The History of Esko and Thomson Township - Latest Images en-us Lincoln's Lost Log <img alt="Lincoln_log_cover_1948" src="" /><br/><br/><p> For more than a half-century, the high school yearbook was known as &ldquo;The Lincoln Log&rdquo;. The first yearbook&nbsp;was &ldquo;The Echo,&rdquo; published in 1928. It was followed in 1930 by the first Lincoln Log, so named, of course, to link it with Lincoln High School. It next came out in 1934 and was published biennially through 1952, then annually through 1987. In its final years, different theme names appeared on the cover, but the spine and inside title page continued to read &ldquo;The Lincoln Log&rdquo;. In 1988, the theme was &ldquo;Dare To Be Different&rdquo;&mdash;and it was: &ldquo;The Lincoln Log&rdquo; had disappeared and the spine read &ldquo;Esko High School, Volume 52.&rdquo; From that point onward, yearbooks have had names as selected by the student editors. Traditionalists&nbsp;may have objected to the 1988 change, but&nbsp;by then more than a generation of students had graduated from Esko High School, not Lincoln.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Thu, 29 Mar 2012 12:03:38 -0500 / Carlton County Breakthrough <img alt="Esko_sports_1955_celebrationdist26" src="" /><br/><br/><p> No team from Carlton County (and only two from Duluth) had reached the State High School Basketball Tournament prior to Esko&rsquo;s 1955 Region 7 championship. This joyous moment was preserved by a Duluth News-Tribune photographer when Esko defeated Duluth Central for the District 26 championship at UMD. After winning the region title at Hibbing, Esko lost its state opener at Williams Arena, but won the next two. Schools were not yet divided into enrollment-based divisions, so Esko&rsquo;s consolation championship was the equivalent of fifth place out of 484 state teams. Seated in front, from left, are the starters: Jerry Anderson, Don Terwey, Harry Bergstedt, Ron Korby and Ernie Bylkas. In back, from left, are Roger Pykkonen, Dave Mattinen, Ed Pantsar, Art Manisto, Dan Bergstedt, Davis Helberg and Sherman Johnson, and at right is coach Coopen Johnson. <em>(Photo courtesy of Rockne Johnson)</em></p> Sat, 24 Mar 2012 23:42:38 -0500 / Marching Majorettes <img alt="Esko_1947_majorettes" src="" /><br/><br/><p> Basketball fans of the mid-century usually stayed in their seats when the majorettes performed at halftimes of home games. Accompanied by the high school band, the girls would thrill the crowds with their high-stepping routines, agility and dexterous baton-handling. They also led the way when the marching band appeared in area parades. Pictured here are the majorettes of 1946-47. From left are Beverly Stenroos, Phyllis Peterson, Beverly Richardson, Margie Rayner and Evelyn Davidson. <em>(Photo courtesy of Esko School District)&nbsp;</em></p> Sat, 24 Mar 2012 22:18:16 -0500 / Building Fundamentals <img alt="Esko_shop_class_1944" src="" /><br/><br/><p> &ldquo;Desks, lounge chairs, cedar chests, magazine racks and flour boxes&rdquo; were produced by senior high shop classes in 1944, according to &ldquo;The Lincoln Log&rdquo; of that year. The students were not identified in this yearbook photo, but it is believed that Lloyd Sunnarborg is second from the right and Raymond Liupakka is at far left. Sunnarborg and Liupakka were both juniors in 1944. Note the high ceiling; the space was converted from a gymnasium into an industrial arts classroom after a new gym was added to Lincoln High School in 1936. (As of 2012, industrial arts was no longer part of the school&rsquo;s curriculum. The 1936 gym was succeeded by the present facility in 1980.) <em>(Photo courtesy of Esko</em> <em>School District)&nbsp;</em></p> Sat, 24 Mar 2012 19:24:18 -0500 / Building an Image, 1938 <img alt="Esko_1937" src="" /><br/><br/><p> This promotional poster, published in about 1938, was clearly an effort to attract more businesses and residents to the community. <strong>(Please tap on screen to enlarge</strong> <strong>for readability.)</strong> Although an organizing entity is not identified, the presumed sponsors are boldfaced in the last paragraph. Just whose idea this was, and whether it was successful, has not been determined. Punctuation may leave something to be desired, but the image the promoters were trying to convey is clear: &ldquo;&hellip;fine, modern homes and barns, electric lighted, splendid roads.&rdquo; Also note school activities include&nbsp;a &ldquo;Hydroquinone Club.