Your Complete Guide to Itasca County Minnesota




Cities & Towns




Resorts A-L
Resorts M-Z


© 2003 Lakeweb1
 Internet Services

All Rights Reserved

Visit the ItascaWeb Shopping Guide
Deals * Offers * Sales Sale! Save up to 50%!

Quality Affordable Dental Coverage with 3 Months FREE!

120x60 $500 Shopping Spree Sweepstakes

Join over 2,500,000 customers that enjoy the simplicity of ordering contact lenses from 1-800 CONTACTS!

Great deals from! Click here

InspirationArt & Scripture

For quality flower bulbs and perennial plants at rock bottom prices, go to

Federal Firearms License Kit

American Express® Rewards Green Card

Low Mortgage Rates

Jennifer Ann Lingerie Stunning lingerie from the best brands in the world. Feel good about yourself - because you deserve it.

Camping Gear for Less!

There IS An Option To Avoid Bankruptcy... Click here To Find Out How!

Lower your monthly payments—Home Equity Loans w/out perfect credit!

Show your Big Dog attitude at

Free Shipping On Outdoor Clothing At

120 x 60 King Size Direct Banner

Boat Accessories

Largest Online Source for Lighting & Home Furnishings

Water Skis

Find DVDs for $5.88 at Wal-Mart

Click here for Free Shipping from

Click here to view over 1000 flower arrangements online.

Fight And Beat Your Speeding Ticket

Goverment & Police Auction Database

 Free Shipping! No Tax! No Hassle!

Strike gold at the Lucky Nugget Online Casino{subid}&utm_medium=aff&utm_campaign=ppj

 Country Inns Web Only Rates

0% Intro APR, No Annual Fee. Get Blue from American ExpressSM.


Amazing Las Vegas Discounts!

camping gear

Dirtbag Clothing Inc.

RVer's Guide To
 Dump Stations

Outdoor Gear- Summer Clearance Sale!

Special Offers on DELL Computers

Free Shipping & Tax Free Shoppin at eAngler Outdoors

The Fly Fishing Guidebook

Secret Fish Bait Formulas Revealed

Join over 2,500,000 customers that enjoy the simplicity of ordering contact lenses from 1-800 CONTACTS!

Caribbean Sun Poker™ - Click here

The Ultimate Fishing Trip Guidebook!

Hot Mp3 Music And Movie Downloads

Shop online for sexy lingerie

Target's FS on Great Outdoors 120x60 static

American Express® Rewards Green Card

SpyWare Detection & Removal Software!

Low Mortgage Rates

WIND & WEATHER Online Store Shop HERE!

Shop and Save at

Click here to find a great selection of over 2,200 home and garden decorations.

Burn The Fat
Feed The Muscle!

Up to 75% off -1000s of products -Shop Fingerhut

Delivering the Goods
to the Good Guys....
Brigade Quartermasters
Action Gear & Clothing

Lawn & Garden

Click here to view over 1000 flower arrangements online.

Stop Snoring Using Only Easy Exercises

Shop for Shoes & Accessories at Junonia.

 Free Shipping! No Tax! No Hassle!

Sporting Goods

1000 Questions For Couples

Great Outdoor Gear, all 100% Guaranteed!

3 Diamonds Casino
Everything Sports, Montana Style!

Click here to get 20% OFF top name vitamins and supplements from

Plow & Hearth-Products for Home, Hearth, Yard, & Garden


Show your Big Dog attitude at

Marcell, Minnesota History

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6

Excerpted from Memories of a Small Town
by Curtis L. Newstrom, 1995


History has recorded a depression that hit the nation in 1929, but I would guess that this meant very little to a young lad at the age of 13. Now in my Senior Years I can appreciate what the affect might have been on a small community like Marcell. Now as I write this book, I do remember some things about home environment and the store business which make me realize what actually did take place in 1929 and the early 30's. This chapter will very briefly reminisce about those years when I was helping out in Newstrom's Store.

Of course Carl Newstrom knew there was a depression. I'm sure he had many worries and the cash register reflected the hard times. Charge accounts were slow in getting paid and no doubt my father had difficulty paying his bills. I do remember conversations between Dad & Mom about some of those problems, but again this was not the kind of thing a teenager would be concerned about. I know for a fact, however, that my father was not one to sit around waiting for things to get better. He had a family to support and that was a top priority to him.

