How Many Saloons Were There?

Were there really 50 saloons in Bemidji, 100 saloons? Or just how many were there really? When Charles V. Vandersluis was mayor, there were 28 saloons running with an annual license fee of $1000 each, generating $28,000 a year in revenue for Bemidji. When the saloons closed, and the city of Bemidji fell into financial trouble, Vandersluis put the city on a cash basis and fought to eventually get the city back on track and financially stable.

Bemidji was ripe for the saloon trade, as it had an influx of lumberjacks at the end of each winter season, and with that came the card sharks and the ladies of the night as well. In addition, it was a thriving marketplace and jumping off point for homesteaders and railroaders. Bemidji was wide open.

One could assume the saloons were close to the railroad tracks and located in the same neighborhoods as the hotels and restaurants. They were – and the neighborhood of 2nd and 3rd Streets between the lake shore and Park Avenue hosted most of them.

The City of Bemidji issued 25 liquor licenses for the fiscal year Feb 12, 1901 to Feb 12, 1902. Yet, the Bemidji Pioneer reported on Dec 26, 1901:  “Saloon number 41 opened this week in the building formerly used by the Boston store, with the enterprising Pelry & Co. as proprietors. The building has been thoroughly remodeled, refloored and papered, and with its expensive fixtures and roomy apartments, is in the “swell” order.” Walter Brooks, early Bemidji banker, recalled, “In 1901, we had forty-two saloons open twenty-four hours a day, without a key, and they were each paying a thousand dollars a year license fees to the village.” There seems to be a discrepancy between what was popularly believed and what the fiscal record tells.

Bemidji was founded in 1896, and the saloon trade only lasted until Nov 30, 1914.  Bemidji’s saloons were ordered closed years before Prohibition and the Volstead Act. Why?

Bemidji was found to be in Indian territory in 1910, and all the saloons in northern Minnesota covered by the 1855 Treaty were ordered to close.

One of the first confrontations between the federal government and two saloon owners happened on November 16, 1910. As the agents of the Indian bureau went into town, they faced a shot gun in the hands of one of the liquor men who, a moment before had hit Agent Matulys on the head, knocking him from a high platform where he landed on a broken beer bottle, inflicting a gash on his leg.

The first place the agents entered was Dudley & Mahan’s, which was located in the heart of the business district. Dudley carried a large stock and did a thriving business with the middle class. T. Brents, who was in charge of the Indian bureau’s sub-agency in Bemidji, assisted Agent Matulys. He approached Mr. Dudley and told him that he had ignored three warnings from the government and that he had re-opened his saloon after being closed by the government. Brents had received a telegram with orders from W. E. Johnson, head of the Indian Bureau, that he should destroy Dudley’s liquor stock.

The work of destruction began at once, barrels were broken open, casks dumped and bottled goods smashed. Destroyed in this one place were 21 barrels of whiskey, 2 barrels of alcohol, 11 cases of bottled goods, 3 cases of bitters, 10-gallon keg of whiskey, cases of fancy whiskey, 4 cases of champagne, and 4 barrels of wine.

From the Dudley & Mahan place, the agents marched on the Lakeshore saloon on Second Street. Louis Anderson offered no resistance, and after taking a drink of his own whiskey, turned the place over to the government agents, who quickly destroyed 5 barrels of whiskey, 10 cases of bottled whiskey, 2 cases of Rock and Rye, 10 gallons of wine and 10 gallons of gin. Anderson did object, however, to the fact that the agent also dumped a barrel of cider, and he felt that since cider was not a liquor, someone should have to pay him for it.

When agents returned in December 1910 to close the saloons, there were 24 places doing business. The agents went to each saloon and told the proprietors to clear the place out, lock the door and have their  supplies packed and ready for shipment out of Bemidji by 6 p.m. There was no resistance but as soon as the two agents returned to the Markham Hotel, Deputy Sheriff Rutledge served them with injunctions prepared by Bemidji Attorney E. E. McDonald. The two federal agents accepted the injunctions without protest and proceeded at once to St. Paul to determine the next course of action.

