Newspaper Archive of
Tri-County News
Kimball, Minnesota
August 11, 2016     Tri-County News
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August 11, 2016

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PAGE 7 .................. Watkins landmark lost to last August 11, 2016 month's storm Minnesota's best kept secret... NANA' ATTIC These two men grew up in this building, decades apart. At left, Ray Schlangen grew up above his parents' grocery AN ECLECnC MIX OF OLD, NEW & IN-BETWEEN! store, Ken's Town & Country in the '80s and '90s. Ron Oster lived in the other apartment, on the left side, from 1939 | JUST ARRIVED! New stock of Metal Animals garden ddcor, tin, to 1951. The building was torn down Thursday, Aug. 4, because of rain damage (after the tornado ripped off the roof). | fumiture, metal floor grates, vinyl records, glassware, linens, & more! Staff photo by Jean Doran Matua. Bylean Doran Matua, Editor The Schlangens plan to sell the nace until the 40s." He explained Thursday morning, Aug. 4, lot. They re in the process of pur- that there was a garbage-burner in there was dust, and the smell of chasing a building lot in the Faber the kitchen, and a small coal stove freshly torn wood in the air in Addition in Watkins. in thelivingroom. Watkins again. It wasn t another "I want a real house, with aOster remembered the tornado, but rather a demoli- lawn and a garden," Laura said. A Armistice Day blizzard, that tion crew tearing down a storm- tiny flower garden remained near famous storm in November 1940 the alley, her attempt to have that. that killed so many. He was only The demolition crew carefully 2 112 then, but he remembers the avoided it. train accident in Watkins that day. Laura's husband Ken had justHe stood on the balcony watching taped and prepped the hallway, the fire from the two engines that and bought five gallons of paint to were burning. He also remembers finish it. They still have the paint, the sound of the train's whistle but no hallway, and no way to find which got stuck on impact; it kept the receipt to return the paint, screeching until the train ran out Ron Oster quietly observed the of steam. careful demolition of the building. These are just two of the many The apartment on the left (north) stories this old building could tell. side of the building is where he It's said the two original build- grew up. ings were there before the town of "It was colder than the mill tails Watkins was, that they're at least of Hell," he said. "There was no fur- 120 years old. damaged building on Central Avenue in downtown Watkins. Owners Ken and Laura Schlangen watched as their home for the past 35 years was taken apart, one clawful at a time. Theirs was the apartment on the right side of the photo above. Since the night of the tornado July 11, they've been living in a camper near Goodner Lake. The tornado last month tore off the roof. A tarp was quickly put on, but the winds ripped holes in it. Then the heavy rains came. The damage to the building was from the torrential rains, "like an open faucet" Laura explained., not from the tornado directly. The Schlangens had moved to Watkins in 1981. They bought the building then, and operated Kerfs Town & Country Foods on the first level. The grocery store was closed in 1991, but they continued to live in their three-bedroom apartment upstairs. The other three-bedroom apartment they rented out. Those residents were able to clear things out the night of the tornado and the next day, but the Schlangens aren't sure where they're living nOW. Two more homes destroyed, and two more families displaced by the storm. As it turns out, the structure used to be two buildings; long ago the basement and first floor were merged together with only a mas- sive I beam remaining upstairs. 37 Maus Drive, Kimball* 320.398.7778 33rd Annual Rendezvous FOREST CITY STOCKADE 6 Miles Northeast of Litchfield on Highway 24 Boyd Hupert from KARE11did a follow-up story on the Watkins tornado from the Kraut 'N Wurst parade, which marched right past the gaping hole where Ken's once stood. Staff photo by Jean Doran Matua. Please continue to: Donate money. Monetary assistance afterthe tornado. Pray for all those involved, donations may be dropped off or Ask for help if you need it. including those helping to clean mailed to the "Watkins Tornado There are several avenues of help up and rebuild. Relief Fund" at Farmers State Bank for Watkins residents who need Spend money at Watkins busi- ofWatkins, PO Box 470, Watkins help with housing, food, clothing, nesses. Money spent local usually MN 55389. The City of Watkins and other needs. stays local, and now is a great time has applications that can be filled Thank you! to support local businesses! out by those in need of financial Saturday & Sunday, August 20 & 21, 2016 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Adults - $5.00 12 & Under - Free PIONEER CRAFTS Live Music School House with children's activities - Olson's Barn with collection of horse-drawn equipment Wagon tides by Prairie Percherons Craftsmen in each building in Historic Forest City All our regular Pioneer Craft Demonstrations New for 2016 Tavern and Hotel under construction See completed east and west walls and walkway Collect Print #5 "School Home" by Willis Chase, being printed in the Print Shop. FOODS SERVED ALL DAY: Buffalo Sandwiches, Beans, Sweet Corn, Homemade Ice Cream, Lemonade,Old Fashioned Root Beer, Coffee, Buffalo Jerky, Pickled Eggs, Hard Rock Candy, Fry Bread *V~mit the ear~ J%r trade encampmtnt to the east of the Stockade and enjoy their many activities. Everyone Welcome to Attend For complete Stockade history and infbrmation visit www.fbrestci(