An Enterprising Kind of Guy

General Store in Marine on St. CroixWe stopped in at the old general store in Marine on St. Croix this afternoon, knowing that it was one of the four general stores in existence when my Great-Grandfather Graf was a shop owner in the town.  We just don’t know if it is “the” store that he owned.  The young guy behind the counter didn’t have a clue, bless his heart.  One interesting fact that we discovered though….this store was used by Garrison Keillor as the model for his general store in Lake Wobegon.  In fact, rumor has it that the whole little town of Marine on St. Croix was the model for Lake Wobegon.

We started our day in the library of Stillwater in the special St. Croix collection.  I think we hit the jackpot in several regards there.  I found an old ad for the general store my gr. grandpa owned.  Also found out these interesting facts.  My gr.gr. grandpa purchased a brewery in 1857 that he developed with my gr. grandpa.  At one point, it was reported that they were producing up to 500 barrels of beer a season.  I guess Gr. Grandpa Graf got bored with the brewing business because in 1870 he opened a general store with a Mr. Schmidt which they operated until he moved to Nobles County, Minnesota.  In addition to his business operation, Emil Graf also was a member of the First Minnesota Regiment, had opened a billiard parlor and saloon in Marine Mills (as it was called at that time), and was Justice of the Peace from 1872 to 1878.  And that’s all before he moved on to Nobles County where we are moving on to tomorrow.

More to follow from Nobles County.

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