&rdquo; (Hydroquinone is, or was, a chemical used in developing photographs.) <em>(Esko Historical Society artifact)</em>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Fri, 03 Feb 2012 14:27:40 -0600 / Esko, East Side—Early ‘40s <img alt="Ne_from_lincoln_1_" src="" /><br/><br/><p> Until the coming of I-35 in the mid-1970s, north-south travelers passed through &ldquo;downtown&rdquo; Esko on their way to or from Duluth. Today&rsquo;s County Highway 61 was then U.S. 61 and, until widened to four lanes in 1948-49, it was a two-lane highway. In this early-1940s view from the school, the house and barn in center were owned by Joe Davidson, who later conveyed the property to the school. Barely visible behind Davidson&rsquo;s house is the roof of Smith&rsquo;s Hatchery, where A.D. Smith provided &ldquo;custom hatching,&rdquo; sold eggs, and raised and sold chickens, turkeys and ducks. At extreme left is one of two teacherages, or teachers&rsquo; residences. The garage-like structure at right is a school storage facility. &nbsp;In the distance, the closest buildings are Kinnunen Lumber Company and Ed Kinnunen&rsquo;s house. <em>(Esko Historical Society photo, believed to have been taken by Andrew Kinnunen)</em> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Fri, 03 Feb 2012 12:35:46 -0600 / Esko, West Side—Early ‘40s <img alt="Nw_from_lincoln_1_" src="" /><br/><br/><p> The west side of Esko was captured on film in the early 1940s from atop Lincoln School. The small building in foreground is a Standard Gas station, operated by Joe Davidson. Next to&nbsp;it is Juntti Brothers store, owned by Eino and Ed Juntti on property leased and then purchased from community namesake Alex Esko. Behind the store, with the tall smokestack, is the Arrowhead Co-Op Creamery. Directly across Highway 61 from Davidson&rsquo;s station is Moses Service Station, owned by Moses Liupakka, and next to it is Hank and Wally Lovestrand&rsquo;s popular Hank&rsquo;s Caf&eacute;. Just west of Hank&rsquo;s is the Co-Op Store. When the highway was widened in 1948-49, Moses and the Co-Op would lose substantial frontage, so both relocated. Moses built a facility west of the creamery and the Co-Op constructed the building now housing Eskomo Pies and&nbsp;the Radosevich law offices. <em>(Esko Historical Society photo, believed to have been taken by Andrew Kinnunen)</em>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Fri, 03 Feb 2012 12:18:14 -0600 / Washington School Sixth-Graders, 1926 <img alt="Esko_history_1926_sixthgrade" src="" /><br/><br/><p> Elementary school classes in the 1920s and &lsquo;30s tended to be much larger than those in senior high. An eighth-grade education was generally deemed adequate for entering the&nbsp;greater world and, in rural communities such as Esko, students often left to help on their family&rsquo;s farms or to seek outside jobs. The Great Depression of the 1930s exacerbated the drop-out rate. As a case in point, there are 49 Washington School sixth-graders in this 1926 photo, but only 23&nbsp;seniors graduated from Lincoln High School&nbsp;in 1932. <em>(Photo courtesy of Ruth V. Olson, Carlton, whose mother, Vivian Bjorklund, was among the 1926 sixth-graders who later earned high school diplomas)</em>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Wed, 11 Jan 2012 21:53:49 -0600 / Area's First Finnish Homestead <img alt="Esko_history_1872_hendrickson_monument" src="" /><br/><br/><p> A stone monument at Grandview Golf Club just east of Thomson Township marks the site of the area&rsquo;s first Finnish family homestead. Immigrants Kalle and Eva (Kytomaki) Hendrickson built there in September 1872 and developed the property under the Homestead Act. Their son, Charles Jr., was the first white child born in Midway Township. Another son, Fred, bought the estate after Kalle&rsquo;s death and built the golf course. His son, Dale Hendrickson, a 1943 Esko graduate, and his wife and classmate, the former Helen Johnson, expanded the course and managed it for many years. The monument was erected in 1950 by the Minnesota Finnish American Historical Society and was visited in 1961 by Finnish President Urho Kekkonen. (2010 photo by Frank Liupakka)&nbsp;</p> Wed, 30 Nov 2011 01:27:18 -0600 / Grussendorfs Made Their Mark <img alt="Esko_history_grussendorfs" src="" /><br/><br/><p> The Grussendorf girls and their dad, John, stamped indelible imprints on Esko basketball. Collectively, the sisters scored nearly 4,000 points from 1983 through 1992 and still hold many of the school&rsquo;s all-time records while John&rsquo;s nine-year record as girls head coach (1980 through 1989) was 165-44. The 1988 and 1989 Eskomos won 39 out of 40 regular-season games and each team advanced to the state tournament with three Grussendorfs on the