Under the protection of the injunctions, twelve saloons re-opened after being closed for three hours, and as they were the only saloons open in the entire territory, they were soon doing a thriving business. The twelve saloons were conducted by: John Dalton, John Larson, H. Gunsalus, F. E. Brinkman, A. Marshik, J. E. Maloy, Ed Fay, J. H. Sullivan, E.E.Gearlds, Edwin Gearlds, Frank S. Lycan, and L. J. Kramer. Three saloons had voluntarily quit business, owing to the fact that their supplies had become exhausted. These places were run by Frank Lane, Chris Olson and Jesse Anderson.

After the saloon keepers went into court and got the injunction, this was reversed by the Supreme Court in May of 1914. The liquor interests filed an application for a rehearing, but the United States Supreme Court again went on record upholding the 1855 treaty as the law of the district.

When the closing order came down in October 1914, there were 25 saloons were doing business here.  Frank Gagnon, A. B. Hazen, M. H. Hazen and M. J. Sullivan were granted renewals but they did not take out licenses, cutting the number to twenty-one. On November 16 the license of Frank S. Lycan expired and on November 19, that of John Dalton. Both were granted renewals by the council, but the licenses were not taken out. This left the number in operation on November 30 at nineteen.

When the final order came through, there were no more protests. Frank S. Lycan, who operated a bar in connection with the Markham hotel, was the first man upon whom the closing order was served. Larson then made his way from saloon to saloon, politely introducing himself as Henry A. Larson, special Indian agent, and left a copy of the closing order.

Fred E. Brinkman took out the last license on October 18 and had operated on it little more than one month when he was closed. Frank Lane and Andrew Dahl took out licenses as late as August.

The saloon keepers who were forced to close their places of business on November 30, were: McKinnon brothers, George A. Tanner, Ole Anderson, Thomas McCarthy, John E. Croon, M. Gustavson, J. W. Oppie, John Bye, Andy McNabb, Lars L. Lind,; Gennis & Layon, J. E. Maloy, Matt Thome, Harry Gunsalus, E. K. Anderson, Larkin & Dale, Frank Lane, Andrew Dahl, and F. E. Brinkman.

Over the next two years, the saloon owners sought to get refund of their unused license money, and the local newspaper covered that fight until mid-1916.

Arcade Saloon

Arcade Saloon, 400 Minnesota Ave. (1904)

The fire department was called out last night at 3:30 to extinguish a blaze in the rear of the
Arcade saloon. The fire started from a cigar which was thrown into a pile of dry boxes near the Brinkman barn. In a few moments the entire building seemed to be doomed, but the fireman arrived in time to prevent any serious damage to property. (Aug 4, 1904)

Dr. Warninger opened an office in the rear of the Arcade Saloon, 4th St. (Oct 18, 1904)

H.E. Anderson, who has been employed at the C. M. Bacon refreshment parlors for a number of years past, has completed a deal for the purchase of the Arcade Saloon at the corner of Minnesota avenue and Fourth Street from L. Blooston, the proprietor. Mr. Anderson will take charge of the saloon on Oct. 2. (Sept 27, 1905)

The council  ordered walks to be built at the corner of Fourth street and Minnesota avenue on the west side of the Arcade saloon, to be built in accordance with the ordinances governing same. (July 28, 1908)

The Duluth Brewing & Malting Company asked for permission to utilize one-third of Fourth Street, on one side of the Arcade saloon building, which building will be remodeled and put into first class shape by this concern. The permission was granted by the council. (April 12, 1910)

Mayor Parker called attention to the fact that Chris Olson, proprietor of the Arcade saloon on Fourth and Minnesota, was to transfer into the fourth ward, so that made it possible to segregate all saloons in this district. “All of our saloons are now in the fourth ward,” said Mayor Parker, “and I think this would be a good time to establish a saloon limit and to keep them there. All of the larger cities and most of the  smaller ones have a saloon limit. Do not think they do not think they should be allowed north of Fourth street nor west of America. If agreeable to that Council, I would ask that a resolution be drawn up to that effect, to establish a saloon limit. We could handle them better. As it is, they go anywhere they like. I would like to hear the opinion of members of the council. (May 30, 1911)

And then all the saloons were closed in Bemidji on Nov 30, 1914.

