Rutland Depot Jumps the Tracks

Adapted from an article originally written in 2008

For 100 years the Great Northern, later the Burlington Northern, depot had occupied the same location, north of the tracks and east of First Street, in Rutland. On June 1, 1987, a moving crew, commanded by Nick Schmidt, Wyndmere, picked the building up and moved it to new location one block south on the corner of First and Arthur Street, in Rutland. The depot now faces east. Once the center for commerce and information in the community, the 28′ X 60′ structure is now used as a Heritage Center for the Rutland community, “The Depot Museum.”

In 1886 the Great Northern Railroad laid track as far west as Rutland. The following year the Railroad was extended southwest to Aberdeen, and west, to Ellendale. During this year the Great Northern had a complex of buildings, including the depot, a water tower, coal dock, roundhouse and section house, constructed in Rutland to service its equipment and serve its customers. The business of the railroad was to move freight and the east half of the depot was a freight warehouse. The west half was a passenger waiting room. The office was located between the freight house and waiting room. Telegraph operators were on duty round the clock to send and receive messages and to relay messages to stations on the Aberdeen and Ellendale lines. Two freight trains and two passenger trains stopped in Rutland each day on the Aberdeen line. Another train originated in Rutland and made a round trip to Ellendale each day. The Ellendale line was extended to Forbes, N. D. in 1905 and was known as the Forbes line thereafter.

Mr. Bagley was the Great Northern’s first agent in Rutland. He gave his name to one of Rutland’s streets and is said to have contributed the name of his home town, Rutland, Vermont, to the new village on the prairie. At that time the agent’s pay was partly based on the volume of business transacted at his station. Because Rutland was a junction point and the station was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the business volume was greater than at other stations and the pay was correspondingly higher. Although this system was changed in later years it made the agent’s job a desirable one in the early days.

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The Rooster Crows – April 8, 2022

By Bill Anderson

Spring has been behaving like a reluctant maiden for the past few weeks, first bestowing her warm and radiant smile on her ardent suitors, then chilling their enthusiasm with a dousing of rain, snow and slush. Well, maybe it’s all part of an elaborate April Fools prank. Sooner or later, Spring is bound to bestow the warmth of her embrace upon the land, but, until then, she is delivering the promise without the squeeze. The 3 inches of new snow that fell on Sunday, April 3, was a reminder that April showers do not only bring May flowers. Those showers may also bring snow, slush and hazardous driving conditions. On the bright side, Janelle Brakke drove from Rutland to Fargo on Sunday afternoon, and reports that the clean snow removed all of the exterior dirt & grime from her car, as nicely as if she had purchased the high-priced option at the car wash. Every cloud has its silver lining.

A large group of family and friends gathered at the Rutland Town Hall on the afternoon of Saturday, April 2, to honor Delores “PeeWee” Breker on the occasion of her 90th birthday. Delores is one of the daughters of the late Mr. & Mrs. Harold Evenson. The Evensons made their home in Rutland when Delores was born, but later moved to Cogswell where she grew up and went to school. When she married Ralph Breker, she again became part of the Rutland community, residing on the farm southeast of town where Shane & Carla Breker now make their home. Guests from North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota were on hand to help Delores celebrate, and Stephen Ricksecker, a nephew who had made his home with Ralph & PeeWee during his high school years, flew all the way from California to attend the party. PeeWee’s many friends in this community extend an enthusiastic “Happy Birthday!” to her, and best wishes for many more to come.

Confirmation students at Nordland Lutheran Church: Greta Bladow; Kaycee Hamilton; Whitney Mahrer; and Charlize Willprecht; presented their Affirmation of Faith statements to the Congregation; and, 5th Grade students: Julia Mahrer; Loden Jochim; Lilith Pavek; and, Krosby Willprecht; had their First Communion; during worship service at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, April 3.  The Confirmation service, also called Affirmation of Baptism, for Greta, Kaycee, Whitney, and Charlize is scheduled for Sunday, May 1, at Nordland Lutheran Church. This is an impressive group of young ladies: intelligent; articulate; and, confident; of whom their families and their community can be proud.