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration created some programs to help out with the economy & welfare of the people and one of those was the Civilian Conservation Corps. Our father went off to work in the CCC's as a carpenter and Mom and I ran the store. I started my high school career the fall of 1930 and rural students stayed in a dormitory during the week. I will be telling more about that in a special chapter about schools. At any rate, I was only available to help in the store on weekends during the school year. During the summer months from 1929 through 1933 I managed the business with my mother. Then, after graduation from Deer River High School in 1934, I worked over 2 full years in that store. My father's job in the CCC' s kept him away from home so much that he soon tired of that work. He had only been with his family occasionally on weekends.. not a great family life. So he quit that work, but did not stay idle for very long. He found there was a need for homes in Grand Rapids and with my brother Gordon as his helper he built a number of houses in 2 or 3 years. He would come home each night and put in his stint in the store. One thing I really believe about my years working in the store as a young man is that I formed a great bond with my mother. We became "buddies" and I may not have formed such a relationship without that daily association running the grocery business. Also, I dealt with the public and made many friendships. Dealing with the summer tourists was a learning experience as I met people from many walks of life. Even during the depression years, tourists still came to northern Minnesota and Marcell did get a share of the business.

After a year or two of high school, I suggested that I should live upstairs in the store building during the summer months. Dances had been discontinued and the "movie man" quit coming so there was space available. I built a small room in one corner overlooking the front of the store. Customers found this out and I would often get a call from below after going to bed from someone "desperately in need of something". I was up at 6 AM every morning seven days a week in the summer and the early bird fishermen could get their tackle, gas or whatever.

Also, I would close the store late each night, but with my mother there to check out "the till" and she would take the money home with her.... for safekeeping.

It was during the depression years that 3.2 beer became legal to sell. A license was necessary, but beer sales added income and at an opportune time. There was quite a "desire" for the beer! My father built a small "beer room" in one corner of the store to separate it as much as possible from the rest of the store. We did not cater to a drinking crowd and just tried to operate a quiet place where customers could relax over a "cool beer or two". Anyone who was already
"loaded" was not allowed to go in the beer room. Actually, any drunks who entered the store with just the intention of having "another beer" were asked to leave! Of course our GRAIN BELT SIGN was somewhat of an attraction and brought in some unsavory customers. However, most soon learned that Newstrom's Beer Room was not a hangout for drunks and sought their "haven" somewhere else.

Of course our sign was also a deterrent for some business from those who were "opposed" to beer. A lot of the tourists coming off the lakes after a day of fishing did stop by for that "cold bottle of beer" and offset any business we may have lost. Also, many of the fishing guides enjoyed a cool beer after their day of guiding and influenced their party to stop...or came by on their way home. Winters were not great for beer sales at Newstrom's.

As I have said before, the depression did not make much of an impression on me...a teenager. I enjoyed the luxuries of ice cream & soda pop...and mother's food was enough to keep me around home. I really had it pretty darn good! I enjoyed a great time as the son of a grocery man. A car was available to me and I guess I had the car keys most of the time. In fact, my Dad used to have to ask me for the car keys. I was very active in school taking part in such extra curricular activities as football, basketball, track, school plays, public speaking, school paper ...and girls. I must have been a good student as I did graduate from DRHS in 1934 with the honor of being 5th highest of my graduating class. Yes, my teenage years were great and the depression meant nothing to me!

I continued to work for my parents for two years after graduation, but in 1935 I fell in love! In 1936 I embarked on my future life....but that is a story for another chapter.


The depression that hit in 1929 and lasted on into the 30's had its effect on the railroad. With business deteriorating, the Minneapolis & Rainy River Railroad filed a petition in 1932 to abandon the railroad and it was granted. One summer day in 1933 - I wish I had recorded that exact date - the train made it's last run through Marcell to Craigville and back to Deer River. Now a tourist, Mrs. McCrea from Tulsa, Oklahoma, was staying at McKenzie Island Resort and she heard the train was making the "last run". Being a wealthy lady and very generous, she offered to pay the fare for anyone that wanted to take one last ride on the train.