roster. From left in this 1992 photo are Angela (Class of 1989), Brenda (1990), John, Miranda (1988) and Tanya (1992). <em>(Photo courtesy of John Grussendorf)</em> &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Wed, 26 Oct 2011 14:01:23 -0500 / Pioneers of the Hard Court <img alt="Esko_1923bballteam" src="" /><br/><br/><p> The game of basketball, invented in 1891, was in its formative years when this photo was taken of the 1923 Lincoln High School team. The school was also new (it opened in 1920-21) and games were played in a gym still only partially completed. A.L. Winterquist, the superintendent and first coach, later recalled&nbsp;how &quot;we went to&nbsp;games at Cromwell, Barnum and Moose Lake&nbsp;in the old Model T Ford truck. Sometimes we were sick from carbon monoxide and sometimes we were stuck in snowdrifts.&quot; In front row, from left, are Edwin Frederickson, Nestor Lahti and Charles Mannila. Back row, from left, Winterquist, William Sarkela, Otto Korby,&nbsp;Karjalainen (first name unknown), James Harney and John S. Hendrickson.&nbsp;<em>(Photo courtesy of John C. Hendrickson)&nbsp;</em></p> Mon, 24 Oct 2011 19:33:33 -0500 / Let's Patch Things Up <img alt="Eskohistory_reroofingmbrooklahtifarm" src="" /><br/><br/><p> Meadowbrook Dairy owner Ed Juntunen orchestrates the performance during a barn re-roofing project in the mid-1950s. The barn was on the &ldquo;Lahti farm,&rdquo; as it was known, acquired by Meadowbrook in 1952 on property north of the dairy and across Harney Road. While Ed mans the ladder, others in the photo are, from left, Howard Juntunen, Willy Juntunen, Edward Turpainen, John McCausland and Edwin Juntunen. Meadowbrook, founded by Ed&rsquo;s father, Joseph Juntunen Sr., in 1885, continued to operate until 1989. <em>(Photo courtesy of Dale and Joanne Mattinen)&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</em></p> Tue, 20 Sep 2011 01:50:06 -0500 / Rust in Peace <img alt="Img_6946" src="" /><br/><br/><p> A relic of long-ago days when dairy farmers set their summer schedules around hay-making time, this old mower now rests and rusts on the edge of a patch of woods about a mile east of Esko. Thomson Township was once a Minnesota dairying center (100 years ago it had the highest concentration of dairy farms in the state), but in the last half-century the small farms gave way to low milk prices, big corporations and suburban development. Although many rural residents now have hobby and specialty farms, the last dairy cows reportedly were sold in 1996. <em>(June 2010 photo)</em>&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> Tue, 20 Sep 2011 01:27:55 -0500 / Nikki, the Flying Flynn <img alt="Eskohistory_nikkiflynnx2ndsu" src="" /><br/><br/><p> Nikki Flynn, described by the Cloquet <em>Pine Knot</em> as &ldquo;perhaps the best female softball player to come out of Carlton County,&rdquo; graduated from Esko in 1996. Starting in seventh grade, she played in every Esko game for six years, including two state tournaments. At North Dakota State, she was the starting shortstop and leadoff hitter for four years and led the Bison to an NCAA Division II championship in 2000. She set seven national records, including career hits and stolen bases. Noted for her headfirst slides, she was once characterized by a reporter as &ldquo;a walking Tide commercial.&rdquo; Esko was state runner-up in Flynn&rsquo;s senior year, but won the championship in 1998. <em>(Photo courtesy of Verna Pantsar Flynn) &nbsp;&nbsp;</em></p> Fri, 26 Aug 2011 13:43:14 -0500 / Redwood Pipelines <img alt="Esko_8-3-11_1_" src="" /><br/><br/><p> If one travels to the southern end of Jay Cooke Road, he or she will see three long mounds parallel to the road on the steep hill that descends into Jay Cooke State Park. Under these mounds are huge steel pipes that carry water from the canal reservoir, or forebay, at the top of the hill to the Thomson Hydroelectric Station. From 1906 until 1970, the seven-foot diameter pipes, or penstocks, were made of redwood staves banded by &frac34;-inch steel rods. The penstocks were under construction in this photo. In the original 5,000-foot-long pipeline, the first 4,000 feet were redwood and the lower 1,000 feet were made of riveted steel. When Minnesota Power replaced the redwood with steel in 1970, the wood was still strong and pliable. Many township residents acquired the redwood for farm and home projects. <em>(Photo courtesy of Carlton County Historical Society)&nbsp;</em></p> Fri, 19 Aug 2011 00:34:23 -0500 / Early Home Delivery Truck <img alt="Eskohistory_meadowbrookearlymilktruck" src="" /><br/><br/><p> Meadowbrook Dairy