The complete equipment of the Scarrot pool and billiard parlors has been moved from its former location at 119 Third Street to the corner of Fourth Street and Minnesota avenue, in the old Arcade saloon building. Repairs are being made on the building, which will make the new location a great improvement over the old one. The new parlors will be opened some time this week. (Dec 6, 1915)

Bank Saloon

Bank Saloon

Mr. A. Clavin of Little Falls, bought the Ed. Boyd lot on Third street and is putting up a building for a first class saloon. He is one ahead of Woodward, who is expected here next week. (Feb 3, 1898)

Clavin & Tanner purchased Lot 10, Blk 15, Orig townsite on 7/9/1899 for $300 from the Bemidji Townsite Co. This might be the Bank Saloon, April 19, 1900.

The Bank Saloon was located at 212 Third Street and in the 1930’s was the site of the Larson Shoe Store. It is now a parking lot.

Henry Partridge and P. J. Murtaugh. two employees of the Bank saloon left this morning for Park Rapids, where they will visit with friends for a short time. (Sept 13, 1904)

Alex McGinnis, a bartender employed at the Bank saloon, was found dead in his room at the Tremont hotel Saturday night about 11:30 o’clock. Upon the commode by his bedside stood a bottle of beer, half drank, and a small vial containing a few grains of strychnine sulphate, and from all appearances the man is a victim of suicide.
He was found by Thomas Nelson, his room mate, who intended to retire for the night. Nelson went upstairs and when he entered the room saw McGinnis lying upon the bed, face up, with all his clothes on excepting his shoes, which were lying by the bedside. Nelson did not think for the moment that anything was wrong, and attempted to wake the man, but was horrified to find that the man was dead.

He immediately told the proprietor of the house, who telephoned for City Health Officer Ward and Deputy Coroner Lahr, who arrived in a few minutes and made an examination of the man and the room, after which the remains were taken to the morgue, where they will await burial.

McGinnis arrived in the city about three weeks ago, and it is thought that he came here in quest of his wife, from whom he was divorced six years ago. He found the woman, Mrs. Delia McGinnis, who was staying with a family in this city, but after the first meeting she left for Duluth, and has been staying in that city since the meeting.

He went to work as bartender at the Bank saloon two weeks ago yesterday and has been employed there ever since. On Saturday night he came into the saloon and secured $1 in money, and from there went to another saloon, where he bought a round of drinks, afterwards purchasing a bottle of beer. He left there at 11 o’clock, and it is thought that he went directly to his room and took the poison, as the body was warm when found, and it was evident that he had been  dead only a few minutes. The pillows showed marks of where he had clutched them in the final convulsions before death.

Nelson, the roommate of the dead man, says that McGinnis has contemplated ending his life for some time past, as on Friday night as they were both lying in the bed together, McGinnis told him that he intended to end his existence, as he wished to get away from his troubles. This was verified this morning when an examination of the man’s valise was made, a bottle of laudanum being found in the bottom of it.

Mrs. McGinnis has been notified of the death of McGinnis, and two brothers who are now in the west will be located as soon as possible and given notice of the affair. These are the only known relatives of the dead man. (Feb 6, 1905)

Brothers Meet Again at Bank Saloon
The meeting of two brothers who had been separated for 14 years, during which time neither had heard anything from or about the other, occurred this morning at the Bank saloon, when Oscar Berg, aged 32,  and John Berg, aged 30, met, recognized each other and talked over boyhood days in far off Sweden.
The meeting was brought about in a peculiar manner. One of the brothers, Oscar, has been a lumber-camp employee in this vicinity for a number of years past and has acquaintances in this city. He arrived in Bemidji last night and spent the evening in visiting with his friends here. This morning the other brother, who resembles Oscar to a great extent, happened into the Bank saloon, where Oscar had spent a portion of the previous evening, and one of the employees of the saloon accosted him with “Good morning. Oscar.” Berg, who had never before been in the refreshment parlor, was dumbfounded at being called by his brother’s name, and upon questioning the saloon employee he learned that an Oscar Berg was in the city.
The latter was soon brought to the saloon, where each of the brothers recognized the other. Neither of the men have families and have for the past 11 to 14 years traveled over the entire United States. Oscar left his home in Sweden in 1891 and John in 1894. (Dec 14, 1905)

Bank Saloon suffered damage to its stock in the Naylor fire on June 21, 1906.  The fire totally gutted the Naylor Furniture Company and damaged the rear of the Turf Saloon, but through some dedicated work by the firemen, they saved the wooden buildings. It had rained for the previous two weeks so that helped also because the wood in the buildings on Third Street was not so dry.