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The Rooster Crows – April 1, 2022

By Bill Anderson

Geese by the millions … well, maybe by the hundreds of thousands, had congregated in the Rutland area on Monday & Tuesday, March 28 & 29, taking a pause in their northward migration. Some of the geese, primarily those of the Giant Canada variety, were busy selecting nesting sites in the local area, while the rest, the snows, blues, brant, speckle-bellies and lesser Canadians, were foraging in preparation for the next leg of their journey up to the Arctic Ocean. Predators such as American Bald Eagles and Red-tailed Hawks, shadowed the huge flocks of geese, picking off the weak and the crippled. The number of human predators tracking the flocks seemed to be down this year, but maybe they’re just better camouflaged than normal. Well, good luck to the hunters, and good luck to the geese. We’ll see you again this fall.

It started out as rain on the evening of Tuesday, March 29, but changed to slushy, mushy, sloppy snow sometime during the night. The forecasters had predicted 1 to 3 inches of snow from the event, and they could have been right, about halfway through the night. Chuck Anderson measured 5 inches of snow in his Weber Township farmyard, and Chuck Sundlie said that there was a good 6 inches of slush on his front yard on the southeast corner of town on Wednesday morning. According to Denny Pherson, the precipitation is welcome, as we don’t have to go too far west, south or north of Sargent County to find areas that are already suffering from the effects of drought. Custom harvesters are expecting a short crop of winter wheat this year, due to drought conditions all the way from Texas to North Dakota, says Denny.

Sargent Central students participating in League Trap Shooting this spring were selling raffle tickets in town this week, raising money to help defray expenses for clay pigeons, ammunition and other necessities. Among those working for the cause were: Tucker Wiederholt; Lucy Mahrer; and, Brody Mahrer. According to Tucker, the drawing for a cash prize of $500 will be held on Friday, April 1, and that’s not an April Fool’s Day joke, either.

Lou Ann Lee of Abercrombie ND, representing the Quilts Of Valor Foundation, presented handmade quilts to 9 local veterans of the Vietnam War in a ceremony at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 27, in the Nordland Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall. The quilts were made by a group of quilters from the Abercrombie area who are affiliated with the Quilts Of Valor Foundation. Each quilt had the veteran’s name and the date of presentation embroidered on it. Those presented with quilts were: Larry Christensen; Bill Anderson; Wallace Herman; John Hoflen; Andrew Hoflen; Boyd Jacobson, Jr.; Calvin Jacobson; Douglas Olstad; and, Douglas Spieker. The quilts were presented individually, and Ms. Lee read a brief summary of each veteran’s service as the quilt was draped over the veteran’s shoulders. Each veteran then had a chance to make a few remarks, and they all kept it short. Ms. Lee also presented emblems authorized by Congress to commemorate Vietnam War Veterans Memorial Day, March 29, to all those veterans present who had served in the U. S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War, from November of 1955 to May of 1975, regardless of where their service was. March 29, 1973, forty-nine years ago, was the date when the last U. S. combat unit left Vietnam. Following the ceremony the Rutland American Legion Auxiliary served coffee and bars for those in attendance.

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The Rooster Crows – Mar. 25, 2022

By Bill Anderson

“Follow me,” cry the wild geese, as northward they fly; Follow me to the Arctic’s cold and the midnight sun, our journey’s end for centuries gone by. Their cries move on, and soon they’re gone, ‘til Autumn’s migrants fly, and once more their calls of “follow me” echo through the sky. This Fall, I just might heed the call, to see what I might find, and keep company with the wild geese, I’m sure that they won’t mind.

The joyous Spring song of the wild geese is one of our rewards for enduring Winter on the prairie. The annual migration of snow & blue geese began moving into Sargent County last week, with the first large flocks flying over town on Monday, March 14. The Spring conservation hunting season is underway, too, so the birds have run a gauntlet all the way from Texas to North Dakota.  Despite the liberal rules of the hunt, the population of these prolific birds seems to be holding its own. Perhaps that means that the management plan is working.

