My mother married Budgar (Edgar J. Matson) on 8 December 1961 in Webster, South Dakota. We celebrated the following Christmas at the Spring Lake Park house. I remember Budgar’s two daughters from his previous marriage being there. They received a bunch of Barbie stuff. It might be when things started to become difficult between Budgar and myself. He made me play a board game, “Barbie Queen of the Prom,” with his two daughters, Janna and Heidi. I was not amused.
Shortly after Christmas, we moved from the small house on Monroe Street in Spring Lake Park to a much larger home in North Minneapolis. We rented the upstairs of a fairly large duplex at 1502 Fremont Avenue North. Fremont was a very busy street. It was a multi-lane one-way street that commuters used to go into the city in the morning. The owners of the house lived downstairs and we rented the upstairs.
I have no photos of the house from the time we lived there; however, in 2013 I visited the neighborhood and took a couple photos of the house. The house, built in 1900, has fared well over the years and it looks better now than it did in 1962. I’m pretty sure we moved in there the first few days of January 1962.
It was a very rough part of town. I had lived in the country and in the suburbs before that and Fremont Ave. was my first experience living in the inner city. The three and a half block walk to school was dangerous. There were kids that would beat you up and take your lunch money. Some would beat you up just because they could. I quickly learned to take a route to school that avoided the Franklin Junior High kids, who were the older kids most likely to beat you up. It wasn’t too bad in the dead of winter, but as the year warmed up the likelihood of being accosted on your way to school increased exponentially. Not much could be done; parents in those days didn’t drive their kids to school. Besides which, Budgar thought it built character to be beaten up occasionally.
Elizabeth L. Hall Elementary
Elizabeth L. Hall Elementary was built in 1960 as a K-6 school. There were ten classrooms, a kindergarten area, lunchroom, and gymnasium. It was a four block walk to school and I had to cross Emerson, a fast running one-way heading North that carried much of the commuting traffic. If I remember correctly, my teacher’s name was Mr. Malmburg. He was the first male teacher I had in school. He did an excellent job of keeping control of the class. I think the school worked hard at developing the social skills of the students rather than focusing on academic skills. About a week before the end of the school year, Mr. Malmburg left the school for a job in Germany. A substitute came in for the final week and the class went utterly out of control, especially the last couple days. On the last day of school, and for us sixth-graders the last day of elementary school, many of us boys were so disruptive that we spent our last couple hours in the assistant principal’s office. My mother had to leave work and come to school to take custody of me and my report card. The school detained me because I jammed a screwdriver into an electrical outlet blowing a breaker thus plunging several classrooms into darkness. I have no doubt we would have been suspended if it wasn’t our last day. That poor substitute teacher. I feel sorry for her today. She probably never wanted to come back to Elizabeth Hall school ever again. I didn’t either.
An addition of another six classrooms was added the following year, in 1963. Today, Elizabeth Hall is a “magnet school” supporting K-5. According to Trulia and Realtor, it is graded as a 1 on the scale of 1 to 10. Its academics don’t seem to have improved much.
That summer, we moved again, about a mile away to Bryant Ave. so, I begin Junior High School at Jordan JHS, which is another story.
Internet: Minneapolis Public Schools History // Schools and Facilities // Elementary Schools // Elementary Schools D – H // Hall // Planning for the Future
Image Source: Internet: Minneapolis Public Schools History // Schools and Facilities // Elementary Schools // Elementary Schools D – H // Hall // Slideshow
We know that “Chin Chin” played at the Walker Theatre in Winnipeg on January 19-24, but I still haven’t determined where the show was from the 25th to the 31st. That is a full week still unaccounted for. It is likely that during that week the show played somewhere in the North Dakota or northern Minnesota. In any event, the “Chin Chin” cast arrived in Minneapolis and opened on February 1st for a full week at the Metropolitan Opera House (aka Metropolitan Theatre).
The Minneapolis Sunday Tribune had a wonderful spread about the show in their “On Stage and Screen” section of the paper. There was a cute photo of the Quartet of Dancing Dolls from [the] “Chin Chin” Chorus as well as one of the better pre-show articles that I’ve seen. Donna was not part of this chorus but she is mentioned in the article.