Bank Saloon was still operating in 1911. It was mentioned in the evidence against Dumas and Smyth in the Dumas Case in 1911, such as “Meet me in front of the Bank Saloon.”

Bemidji Club Saloon

217 Beltrami Avenue

Bemidji Club Saloon, Charles Campbell (1904)

John Dalton has accepted a position at the Bemidji Club saloon. (Sept 1904)

The application of John Dalton for the transfer of the liquor license of Chas. Campbell for the unexpired term ending Nov. 19, to Dalton Bros., was granted. (Aug 20, 1907)

Club Restaurant (1910-1911)

Blue Front

Blue Front

This corner, lots 11 and 12 of Block 17, on the southeast corner of Minnesota Avenue and Third Street were sold by the Townsite Company to Susannah Carson in 1897. She sold them in 1899 to Mary Kelliher. Eventually, they became the property of the Fitger Brewing Company. This was the site of the earlier Stockholm Saloon. The name “Blue Front” does not appear until 1910.

Frank Tague, who is conducting the Blue Front restaurant, left this morning for Omaha, where he will visit with his parents for two weeks. (Jan 4, 1910)

Andrew Lysacker, who conducts the Blue Front saloon on Minnesota avenue, between Second and Third St., was arrested on a charge of operating a dumb waiter by which it was alleged that he carried liquor to the rooms over the saloon. Mrs. Oranger was arrested on the charge of running a house of ill fame over the saloon. E. E. McDonald appeared for the defendants and City Attorney Torrance for the prosecution. The case was continued until next Tuesday to accommodate the counsel for the defense. (May 26, 1910)

Julius Dahl, a member of the Bemidji police force, who was suspended last night by Acting Mayor Kirk until Mayor Parker returns Saturday, was fined $50 and costs or 60 days in the county jail in the municipal court this morning on a charge of assaulting Jack Oranger Tuesday evening.

Oranger testified Tuesday morning to the racy actions of Policemen Dahl and Smith, while on the stand in the Eva Langdon case, in which that woman was fined $50 and costs for running a house of ill fame over the Blue Front saloon. A. W. Lysacker proprietor of this saloon, was fined at the Tuesday trial $100 and costs for operating a dumb waiter by which liquor was carried to the second floor. It was brought out in the testimony this morning that Dahl took offense at the statements made by Oranger, and Tuesday evening while on the corner of Third street and Minnesota avenue Dahl threw his star to Policeman Smith and then struck Oranger. Dahl continued to serve on the police force and last evening Mr. Kirk suspended him, pending the return of Mr. Parker.

Lysaker has been cited by the council to appear next Monday evening and show cause why his license should not be revoked. It is broadly hinted on the streets that action against Mr. Smith will be taken by Mayor Parker on his return Saturday or by the city council Monday night. (June 5, 1910)

In Bemidji  government agents Sero and Brents clapped the lid on the selling of malt. Five places where “soft” drinks are sold were visited and the proprietor ordered to get rid of his stock of malt before the day is over. At noon most of them had already complied. At the Blue Front place on Minnesota avenue five cases of malt were confiscated, taken out on the street and dumped. The agents say the malt contained four per cent of alcohol and were in fact labeled as beer. (Oct 6, 1910)