Scott Haan of this community joined a cousin, Rick Kuhn of Grand Forks, to make a 4-wheel flight to Sun City West AZ a few days back. The 2 men departed Rutland at 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 10, and arrived at the home of Rick’s father, Bob Kuhn, in Sun City West on the morning of Friday, March 11. The occasion for the trip was to help the elder Mr. Kuhn celebrate his birthday, as well as to soak up some Arizona sunshine and warm weather. Scott & Rick reversed course on Monday, March 14, and were back in Rutland on Tuesday, March 15, the Ides of March. Scott brought back a big box of tree ripened Arizona lemons that he shared with friends here. Arizona sunshine juice, wrapped in a lemon peel.

A follow-up to the story about the wild palomino stallion, Golden Sovereign, that was in last week’s column. According to Gary Thornberg, his friend, Neil Herman, had told him that his Dad, Meredith Herman, had taught his favorite riding horse to jump fences in an attempt to keep up with the rampaging Golden Sovereign when the wild stallion was running free across the prairie and through the hills south of Rutland. Meredith taught the horse so well that, even after Golden Sovereign was caught, his horse still remembered how to jump a fence, and kept practicing the skill on his own. Finally, Meredith had to sell his horse to someone with taller fences, and more time to chase a fence jumping horse. As the Old Timers used to say, “Be careful what you want. You just might get it.” 

The sun has been shining, the wind has been blowing, the snow has been melting and the water has been flowing. Finally, the One who put it there is taking it away. Rutland’s maintenance man, Scott Haan, was opening culverts on Monday, March 21, helping the water find its way to Hudson’s Bay. The 6-foot snowbanks are down to 2 feet now, and some lawns are bare. The transition from Winter to Spring is moving fast. Winter may yet attempt a comeback, but the handwriting is on the wall as far as Winter’s future is concerned. Local farmers are beginning to move equipment around, so it won’t be long until reports of the first outfit stuck in the mud are received. Then, Spring will really be here.

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The Rooster Crows – Mar. 18, 2022

By Bill Anderson

Well, if Spring hasn’t sprung, it’s sure getting froggy. From below zero temperatures a week ago to highs in the 40’s and 50’s above Zero this week, the weather turnabout has improved outlooks and lifted spirits throughout the community. Cameron Gulleson says that it couldn’t have come at a better time. The Gulleson Ranch has about 100 new Black Angus calves on the ground, with another 600 soon to arrive, and new calves do a lot better at 50 degrees above zero than they do at 10 or 20 below. The Vernal Equinox occurs this Sunday, March 20, and that is the First Day of Spring, according to the Sun. History tells us that there will still be plenty of opportunities for blizzards and freezing weather between now and the First of June, but at least the end of Winter is near. Although weather historians tell us that we have endured tougher winters than the one just ending, this one, with its biting cold and fierce winds, seemed to be about as tough as we would want to have it. We North Dakotans will hang on to bragging rights for enduring Winter’s icy blasts, but there’s no sense in overdoing it. Enough is enough!

Twenty-one volunteer firemen, 16 from the Rutland-Cayuga Fire Protection District and 5 from the Forman-Havana Fire Protection District, gathered at the Rutland Fire Hall on Friday and Saturday, March 11 & 12, for vehicle extraction training. The Rutland-Cayuga Department had recently acquired the tools, including: the Jaws of Life; hydraulic powered cutting tools; a hydraulic ram; and a hydraulic power unit; and Rutland Fire Chief Jesse Maly had arranged for Rick Jorgenson from Lidgerwood, a North Dakota Certified Trainer, to lead the training exercises. During the course of the 2-day training session, the firemen cut apart 4 wrecked automobiles while learning how to handle the new tools. The new equipment was obtained from a dealer in central Minnesota who spends a lot of time hunting in the Rutland area each Fall, according to Cam Gulleson, a member of the Rutland Fire Department. All 21 of those who attended the training sessions are now certified to operate the Jaws of Life equipment, when and if necessary. The Rutland-Cayuga Fire Protection District will be holding its annual meeting this Thursday, March 17, at the Rutland Fire Hall. Bryce Carlson & Chris Jochim currently serve as the District’s board chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, and Kaia Mahrer serves as the District’s Clerk. Jesse Maly is Fire Chief and Travis Peterson is Assistant Fire Chief of the Rutland Department. Kurt Breker is Fire Chief of the Cayuga Department. Sargent County Emergency Manager Wendy Willprecht has commended those firefighters who completed the Jaws of Life training, increasing their ability to provide potentially life-saving services to the people of the community.