CHARLES DILLINGHAM’S production of “Chin Chin,” a musical extravaganza of enduring popularity because of its delightful melodies, comes to the Metropolitan for the week, opening tonight. “Chin Chin” will be remembered as the last play in which the versatile Fred Stone and the late Dave Montgomery appeared as co-stars, a vehicle in which these comedians enjoyed a phenomenal success on Broadway and later on tour. In it they appeared together in Minneapolis for the last time in 1917.
Easily, the chief asset of “Chin Chin,” considered solely as a dramatic composition, is the excellent music which Ivan Caryell provided for the piece. There is practically no plot to the variegated performance, merely a string of incidents strung together on the thin thread of the idea of Aladdin and his wonderful, taken from old Arabian Nights tale. but the music is something to recall with genuine pleasure long after one has forgotten plot and principals. “Love Moon,” “Good-bye, Girls,” and “Ragtime Temple Bells” are airs which hold an irresistible appeal, which one hums over reminiscently, dances to and probably adds to his collection of favorite phonograph records to perpetuate. “Chin Chin” is blessed with perhaps the best music of any musical comedy which has appeared in many seasons.
Starting in a quaint Oriental toy bazaar, the action passes rapidly to a tea shop where a New Year’s celebration is in progress, on to a palace and winds up in a real circus. The pseudo-plot is built about the properties of a magical lamp which has the power to grant any wish of its possessor. A charming American girl and Aladdin, the young here, are in search of this lamp but encounter difficulties in the person of Abannbar, a wily Chinese villain who finally is ordered off the stage to permit the play to end happily.
Chin Hop Hi and Chin Hop Low, the slaves of the lamp, provide the chief fun of the piece. These will be played by Walter Wills and Roy Binder, two comedians who come well recommended for their drollery and clever dancing.
Other principals with this production are: Ethel Lawrence, Donna Montran,[i] Irene McKay, Carrie Dale, Nora Sieler, Neva Larry, Irene Burka, Victoria Burka, Louise Robinson, Starr Dunham, Joseph Robinson, English Orly, Richard Bosch, Edward Klement and George Phelps. There is also a large chorus of pretty girls.
Replete with the elaborate costuming and scenery that characterize a Dillingham production, “Chin Chin” opened a week’s engagement at the Metropolitan last night. It is the tuneful, rollicking, gloom-dispelling farce of other days when Fred Stone and the late Dave Montgomery utilized it as one of their most successful vehicles. Like many modern musical comedies, “Chin Chin” is unembarrassed by a plot, though this feature in no wise detracts from one’s enjoyment of the performance. It is merely a series of incidents strung together on the thread of the idea of Aladdin and his wonderful lame, the old Arabian Nights lame which as the magical property of granting, through it charming goddess and versatile slaves, the every wish of its possessor. Obviously, with a real villain included, and the magical lamp frequently changing hands, there are complications aplenty.
Walter Wills and Roy Binder are two ambitious, hard-working comedians who do not spare themselves in providing a wide variety of fun. They are clever dancers, sing together in an amusing manner, and Mr. Wills, especially, is a droll mimic of more than ordinary talents. While much of their comedy is patterned on that of Montgomery and Stone, they do not hesitate to introduce amusing innovations of their own conception, a fact which stamps their work with a certain individuality rather than as mere imitation of their predecessors in the roles. Mr. Wills’ facial contortions in singing and an adroitness in assuming ridiculous poses never fails to win appreciate applause. His eccentric dancing with Irene McKay is perhaps his best work.
Donna Montran is a stately “Goddess of the Lamp” who has a pleasing voice, her singing of “Violet” being the best vocal offering of the performance.[ii] Starr Dunham is an acceptable “Aladdin” and the “Abanazar” of Joseph Robinson pictures a real villain. Joseph Boyle and Arch Bennett supply good comedy as “Frisco” and the horse in the circus scene.