Tricked by Government Agent, Grace Jones Pays $103.
Grace Jones, arrested in the Minnesota avenue resort known as the “Blue Front” was found guilty before Special Municipal Judge Pendergast yesterday afternoon on charges of running a disorderly house and of having sold liquor without a license.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy Special Officer N. J. Sero, and is in line with the government’s renewed determination to stop the sale of liquor in the Indian district. The evidence in the case was secured by two men disguised as lumber Jacks. These men testified that they purchased liquor and that women in the place approached them almost as soon as they entered. Judge Pendergast fined the woman $100 and costs of $3. She was defended by Attorney Scrutchin. She desired to appeal to the district court but was unable to secure bail and paid the fine. (Oct 19, 1910)

After Lysacker lost his license, there were two liquor license applications for the building known as the “Blue Front” saloon, these being by Lars L. Lind and Robert Nelson. The aldermen decided that the applications should be laid on the table until the next meeting and the qualifications of both men looked into. (Feb 21, 1911)

Charles and Grace Jones Taken Before Judge Pendergast on Several Serious Charges.
Pleads Guilty to Having Run House of Prostitution and Selling Liquor Without License.
Yesterday afternoon warrants were sworn out by Mayor J. C. Parker for the arrest of both Charles and Grace Jones, on three charges, two being against Mrs. Jones, one for running a house of prostitution and the other for having sold liquor without a license, the warrant against Jones was for having sold liquor without a license.
Jones has been operating a restaurant in the building which has been known as the “Blue Front” saloon building. When arraigned before Judge Pendergast in municipal court last evening, Mrs. Jones entered a plea of guilty to both the charges made against her, and was fined $100 and costs for each warrant, a total of $206. Judge Pendergast found Jones guilty of having sold intoxicating liquors without a license and fined him $50 and costs or $53. It is very evident that Mayor Parker wishes to put a stop to all places which are being run in a questionable manner, and his action yesterday, goes to prove that he will not tolerate such conditions as he found to be existing in the “Blue Front.”
This is the second time in the past six months that both Mr. and Mrs. Jones have been arrested on September 15 Jones was arrested and fined $50 and costs for selling liquor without a license and on October 19 Mrs. Jones was arrested for conducting a house of prostitution and fined $100 and costs.
The city council refused to grant Jones a liquor license several weeks ago, there being a unanimous feeling among the aldermen that he was an unfit person to hold such a license. It is intimated that other arrests will follow shortly. (Feb 25, 1911)

The Blue Front was destroyed in a major fire on Jan 13, 1912 which wiped out three saloons and several other places of business on Third Street. The fire was believed to have started in the two-story frame building on Minnesota Avenue known as the “Blue Front” building occupied by Lars Lind but Mr. Lind did not believe this to be true. “There had been no fire in the kitchen since 8 o’clock,” said Mr. Lind, “and it looked to me as if the flames broke out in the next building. It was a blessing that the fire started when it did or some persons might have perished. My two children, 9 and 11, scampered out of bed and ran almost naked to the barber shop where they were saved. No one else was in danger.”

The furnishings in the Lind place were owned by Robert Nelson who at one time carried $3,000 insurance which he had reduced to $700. Mr. Lind will continue his business if he can find a suitable location.

It was also announced  by Theodore Tharaldson, agent for the Fitger Brewing company, that his company would erect two new brick buildings, one on Third street, next to the Brinkman hotel and the other on Minnesota avenue where the Lars Lind place, formerly known as the “Blue Front” stood. The Fitger company owned the buildings that were destroyed and also owned the lots. Mr. Tharaldson received word from headquarters today that it had been decided to put up “brick buildings that will be a credit to the town,” but the specific plans have not been decided upon. (Jan 24, 1912)

Application was made by Lars L. Lind and Harry Gunsalus for the transfer of location, of their liquor licenses, the same being granted, all aldermen present voting aye. (Feb 23, 1912)

When the new building put up by George Kreatz at the southeast corner of Minnesota and Third was completed, Lars Lind, along with Gill and Akerberg and Kittleson took rooms facing Minnesota Avenue. Ed Anderson and Harry Gunsalus occupied rooms facing on Third Street. The second story was planned as a rooming house. (Sept 10, 1912)

All saloons were closed on Nov 30, 1914 in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling regarding liquor restrictions within the areas of the Indian Treaty of 1855.

Conley & Dudley

Conley & Dudley, 220 Third Street.