A large group of friends and family members gathered at the Jesse Brakke home in Ransom Township on Saturday, March 12, to present Jesse with a surprise 60th birthday party. Among those who came from a distance were: James & Sydney Brakke of Somerset WI; Claire Brakke & Alex Markovic of Madison WI; and Doug & Nancy Glarum from Detroit Lakes MN. Those in attendance report that a rollicking good time was enjoyed by all. Jesse’s birthday was actually on Sunday, the 13th, but, as long as everyone was there on Saturday, might as well party on.

Speaking of rollicking good times, Rutland Community Club President Katie McLaen reports that one was enjoyed by those attending Fun Night in Rutland on Sunday, March 13. More than 180 were present and having a good time in the Rutland Town Hall, according to Community Club board member Morgan Peterson. Twenty community volunteers manned the 12 game booths, the cakewalk, the BINGO game, and the lunch counter. Pizza & hot dogs were on the menu, as well as popcorn, cotton candy and Shirley Temples. You can’t beat that for a balanced diet! Sixty door prizes were awarded, and so many cakes had been donated for the cakewalk that, despite 2 hours of continuous action, there were still 15 cakes left at the end of the evening that also were awarded as door prizes. Congratulations to the Rutland Community Club and its officers on another great event in Rutland. The next Community Club event coming up in Rutland is the Annual Easter Egg Hunt at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 16, at the Rutland Town Hall.

Continue reading “The Rooster Crows – Mar. 18, 2022”

The Rooster Crows – Mar. 11, 2022

By Bill Anderson

“When March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb,” the old-timers used to say. So, what happens when March comes in like an iceberg? The first 10 days of March, 2022, have either been cold, or a lot colder, and the forecast doesn’t have any relief in sight. Daylight Savings Time begins at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 13; St. Patrick’s Day is on Thursday, March 17; and, the Vernal Equinox, the beginning of Spring, arrives on Sunday, March 20, according to the Sun; so we suspect that warmer weather may be arriving one of these days. So far no show, however. “If you don’t like the weather in North Dakota right now, just wait a minute and it’ll change,” is another of the old-timers’ sayings, and, although it is true, there is no guarantee that the new weather conditions won’t be worse than what you didn’t like in the first place, especially in March. Just be careful what you wish for. You might get it.

Mike & Debbie Banish drove to Fargo and then flew to Denver on Saturday, February 26, to represent North Dakota at the National Farmers Union Convention. The Banishes were delegates selected by the North Dakota Farmers Union to represent the State organization at the national level. Mike reports that the Convention was held in the Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown Denver. According to Mike, the delegates discussed current farm policy and adopted resolutions and policy positions stating the Farmers Union’s aims and goals when it comes to national farm policies and programs. Past President of the National Farmers Union, Roger Johnson of North Dakota, was recognized for his years of meritorious service to the organization by current President Bob Larew, according to Mike. The Banishes returned home on Wednesday, March 2, and report that they had a most enjoyable and informative time at the National Farmers Union Convention.

Norbert Kulzer was a patient at Sanford Hospital in Fargo from Wednesday, March 2, to Monday, March 7. Norbert received treatment for a painful hip injury and for an infection in one of his feet. He is feeling much better now, but will be moving a little slower than normal for a while. Norbert’s many friends extend a hearty “Welcome home!” to one of Rutland’s stalwarts.

Continue reading “The Rooster Crows – Mar. 11, 2022”