Tom Brown’s saxophone sextile won a generous share of last night’s applause and proved one of the best hosts of the present presentation of “Chin Chin.”
This exact same article also appeared in the Daily People’s Press (Owatonna, MN) on February 8th. An accompanying photograph showed the “Girls in ‘Chin Chin.’” The photo and the article mention that the show begins next Monday evening, February 9th. Clearly, a mistaken article in the Press as “Chin Chin” was only scheduled be at the Metropolitan Theatre for the week. I haven’t determined where “Chin Chin” played from February 8th through February 11th, but it played at the Grand Theatre in Eau Claire, Wisconsin on February 12th.
The Metropolitan Theatre
Julius Cahn Theater Guide for 1913-1914 indicates the Metropolitan Theatre had a seating capacity of 1767 — 592 on the main floor, 675 in the balcony, and 500 in the Gallery. The stage opening was large, 40×30 feet.[iii]
History of the Metropolitan Opera House
The Opera House opened on March 24, 1894, as the New People’s Theater. It was located at 320 First Avenue South in Minneapolis. First Avenue is now named Marquette Avenue. In 1898, the theater was renamed the Metropolitan Opera House by new owner Jacob Litt. It operated as legitimate theater until the mid-1920s, when the theater turned to movies exclusively. In 1937, after only 43 years of operation, it was closed and demolished shortly afterward.
The former site of the Metropolitan Opera House is across Marquette Avenue from the Hennepin County Family Court building. The entire block was a large parking lot for many years. Today, the site is under construction and well on its way to being a new Opus Group 30-story multipurpose building, which will include luxury apartments, fine dining, and retail spaces. It is scheduled to open in August 2018 as 365 Nicollet Avenue. There is a fun-to-see time-lapse video of the building being built on the Opus Group website.[iv]
[i] [Emphasis is mine.] [ii] [Emphasis is mine.] [iii] The Julius Cahn Gus Hill Theatrical Guide 1913-1914 – Page 327 – Metropolitan Opera House. [iv] Internet: Opus Group – Work – Residential – 365 Nicollet Luxury Multifamily – Accessed 21 October 2017.
Randy Seaver in his blog, Genea-Musings suggested that we look at where our ancestors were 100 years ago. I thought I’d take a stab at it more from a location perspective. In October 1917, my ancestors were in Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Minnesota. Just “I” and “M” states. My paternal side are the “I” states; the Roberts were in Illinois and the Scotts were in Indiana. My maternal side are the “M” states; the Browns were in Minnesota and the Montrans (Barbers) were in Michigan, except for my grandmother, Madonna (Donna) who lived in Massachusetts for a short time.
My paternal grandfather, Bert Allen Roberts, was 14 years old. His father had died in 1908 and he was living with his mother, step-father, brother and two sisters. It isn’t clear if they were living in Turman, Sullivan County, Indiana (1910) or in Hutsonville, Crawford County, Illinois (1920), but I think they were still in Indiana.
Bert’s 71-year-old grandmother, Patience Ann (Marshall) (Dean) Roberts was living in Sesser, Barren Township, Franklin County, Illinois.
Bert’s 34-year-old mother, Clora Dell (Scott) (Roberts) Adams was married to Hosea Adams. It is unclear if they were still in Turman, Sullivan, Indiana, or if they had relocated to Hutsonville, Crawford County, Illinois in 1917.
Clora’s father, Samuel Vaden Scott, had remarried Lavina Allmend after the death of Amanda Jane Haley. The 57-year old was living in Goode Township, Franklin County, Illinois.
My paternal grandmother, Essie Pansy Barnes, was 14 years old. She was living on the farm near Turman, Sullivan County, Indiana.
Essie’s father, Joel Clinton Barnes, was 60 years old and living on a farm near Graysville, Turman Township, Sullivan County, Indiana.
Essie’s mother, Marada A. (Lister) Barnes, was 50 years old and living with Joen on the farm near Graysville, Turman Township, Sullivan County, Indiana.