began delivering milk in 1919 to a Cloquet grocery store owned by John C. Johnson, son-in-law of dairy founder Joseph Juntunen Sr. In the 1920s, Meadowbrook began making home deliveries,&nbsp;usually by automobile but,&nbsp;when winter roads were impassable, by horse-drawn sleigh. The sleigh had a small cab with a kerosene stove that kept the milk from freezing. The cars and sleigh were later replaced by trucks. One of the first trucks is shown here, driven by Joseph Juntunen&rsquo;s grandson, Roy Mattson. From 1919 to the mid-1950s, as the dairy expanded in size and service, Meadowbrook&rsquo;s milk production rose from an average of 145 quarts per day to about 2,000. (Also see photo of Joseph Juntunen Sr. and family on&nbsp;the farm in &ldquo;The Early Years.&rdquo;) <em>(Photo courtesy of Dale and Joanne Mattinen)&nbsp;</em></p> Sun, 17 Jul 2011 19:09:25 -0500 / Namesake of Elizabeth Avenue <img alt="Esko_historical" src="" /><br/><br/><p> Elizabeth Avenue in Esko is named for Aurora Elizabeth Mattinen, shown here at the original Mattinen home in about 1920 holding a granddaughter, Vera. The property and two-story log portion of the house were purchased in 1887 by Elizabeth, as she was known, and her husband, John Erick Mattinen (known as Erick), from Henry Sunnarborg, left. On the right is one of the Mattinen&rsquo;s sons, Emil. The one-story part of the house, the kitchen, was built by Erick Mattinen. The building was dismantled in 1955. Origins of the township&rsquo;s road names will appear in the forthcoming book. <em>(Photo courtesy of Dale and Joanne Mattinen) &nbsp;</em></p> Sun, 17 Jul 2011 11:42:44 -0500 / An Esko All-American <img alt="Esko_history_mckibbonx2" src="" /><br/><br/><p> When injuries left Esko without a quarterback in the next-to-last game of the 1965 football season, coach Bob Peterson summoned an eighth-grader, Darrell McKibbon, from the junior high squad. McKibbon started the final game and then, from his freshman through senior years, led the Eskomos to a cumulative record of 31-3 and two undefeated seasons. He passed for more than 4,000 yards and set a then-state record of 61 career touchdown passes. In his final game, he&nbsp;helped Esko defeat Two Harbors 12-0 in the first post-season&nbsp;playoff between champions of&nbsp;the Polar&nbsp;League and the&nbsp;Seaway Conference. McKibbon was named all-state by WCCO Radio of Minneapolis and was selected to an All-American team by Coach &amp; Athlete Magazine and Sunkist Orange Company. He&rsquo;s shown here, on right, receiving his All-American award. <em>(Photo courtesy of Darrell McKibbon)</em></p> Mon, 27 Jun 2011 22:56:32 -0500 / Esko's First All-Stater <img alt="Eskosports_lassila1951" src="" /><br/><br/><p> Esko&rsquo;s first all-state football player, Darrell Lassila, strikes a classic midcentury pose in the fall of 1951. Lassila, a 1952 graduate, was the prototypical single wing tailback and, in the vernacular of the day, was a &ldquo;triple threat,&rdquo; meaning he excelled as a passer, runner and punter. The Eskomos were undefeated in his junior and senior seasons and, in fact, didn&rsquo;t lose from the second game of 1948 until the first game of 1952. There were no post-season playoff games in those days, but after being named to the all-state team, Lassila also played halfback in a Minnesota North-South All-Star game following his graduation. <em>(Esko Historical Society photo)</em></p> Mon, 27 Jun 2011 13:27:15 -0500 / Harney in its Heyday <img alt="Junttibros_for_email" src="" /><br/><br/><p> Thomson Township&rsquo;s business center&mdash;and the community&rsquo;s name&mdash;once seemed destined to become Harney, not Esko. Still known by longtime residents as Harney, and still shown on many maps, the area where the Marks Road meets the Harney Road is now occupied by a couple of houses. The township&rsquo;s first post office was established there and when the Canadian Northern Railroad (now the Canadian National) built a depot in 1912, it also had plans for a roundhouse, car shops and large rail yard. Instead, according to local historian Arvid Konu, when the U.S. entered World War I, the railroad decided to develop in Duluth. For many years, brothers Ed and Emil Juntti ran a general store in Harney, shown in this photo from 1916 or 1917. Konu, 95, says &ldquo;if Juntti Brothers didn&rsquo;t have what you wanted, you probably didn&rsquo;t need it.&rdquo; Emil Juntti later acquired a store in &ldquo;Esko&rsquo;s Corner&rdquo; from Alex Esko. <em>(Photo courtesy of Rodney Ikola)</em> &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Mon, 06 Jun 2011 01:15:12 -0500 /