Conley & Dudley’s new saloon on Third street was opened in due form Tuesday night, and the Bemidji band furnished the music. Lunch was served. In spite of the storm, a large crowd was in attendance. The interior of the building has been fitted up most elegantly, and the fact that James Conley is one of the proprietors is sufficient guarantee that the new place will be run right. (April 24, 1902)

Praying for a license to sell intoxicating liquors for the term commencing on April 18. 1902 and terminating on April 18, 1903  CONLEY & DUDLEY. Front room, first floor, of the two-story frame building, located on lot 11 block 17, original townsite of Bemidji.

The partnership hitherto existing between Conley and Charles Dudley, co-partners as Conley & Dudley in the saloon and retail liquor business at Bemidji, Minn., has been dissolved and that the said Conley and Dudley have sold and transferred to Anderson and Company of Bemidji, and that as part consideration of said sale, said Anderson & Company assume and agree to pay the outstanding liability and indebtedness of said Conley and Dudley to the Duluth Brewing and Malting Co., Knudson & Ferguson, O’Leary & Bowser, Roger Martin and Koehler & Martin, Attested: Chas. W. Scrutchin, John M. Martin, Anderson & company, Conley & Dudley. Dated July 15, 1902.

This then became Anderson’s Grand Forks Saloon.

Grand Forks Saloon

Grand Forks Saloon, 220 Third Street

Grand Forks Saloon, owned by E. K. Anderson (1904)

Ed Anderson, the genial proprietor of the Grand Forks saloon is making a number of improvements to the interior of his saloon. The building will be redecorated throughout and when all the work is finished Ed will have one of the finest places in the city. (April 18, 1904)

It would appear that E R. Anderson had a loss due to fire in 1905. “The Fitger building on Third street, which was damaged by the recent disastrous fire, has been renovated and replastered and is again occupied by E R. Anderson, the former proprietor of the Grand Forks saloon.” (Feb 2, 1905)

I. Halvorson accepted a position at the Grand Forks Saloon (Mar 20, 1905)I

In the spring, E. R. Anderson had the front of the building repainted and redecorated. (June 1, 1905)

Harry Tanner is working a shift at the Grand Forks saloon during the illness of Mr. Anderson. (April 1907)

E. K. Anderson, proprietor of the Grand Forks saloon, and James Wilkin of Cass Lake, the agent for the Fitger Brewing Co., drove to Fowlds today to transact some busihess with Charles Saxrud of that place. (April 25, 1908)

In 1910, the city council removed all the benches in front of the saloons along Third Street to prevent loitering.

The Anderson Saloon was destroyed in the major fire on January 13, 1912. “Adjoining the Gunsalus saloon on the east was the E. K. Anderson saloon and this fell a ready prey to the onrushing billows of flames which swept over the two story Anderson building breathing perilous blasts on the Brinkman structure, the ignition of which meant destruction for every building on the south side of Third Street. Firemen applied steady pressure coursing through every foot of hose at the command of the department, together with the splendid resistance of the Brinkman brick wall, succeeded in blocking the flames, and at 4 a. m. Sunday morning danger of a further spread of the flames was over.” The building was owned by the Fitger Brewing Company, and the business by Ed Anderson. At the Anderson place, a woman begged the firemen to carry out her piano. “Too busy,” said the fireman and the last thing the woman did before making for safety was to play “Home, Sweet Home.” (Jan 15, 1912)

Anderson said he did not intend to rebuild. Instead he opened a place in the new building put up at the corner of Minnesota and 3rd in the fall of 1912.

All saloons were closed in Nov 2014 in Bemidji.

William McDermid ran a pool hall, soft drink parlor and furnished rooms and lived at this address in 1920. Wife Ethel. Samuel McDermid was a clerk for the place. They all lived at this address as well. (1920-1921)

Great Northern Saloon

222 Minnesota Avenue 

Saloon (Sanborn Map, 1909) Saloon was destroyed by fire in January 1912.

