwood Cemetery.  Matt Thome and his family moved to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin late in October 1917.