At the age of 17, I was one of those eager persons to accept her offer. I believe a few others that heard of the offer also went on that last trip. I remember taking a piece of felt from a seat cushion for a souvenir, but what I ever did with it, I do not know. I suppose I could say that I was a part of history when I departed that train onto the platform of the Marcell Train Depot.

Our railroad had served it's purpose for almost 30 years. It had delivered our foods and other commodities. It had been our mail delivery service 3 days a week. We could travel north & south to shop or visit if we desired to. The train delivered many tourists that were influential in the economical survival of our town. Yes - it had been the life-line for our small town and many more on it's route. But new roads were being built and soon cars & trucks...and even buses, provided the services the railroad had provided previously.

Now evidence of the railroad is all gone. Occasionally you might find an old railroad tie in the woods somewhere along the old route. Old pieces of rails are being used by some residents as "drags" to smooth out a road. Logs of the trestles that extended out into many lakes can still be seen. There are no remains of depots. THE TRAIN SERVICE IS GONE!


Following the depression tourists were "hungry" for those vacations in northern Minnesota. Many had not traveled during the tough times and were eager to get away again from their routine lives. The great fishing of Minnesota, and specifically Itasca County, brought an influx of tourists ready & willing to spend money. The Marcell area already had a reputation for excellent fishing and the fishermen were eager to enjoy our lakes. Families would also come to our area to enjoy the recreation we had to offer. The business entities of Marcell would thrive again. In this chapter, I shall show how economy did improve in the Marcell area.

New people came to Marcell the first years after the depression attracted by our lakes. This immediate area had so much attraction to tourists and new people were enticed to go into the resort business. Now, more than ever before, summer resorts would be a principal industry. The logging industry would still be the other principal industry and so Marcell had a good outlook for progress.

It would be very difficult to tell about the new people who came to Marcell in the order that they arrived....but they did come. Some came to build up a resort, some came to build a summer cabin and some came to make Marcell their permanent home. Business boomed for the retail lumber companies and carpenters had much employment. In fact, there was a shortage of carpenters for a time, but soon they came to Marcell too. I would assume some of them had been in Marcell before, perhaps on a vacation, and saw the potential for work here. The stores and other business entities saw their business increase. And yes, the influx of fishing people was a boom for fishing guides. In northern Minnesota, and for sure in Marcell, guiding could also be classified as an "industry" and Chapter XXXIII will dwell on that.

Much of the detail in this chapter is from memory, but I did "dig up" much information from contact with various people. The best resource for information on the 30's, 40's & 50's would be those people that lived then, but many are gone.

So - I went to those still living and many were relatives - such as sons & daughters. In some cases, there was no available source of information right in the area so I wrote letters or made phone calls. Some "memories" were hard to recall for some people and others could provide a world of information. One of the most difficult things through my research was that of obtaining pictures. I would need original photos and naturally most people were reluctant to "give up their pictures". I did get a great collection though and will be sharing some in this chapter. In some cases it was necessary to make photo copies and I apologize for the poor quality of some of the pictures. I have tried to give credit, wherever I could to those persons who so generously assisted, not only with pictures, but detailed information. Without the assistance of many friends it would have been virtually impossible to write this chapter and the entire book. I trust the readers will understand the difficulties experienced, that the picture quality may not always be the best, and some information could be in error. I do apologize for any discrepancies. I did the best I could!

In Chapter X - I told about the Marcell Mercantile Store that was owned by Mr. & Mrs. Ed Isaacson and then by Mr. & Mrs. Carl Mellin starting in 1941. Bringing the story of that business up to date, Mr.& Mrs.Mellin owned the business for many years and carried on with a "General Store" selling groceries, meats, gas & oil, hardware, feeds, etc. Their daughter Shirley & son Stanley helped when not in school, but left for greener pastures after high school. Betty Koski worked for Mellins and was a faithful employee for many years. She could be depended on to report to work whenever business warranted a need for extra help. Betty's husband Uuno drove a school bus during the school year and guided from Camp Idlewild during the summer season. Carl Mellin also had the post-office in their store for almost 6 years.