My maternal grandfather, Clifford D Brown, later known as Richard Earl Durand and even later as Richard Earl Brown, (Grandpa Dick) was also 14 years-old. He lived with his family in Backus, Cass County, Minnesota.
Clifford/Richard’s father, Arthur Durwood Brown, was 48-years-old and living in Backus, Cass County, Minnesota.
Clifford/Richard’s mother, Mary Elizabeth (Manning) Brown, was 39-years-old and living with her husband, Arthur, in Backus.
My maternal grandmother, Madonna Mae Montran, (later known as Donna) was married to Thomas Valentine Rooney (her second marriage). (It does not appear that she ever took his surname.) They were probably living in Wrentham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, although they may have located to New York City about that time. Madonna’s father died before 1900 and I have been unsuccessful in determining his parents.
Madonna’s (Donna’s) mother, Ida Mae (Barber) (Montran) (Fisher) (Holdsworth) Knight was living with her 4th husband, Harvey Knight in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan.
Ida’s mother, Sarah H (Blackhurst) Barber was also living in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. Her husband, Frank Barber, died earlier in 1917.
Thirteen of my direct ancestors were alive in September 1917. That is all four of my grandparents, six of my great-grandparents, and three of my 14 known great-great-grandparents.
Based upon their locations in 1917, I can say my father’s line came from Illinois and Indiana and my mother’s line came from Michigan and Minnesota. I have abirthplace chart that shows where my ancestors were born that tells a somewhat different story. Grandpa Dick was born in North Dakota but was in Minnesota in 1917. Similarly, my great-grandmother, Mary (Manning) Brown, was born in Kentucky but was in Minnesota in 1917.
My life locations provide some of greatest location distances of anyone I know. I was born in Portland, Oregon; I hail from Minnesota, having lived there during most of my youth and over 35 years total. Over the years, I have lived in Oregon, Minnesota, Michigan, Colorado, Montana, California, Virginia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Georgia, and Maine. Now, I live about 3,200 miles away from my birth location of Portland, Oregon, in Portland, Maine.
Handy Genealogy Handbooks – “All You Need to Find Genealogy Resources FAST!”
Parkview Elementary, Fridley, Anoka County, Minnesota
In August 1958, we moved from Anoka to Fridley into a tiny little house on NE 2nd Street. At the time the address was 5853, however, sometime during the ensuing years, the address has changed to 5881. Zillow says that the house was built in 1948 and is a 480-square-foot one bedroom home. My grandmother and my mother had the bedroom. I had the bedroom closet as my bedroom. It was a large closet for such a small house but was really small as a bedroom. As I recall, it was only inches longer than my bed. My clothes dresser blocked the side of my bed by my feet. Boxes under the bed contained most of my clothes and my boy things. I had model airplanes hanging from the ceiling. The Fridley house is the first house I lived in that is still standing. There are still houses that I lived in that were built before the Fridley House, but none of the places I lived before I lived in Fridley are still standing.
My mother was still working at Anoka State Hospital when we were living there. I have a photo of her in her nurse’s uniform on the steps to the house.
My grandmother’s ledger (From the Donna Darling Digital Collection) says we paid $55/month in rent. I remember life in Fridley as idyllic. A short block away was a huge open field that I played in. Later that field was where I trapped gophers (See “My First ‘Job’ – Trapper.” Down the street was “Melody Manor,” a new development. There was a park where I joined “Little League” and learned to play baseball. I was pretty much a bench warmer and only remember batting once or twice when our team was many runs ahead.
My best friend was a girl, Patty Hopkins, who lived on Main street. (I wonder what ever happened to her.) Her house was across a vacant lot (now Skyline Park) to a house no longer there. A few houses down 2nd Street was where Mark and Rodney Sabo(?) lived. If I was going to get into trouble, it would be with them. There were a couple derelict houses between where we lived that were a source of fun – mostly things like knocking down hornet’s nests and yellow-jacket nests. The derelicts are long gone and a 2-1/2 story apartment is there today. Also, about a half a mile away was the Mississippi River and Chase Island. There was usually a tree down bridging the distance from shore to the island. Lots of fun playing there. Of course, I wasn’t supposed to go there to play – it was across both a busy highway (without any lights) and across multiple railroad tracks. Sometimes, I’m amazed that I lived through my youth.