The new building put up by George Kreatz at the corner of Minnesota and Third has been completed and is being occupied by the tenants. Ed Anderson and Harry Gunsalus will occupy rooms facing on Third Street while Akerberg and Kittleson, Gill and Lars Lind will have rooms facing Minnesota avenue. The second story will be used as a rooming house. (Sept 10, 1912)

Great Northern Saloon, Harry Gunsalus, Saloon (1913)

Harry Gunsalus, alias “Big Harry,” has been running a wide-open gambling house in his block at the southeast corner of Minnesota avenue and Third street. When open gambling was eliminated from Bemidji, Gunsalus kept open and had never said he intended to quit. He was arrested by Deputy Sheriff Cahill. He was fined $100 and sentenced to 30 days in jail. (Jan 5, 1918)

Vickers buys two-story corner brick block on SE corner of Third and Minnesota for $22,000. Good article. Feb 2, 1919

Peerless Saloon

Peerless Saloon, 201 Minnesota Ave.

The Peerless saloon on Minnesota avenue has been closed by the sheriff. A. E. Gauvreau was the proprietor. (Feb 11, 1905) Alphonse Gauvreau of 201 Minnesota Ave. was actually a barber but lived at this address on the 1905 census.

John Meyers, proprietor of the Peerless saloon, was fined $5 and costs in Judge Skinvik’s court this morning after pleading guilty to a charge of assault. Meyers engaged Herman Geise, a farmer living east o the city in a fight and was afterwards arrested. (Aug 21, 1905)

Carl Borsvald, proprietor of the Peerless saloon, made a business trip to Bemidji the first of the week. (Puposky News, May 12, 1906)

Carl Borsvold former proprietor of the Peerless Saloon was in Puposky last week. Mr. Borsvold intends to open up a saloon at Fosston in the near future. (Aug 9, 1906)

No further mention of the Peerless Saloon after this date.

Pioneer Saloon

A stalwart woodsman was put down and out in one of the fastest rough and tumble events which has recently occurred at Jens Hansen’s saloon, early this morning. Henry Hopis, the bartender, did the job, and an iron cuspidor was the medium. The bartender and the woodsman became involved in a dispute over the payment of drinks. The woodsman stepped up to the bar and laid his money down for a long chance, when the wall flowers promptly lined up and the bar boy served all hands around. The woodsman did not feel it his duty to settle the bill and a dispute followed in which both were quite aggressive. The woodsman started to take the bartender into camp and the latter struck him a vicious blow over the head with a cuspidore. He was unconscious for some time and the blow was at first believed to be fatal. Dr. Morrison was promptly summoned and by prompt work succeeded in stopping the flow of blood from the wound. He will suffer no serious effects aside from an ugly scar and is resting easily at present. Hopis paid his doctor bill and was in police court on a charge of assault, where he paid his fine of $25 and costs. Hanson’s place is the Pioneer saloon next to the Lumbermen’s bank and it has been notorious for some time. The council is expected to take steps to revoke his license at once as complaints against the place have been too frequent of late to warrant a further show of leniency. (Bemidji Pioneer, April 9, 1904)

The Stone Front

The “Stone Front” is the name Al Robbins has given his new saloon on 3rd Street. It opened for business Monday. The structure is a “brick” for beauty and finish, being a 25×60 feet two stories, and an addition will probably be added in the future for hotel purposes. Mr. Robbins is an old resident in Bemidji, and his many friends will doubtless keep him busy in his new business. (Bemidji Weekly Pioneer, October 26, 1899)

This saloon was located on the southeast corner of Third & Minnesota at 222 Third Street on Lot 12 of Block 17.

Susannah Carson and G. M. Carson, her husband, sold Lots 11 and 12 of Block 17 of the original townsite of Bemidji to Mary Kelleher of the County of Crow Wing for $4,000 on August 28, 1899. This was the SE corner of Minnesota Ave and 3rd St.

James Kelleher of Brainerd is one of the non-resident investors who has confidence in Bemidji. He was early in the field in Bemidji and bought ground and constructed a nice two-story business building on Third Street. He also bought the Northern Hotel property at the corner of Third Street and Minnesota Avenue. During the winter of 1899-1900, he had the building raised and a higher foundations made and has had it improved throughout and fitted up in first class style. A. Z. Robbins now occupies the building. (January 1900)

This building was destroyed by fire in January 1912.