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Rissanen purchased the Marcell Mercantile Store in 1958. They came to Marcell from the Orr area and had three children, daughters Sharon & Kay and son, Bernie. Pete had been in the grocery business and knew the ropes which included meat cutting. The store in Marcell was a family operated business with the children helping out when they were not in school. Again they operated a general store selling much of the same items that Mellins did before them. The post office was no longer in the store however as it moved to a separate building in 1948 - and you will read more about that in Chapter XXIII.

The Marcell Garage business was covered briefly in Chapter X and was owned by Lloyd Stickler. He operated same until 1946 when it was purchased by Mr. & Mrs. Albert Giraud and George Myslow who came from Illinois. Mrs. Giraud had lived in Proctor previously so this was a return to Minnesota for her. Al & Marjorie had two children, son Earl & daughter Hope. Both attended elementary school in Marcell and then went to high school in Bigfork. Marj taught Home Economics there so it was convenient for their children to ride with her to Bigfork (School District 318) rather than bus to Deer River (School District 317). George Myslow married local young lady, Thelma Huju, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Nick Huju and they moved to Illinois with George terminating his partnership in the garage business - once again, I'm not sure of the year. Al Giraud brought his son Earl into the business - not sure of the year - and then eventually Earl bought out his Dad and operated the garage for years. Earl built a small addition which housed a snowmobile business for a time before he took on a furnace dealership. Earl had returned from military service, was married in the Marcell Church to a young lady he met in England, and he and Hazel raised a son & daughter as they continued to be residents of Marcell. More changes occurred in the garage business later on.

Some of the detail about business entities that could be in this chapter has been reserved for separate chapters. Chapter XXII covers "TELEPHONE SERVICE", Chapter XXIII covers "POSTAL SERVICE", Chapter XXXII covers "RESORTS" - Chapter XXXIII covers "FISHING GUIDES" -Chapter XXXIV covers "THE LOGGING INDUSTRY".

Now we need to find out about new business places that came along after the depression. There were a few. However, this chapter will only cover those entities between the Marcell road signs on Highway 38 north & south and those buildings right downtown on Hwy. 286 and the separate chapters will cover all other new business entities in the area.

In 1950 Beckman' s Bait Shop was started. Lawrence & Geraldine Beckman came to Marcell in 1946 from Onamia, Minnesota. Lawrence was a stone mason and took on jobs as they came along. Then in 1950 he built a stone structure and started the bait business. Tourism was in full swing and Lawrence saw a potential for a bait & tackle shop. The Beckman's raised two children, son Norman & daughter Judy who attended school in Marcell. Misfortune struck the family in 1952 when Judy, nine years old, was killed on Hwy. 38 as she was riding her bicycle. The funeral was from the Marcell Church. Driver of the car, Paul Benson from Jessie Lake was absolved of liability. The bait store continued on. Mrs. Beckman taught at the Marcell Elementary School the 1956-57 school year.

It was 1952 when another business started up downtown Marcell. Mr. & Mrs. Rudy Beckman moved to Marcell from Florida and built the Snowshoe Cafe in 1952. However, they sold to Mr. & Mrs. Lyle LaGrange in 1953. The LaGrange's had come from Iowa looking for a business to buy. Birchwood Resort looked interesting, but they finally decided on the cafe & beer tavern. Two sons, Gary & Nyle, were raised there in Marcell and attended elementary school in Marcell & highschool in Deer River. Gary became my son-in-law later...but now I am getting ahead of my story. Mr. & Mrs. Rudy Beckman ran a resort on Caribou Lake for a period after selling the Snowshoe to the LaGranges, but any information I sought on that venture after all these years was very sketchy. I have no idea what happened to Mr. and Mrs. Rudy Beckman.

South of Marcell one mile, the Marcell Inn was built in the late 30's. There has been some history in this business that I shall attempt to reconstruct the best I can. My appreciation to these people who offered some help: Mr. & Mrs. Tuulo Koski and Mrs. Betty Volner.

Mrs. Koski, a former owner of the Inn with her first husband, Tony Soval, is retired and now lives with husband Tuulo Koski on North Star Lake. Tony Soval built the original building in 1937-38 and they had a grand opening on the 4th of July 1938. The inn was a tavern and they served meals - Estelle was the chief cook. I can remember how Tony used to say that they had the best steaks in town and it really never dawned on me that it was the only place in town serving steaks - other than American Plan resorts. Here is a picture of that tavern that was taken about 1948 according to Lorraine (Snell) Jaeger who gave the picture to Mrs. Betty Volner who in turn lent it to me. YES - THEY ALSO SOLD GASOLINE IN 1948.

In 1950 the Sovals sold the Marcell Inn to Mr. & Mrs. Art Lehman and Mr. & Mrs. Leonard Hast. In 1952 the building burned to the ground and evidently the owners had no interest to rebuild & start up the business again. In 1954 Gust Koski rebuilt the inn. He married the former Mrs. Lehman, and they ran the business for over 5 years. I was always happy to have that business in town because it took some of the drinking crowd away from the store where we also had 3.2 beer. More about the Marcell Inn in Chapter XXI.

And so the business economy in Marcell did revive after the depression. Two stores, a garage, two taverns - along with a post office and many resorts - provided many services for the year-round residents as well as tourists. Highway 38 had been improved with an asphalt surface which was an inducement for more summer visitors.


World War II brought some interruptions to the normal routine of life for the residents of Marcell. Although my wife and I were not living in Marcell (in Chicago) when war activities started, we did keep in touch with our families back home through letters and phone calls. In this chapter I shall briefly attempt to tell you about the war period.

At first I suppose the war had little affect on the community, but when the young men started to leave, there came the reality of what it meant to have your young people going off to fight in a war. Prior to 1941 business was pretty much the usual in Marcell. Tourism & logging was still part of the economy. However, as the war progressed, the effects became more noticeable. For instance - the shortage of gasoline. Along came gas rationing and driving had to be curtailed. Eventually there were shortages of some other items, but I'm sure most were able to cope with that knowing it was for the good of the young people in the service.

At this point I digress from this detail about life in Marcell to tell you how gas rationing affected the Curt Newstroms. In 1943 I was stationed in California and Jen had come to live with me for a short time prior to my departure for overseas duty. We had our 1941 Ford there and we did manage to get enough gas coupons to do some limited sight seeing. However, in August of 1943 we learned that we would soon be leaving for Europe and we were told we could take furloughs to go home for a last visit prior to leaving. Well - that posed a problem....we would need extra gas coupons to make a round trip to Minnesota and back. We did get a few from the local ration board, but not enough for such a trip. I wrote to my folks and my father was able to "pull strings" with the ration board in Grand Rapids. We made the trip with another Army couple from the Chicago area using our 1941 Ford and sharing travel expenses. We dropped our friends off in Illinois and had just over a week in Marcell. Driving straight through with four drivers and no stopovers to sleep gave us the extra time to visit with our families. We still spent a total of 2 days & nights on the road going home and then the same going back to California. Our return trip was not a happy one.... we knew what was ahead for us having to go to Europe and the consequences that might lie ahead.

In the meantime, Marcell residents went about their routine and did the best they could under the circumstances. Some men did not qualify for service and stayed home. Some needed work that was not readily available in Marcell so they took off to other locations to be employed - usually in some type of work that was essential to the war effort . I know that some worked in the ship yards in Duluth and others even went to other states to various types of employment. Yes, the war did upset the usual routine, even in our small town of Marcell. On the next page I share two pictures that were quite significant of the concern of the residents for their young people in military service.

My thanks to Ena Eckert who provided these two pictures. Although the names cannot be read you can see there were indeed a great many from Marcell that went into service. Also, the picture of the towns people that gathered for a special event honoring those in service, is a photo copy and is not too distinct . Many of the people in that picture are deceased.



With the end of the war in Europe in May of 1945 some servicemen started to return to Marcell, but just on leave. War with Japan was still going on. Then with the end of fighting after the atom bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, & Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, the process of bringing men home began. By late 1945, most of those who wanted out of the service had been discharged. As these young men & women returned they resumed their lives in Marcell or moved on to other things.