Three Guardsmen

Three Guardsmen, 205 Second Street

“Three Guardsmen” — This is the romantic name to be given to a first-class saloon to be opened to the public soon on Second Street. The building which has been used since last fall as a billiard hall and bath parlor, and owned by Ted Smith, is being refitted and made modern in every respect. Messrs. Conley, Moe and Smith constitute the firm, and they are all hustling, courteous and popular gentlemen, which will redound to the popularity of the new saloon.

The pool tables will be bidden goodbye, but the bath parlors will be continued up stairs, much to the accommodation of the public who have been educated where to go when their hide needs an outside polish by a hot or cold bath. Internal baths of the finest imported and domestic liquors can be found down stairs. (April 4, 1901)

Benny Moe, one of the genial members of the Three Guardsmen, took a flying trip to West Superior, Wis., last week to visit relatives. (Aug 1, 1901)

James Conley, Ben Moe and Ted Smith, doing business under the firm name of Conley, Moe & Smith, have this day dissolved said co-partnership and hereafter Ted Smith will conduct the saloon business at the same place, and all accounts due to said firm are owned and will be collected by the said Ted Smith and all debts against said firm are assumed and will be paid by said Ted Smith in consideration of said dissolution of partnership. Dated this 4th day of March, 1902.

Attested: TED SMITH
Charles W Scrutchin,
John M. Martin.

The Three Guardsmen opened on June 1, 1902 under new management, with a first class stock of liquors and cigars. The new management has concluded to retain the services of Ted Smith as manager, and hope for the patronage of their old customers in the future. (June 5, 1902)

Bennie Moe, formerly of the Three Guardsmen, but who is now running a saloon in Crookston, was in the city the first of the week. (Aug 1902)

James M. Connelly, of Hibbing, is in the city renewing acquaintances. Mr. Connelly was formerly one of the firm of the Three Guardsmen. He may decide to locate in Bemidji again. (July 7, 1904)

The bath room at the Three Guardsmen will be open today. Numerous repairs have been made to the interior of the rooms and they present a much neater appearance than heretofore. (Dec 3, 1904)

Ted Smith Sells Out.
Ted Smith, proprietor of the “Three Guardsmen” saloon and bath rooms on Second street, has disposed of the property to the Fitger Brewing company, who have leased the building to Stearns, Bamber & Manchester of Detroit, Mich. The new firm took charge of the establishment today and will conduct a first class establishment. A grand opening of the establishment will occur within the next week. (July 3, 1905)

Ted Smith was the first Mayor of Bemidji. His wife, Mrs. Cora Kincannon, was a Spiritualist and as a medium, conducted services in Bemidji and later in Spokane, Washington. Ted Smith was also a Spiritualist.

Ted Smith was one of the first white men to locate in the vicinity of Bemidji. He came to this city prior to the advent of the railroad, and was prominently identified with the growth and development of the city. Mr. Smith was a member of the first village council, being elected president, and being known as “the mayor.” He was one of the most prominent residents of the early days in this city. Together with his wife, he moved to Spokane, Wash., and  made his home in that city ever since.

Ted Smith committed suicide just before Christmas in December 1907. It was known that he had been unable to raise sufficient money to complete the payment on the bar fixtures in the Spokoma bar, which he owned, and for several other small debts, but as he had refused only a week before $8500 for his property on Moran prairie, he was considered well to do. Mr. Smith was 47 years old and a native of England, where he is said to have a sister, who is wealthy. (Bemidji Pioneer, Dec 24, 1907)

Lost in Woods.
While returning from a visit with friends in the northwest part of the city, William Stearns of the Three Guardsmen last night became lost in the dense woods which characterize that vicinity and was unable to find his way down town until he was directed by a passing pedestrian. (Aug 28, 1905)

The Three Guardsmen Saloon was next managed by Carl and Annie Borsvold, who had previously managed the Peerless Saloon.

The property eventually became the Olson Cafe, Dahl;s Cafe, and then Snider’s Cafe.

All the quoted information is from the Bemidji Pioneer, and the Bemidji Daily Pioneer, from the website