With the end of the war with Germany, I went back to Chicago on leave in July of 1945 and with the outlook for further duty in the Pacific Theatre. Jen took vacation time and we drove to Marcell to spend the time of my leave. I was then assigned to a military post in Pennsylvania pending future assignment...but when war ended with Japan's surrender, I went through a delayed process of discharge. Jen had resigned her job at Montgomery Ward and came to live with me in Pennsylvania. We had a "great vacation" for two months. We purchased a used 1932 Plymouth to get around in. My job was the proverbial "gravy train" and we had much fun those two months. And I must add here...a start of a family took place while in Pennsylvania. Finally I was sent to Staunton, Virginia to receive military discharge through a unit there. Our Plymouth got us to Staunton and then back to Chicago. I reported into my employer just long enough to resign and tell the boss I was going to Marcell to run a grocery store. Then, back in that 1932 Plymouth, my "expectant" wife and I traveled to Marcell and moved in with my folks in October 1945. On November 1st of 1945 we had our first day in the grocery business. Chapter XVIII will continue that story of the new owners of Newstrom's Store and then Chapter XIX tells about a "home for Jennie" - at long last.


In this chapter we backtrack for an important event in the history of Marcell...the coming of electricity. On August 21, 1940 an electric cooperative was authorized by the Federal Government to serve the north area of Itasca County. This area primarily covered Bowstring, Jessie Lake, Spring Lake, Bigfork, Effie, Northome, Marcell, Suomi and other areas between & around. Bigfork was selected to be the headquarters for an office and the North Itasca Electric Cooperative was originated. At that meeting in August of 1940, Mr. Martin Nesseth of Northome was selected to be Board Chairman. Mr. Jack Saari of Suomi was elected by the board to be the "Coordinator of the Cooperative". He was given a salary of $100 per month and with travel expense allowance using his own car of .04C per mile. His duties were to include a lot of travel in this large area. The board was made up of these men:

Martin Nesseth from Northome - Chairman
H. T. Aakhus from Effie - Vice Chairperson
Albin Nelson from Jessie Lake - Secretary
Jack Saari from Suomi - Treasurer
Bernie Midtling from Alvwood - Board Member
Theodore Pederson from Bigfork - Board Member
Louis Dirtina from Max - Board Member
Walter Sorquist from Northome - Board Member

Construction of lines was begun in 1941, but with the outbreak of World War II in December 1941, a problem arose with shortages of materials. Progress was slow installing lines and people became most anxious to get electric hooked up to their homes, farms and business places. Some homes were being wired and the resorts and other business entities were struggling to do the same. Some people became self-made electricians as there were few licensed electricians available.

There was much frustration for the board and it was not until 1944 that first lines were energized. It was late 1945 before most customers got electricity from the Coop. Newstrom's Store had it when my wife and I took over the business on the first day of October 1945.

With electricity came many other modern conveniences. Residents in rural areas such as Marcell could stop using their kerosene or gas lamps. Ice boxes became a thing of the past for some and all kinds of new equipment was being purchased for homes & business places. The Marcell grocery stores could now provide fresher produce and a good line of meats. What a boon for the summer resorts & farmers! With ELECTRICITY and THE END OF WWII - great things happened in the area serviced by the NORTH ITASCA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE.


On November 1, 1945 Curt & Jennie Newstrom became the new owners of Newstrom's Store. Carl Newstrom was a happy man that day - he was ready to retire from the grocery business he had devoted some 27 years to. He was ready for semi-retirement even though he was only 60 years old. For his son, "the price was right" and he set up a couple of young people in business.

Jennie and I were very eager to make a go of our new venture. I had some of the visions like my father before me and worked day & night to get things going. I also had some of my fathers abilities in me to use a saw & hammer. A few boards, some paint - soon the interior of the store had a new look. Counters were moved for more efficiency of our customers to shop and for the clerks to work. Push carts were added, then a new scale and a butcher block. Eventually, as money would permit, a more modern cash register was added. As years passed by there was more modern equipment added such as self service refrigeration.

We were there to try to keep up with our competition to provide our customers with all their needs in the grocery line. We knew that tourism would be our main support so fishing tackle and gas & oil continued to be sold. Not too long after we took over, improvement was also made to the exterior of the building. Shell Oil put in new gas pumps. Coca Cola provided a huge sign on the store front - it was painted on. Here is a picture of that store to show how it looked within a year of new ownership. The car parked at the pumps belonged to Rosa Gravelle who was getting cash & groceries. She no doubt was inside "jawing" with Jennie as she did her shopping. I know that my Jennie was on duty because her bike is parked out front - she rode that to work quite often. And by the way - this scene was a picture post card that one could buy for .05C. We sold a few hundred of those cards. Another item to point out is the small building that appears just beyond the car. That was a "minnow business" being operated at the time by our friends Mr. & Mrs. Bert Pasco. We allowed them free use of the location. Their business was an aid to ours.

This was the only interior view of the store that I could locate, but it does show the new arrangement of the refrigerated meat case and push carts. When this picture was taken, we had completely rearranged the interior of the store so it was more convenient for the customers and work crew. Customers now made
a complete tour around the store with their cart and ended up at the cash register. The "checkout person" could handle the meat case and the cash register if necessary to do so.

During the busy summer months, we would have one person at the register to "ring up" the sales and a boy for "carry out" duties. Now that carry out boy had other duties and was hard to find at times so we had an INTERCOM SYSTEM to keep track of him. The PA control station was at the cash register and then there was one intercom box at the gas pumps and one in the basement where we had a "live bait" department. The basement was also "headquarters" for storage of beer, pop & potatoes and where we candled all of our eggs. Our carry out boy was more or less in charge of all of that! As the "boss" I was usually available to the meat department and did all the meat cutting...but I was there to help wherever needed. Shelves often needed to be stocked and I had my watchful eye out for that at all times. We all might pitch in to stock shelves whenever needed and slack time allowed. Of course I had to "keep books", deal with salesmen, etc. During off hours such as early morning or night, my wife and I would handle the store by ourselves...taking our turns. Eating a meal in the busy summer was often done "on the run".

Over the almost 15 years in the grocery business I hired many different people and I think I remember them all. These "ladies" did cash register duty: Marion Stumo, Karen Lapier, Ena Eckert, Myrtle Snell, Betty Weathers and Delores Lusti. These "boys" did the handyman & carryout duties: Butch Lofgren (from Illinois), Butch Griffin (from Wisconsin) and Allen Rautio, a local Marcell boy (son of Jen's brother Arvo). I trust that I did not forget anyone. This extra help was always needed in the summer because we normally were very busy. Oh - there were "slow days" - and I would sometimes sneak away for a short fishing trip. By the same token, Jen would find time to go shopping in Grand Rapids.

A busy day at Newstrom's Store included many duties. When not selling groceries, meat, gasoline, fishing tackle or live bait, you might be making out a fishing license or helping a tourist to locate a place to stay. You see, some tourists did not make advance reservations! Then there was the ice cream department. Newstrom' s Store had a reputation for the best ice cream cone in Marcell. During the summer months, it was often a common thing that I would have one clerk at the ice cream case dishing up cones. "Nickle a dip and big dips" was our trademark. That reminds me about my great friend, Gene Wilson. His stops at the ice cream stand always meant "chocolate" and as many scoops as you could pile on! That man loved his chocolate ice cream!

Then too, I will never forget some of those long weekends - like the 4th of July - when the weather would be hot and one clerk spent 3 days dishing up cones. I often wondered if the other store ever sold any ice cream because we would be so busy. Hey - that ice cream was really good in those days too... lot better than present day and none of that "imitation stuff" we get now days...but fattening.

Now when I reflect back on those days in our store business I can fully appreciate just what we did to try to make a success of our business. I was constantly looking for any possible improvements and Jen was there to encourage me. She was a hard worker too - having been raised on a farm. The first year in the store business, I did restrict her involvement at the store as she was "carrying our first child" . After the first baby was born, Jen spent little time in the store and hired help was needed. Two years later there was another daughter so we continued to use help at the store. As the girls grew older, and especially when they could walk, they would come to the store with their mother...and grandmother. Yes, Olga & Carl Newstrom stayed in Marcell for a number of years. My mother was a very proud "grandmother" and helped so much with taking care of the girls. Then too, my mother was a great cook and Jen learned how to make such things as "Swedish Meatballs". My dad was still interested in that store business and I know he had his eye on what his son was doing. We were very fortunate to have my parents there to assist in whatever way they could.

Jen was a valuable asset to our business because of her ability to speak the Finnish language. There were a great many older Finnish people around Marcell and I had a terrible time trying to converse with them as many could not speak English. I learned a few words after a time and also a new language came about that we called "Finnglish". I thought we invented it in Marcell, but after recently reading Benhart Rajala's book "TIMBERRRRE" I found his reference to that same "language". Just a couple years after starting out in the store, I hit upon an idea that gave a boost to our business. We were a weigh-in station for Fuller's Tackle Shop Fishing Contest and were weighing in lots of fish. Having an interest in photography, I had built a dark room in the basement of our home and could develop my own pictures. One night I developed a picture I had taken of a specially large fish and I displayed the picture in the store. Well that was the beginning of a great thing. Everyone wanted their picture taken and would stop by with their catch... and often have a cold beer and perhaps replace the lure they lost that day. Also the guides soon caught on and would "make" their guests stop by with their catch. I had to enlarge my display bulletin board!

Over the years I amassed quite a collection of those pictures and share a few here and on the following pages.







During the years in the 40's & 50's a great couple from Cincinnati, Ohio stayed at Camp Idlewild. Mr. & Mrs. Samuel White were avid fishing partners and they reserved their favorite guide from year to year. During their first years my brother Gordon was their guide. Men after my brother was no longer available(off to other work), Juno Koski was their guide. This couple often stopped in the store and we became great friends.

There was a period of years in the 50's when Three Island Lake was producing Rainbow & German trout and the Whites spent a lot of time on Three Island Lake catching trout. Friend Raymond Gravelle lived on the lake and would be in the store most every day and would brag about the great trout fishing on "his lake". The only way you could get to fish the lake was to rent a boat from the Gravelles. For a while they had a good "racket" going for them. Uuno Koski told me that one day when he went there with the Whites, there was a long line waiting to rent a boat so he went to another lake. I even heard that boats were Being rented for just a few hours at a time to take care of everyone wanting to catch trout.
I have a letter in my memoirs from Mr. White written in 1950 thanking Tie for developing these next two pictures of them with just two of the many trout that they caught during those "hot trout fishing days" on Three Island Lake.

Click for Marcell, Minnesota Forecast

Seasonal/Holiday Theme

3 Months free!

Backcountry ski and snowboard gear, camping


JC Whitney Brand

120x240 Just Reduced

Barbies to BBQ 120x60

Click for the Warner Bros. Online

120x60 - General Wave

Explore64 has it all

Patriotic Flags and Pins

120x60 Endless Summer Styles

Mini Bears

3.9¢ Long Distance from Talk America

Online Auto Loans


Free Shipping on 99% of Truck, Car and SUV Accesso

120 x 60

Start Your Free Trial Now!

JC Whitney Brand

$20 off any order of $50 or more!

Shop NGC Sports Today!


Bad Credit OK!  Click Here to Refinance.

Get FREE Shipping on orders over $40 -Walter Drake

The Sands of the Caribbean® Online Casino

Take $10 off orders of $110 or more! Coupon: CJDOT

Shop the BED & BATH SALE at

New Millenium Bank Card


The Vermont Country Store  

Payless Shoe Sale - Buy now!  

CSP 120x60


River Belle - The Greatest li` ol` Riverboat Casino

Save 50% at  

IMPACT Visa® Card


Continue to Marcell History Page 6

You are viewing the Marcell History page.

Web IronRange.US

Home  |  Attractions  |  Businesses  |  Campgrounds  |  Cities & Towns  |  Government
History  |  Events  |  Links  |  Motels  |  Resorts A-L  |  Resorts M-Z  |  Travel - Inline Skating Superstore 234x60 NEW Appliances


© 2004 Lakeweb1 Internet Services
All Rights Reserved



$ Off 728X90

Visit these other fine Lakeweb1 web sites! LeechLake.Info IronRange.US