We lived in the Fridley house for two and a half years, by far the longest I had lived anywhere up to that point in my life. As I recall, we painted that house, fenced it, put on awnings, put up a flagpole, and did many other improvements to the house, yard, and property even though we were renters. My grandmother planted moss roses along the side by the side door – they are still one of my favorite flowers. I love how they open-up to full bloom every morning and close every night.
Parkview Elementary was about six long-blocks away (nine long-blocks in a mile) and I walked. I don’t remember much about third grade. I know the school was new. In fourth grade, I had Mrs. Peterson as my teacher. She, as I recall, was older and she saw something in me that she encouraged. Fourth grade was the year I shifted from “getting by” to one of the smart kids. She became an “Ancestor of Spirit” for me that year. She helped make me the person I am, today. Maybe it was also because it was the first school I attended two years in a row. In any event, I excelled that year and carried on into the following year.
Absent other sources, I usually trust the 1900 Census as being the most accurate for the date because it provides both a month/year and age for the individual. In the case of Frank Xaver Drexl the 1900 Census record shows his birth as Dec 1857 and his age as 42.
A very close look at his age suggests that it once said his age was 43 and was “corrected” to read 42. I set his birth year as 1857 based upon this record. However, all the other census records I found were inconsistent with that date. In the 1910 Census he was 53; in the 1920 Census, he was reported as 63. Even the 1885 Census suggested the birth year of 1856. After finding every other record I could find for him indicated his birth in 1856, I decided to change my records to indicate an 1856 birth.
Reminder to self: Don’t become so attached to a bit of information and be unwilling to change something when presented with alternate evidence.
Some researchers indicate that Frank Xaver Drexl married Ursula Eggert on 25 Oct 1881 in Petzenhausen, Bavaria. I think an 1879 or 1880 marriage is just as likely. Their eldest known son, Nicholas Edward Drexl was born in November 1881 only a month after the other researcher’s suggested date. Also, the 1900 and 1910 Census records indicate the couple had been married for 20 and 30 years respectively suggesting an 1879 or 1880 marriage date.
The 1900 Census shows the heartbreak the family had to have experienced. According to the Census, Ursula had had 12 children, only 8 of whom were still living and the 1910 Census indicated 13 children with nine still living.
We know of the following children:
Nicholas Edward Drexl
Nov 1881 Germany
Apr 1882 – Germany
5 Months – Impossible **
Francis T Drexl
Aug 1886 – Illinois
4 years, 4 months *
Oct 1888 – Kansas
2 years, 2 months
Nov 1890 – Kansas
2 years, 1 month
Joseph Peter Drexl
22 Jan 1893 – Minnesota
2 years, 2 months
Charles Mathias Drexl
30 Nov 1894 – Minnesota
1 year, 7 months
Frank J Drexl
16 Sep 1899 – Minnesota
4 years, 10 months *
Anthony John Drexl
18 Apr 1902 – Minnesota
2 years, 7 months
1st Unknown Drexl
(Probably about 1884)
Bef. 01 Jun 1900
2nd Unknown Drexl
(Probably about 1896) MN
Bef. 01 Jun 1900
3rd Unknown Drexl
4th unknown Drexl
* The age gap between Christina and Francis suggests that one of the missing children was probably born about 1884 about the time of their immigration to the United States. Another gap between Charles and Anthony suggests that another of the missing children was probably born about 1896. The other two would be pure speculation as to possible birth dates.
** The 1900 Census indicates that Nicholas was born in 1881, however, the 1895 Minnesota Census indicates that Nicholas was likely born in 1880. If so that would put the cap between him and Christina 1 year 5 months.
The family came to the United States from Germany in 1884 and located in Illinois where Francis was born.[iii]
Move to Kansas
By 1888, they had relocated to Kansas where Kate and Mary were born.[iv]
Another Move – This time to Minnesota
By 1892 the family located to Minnesota.[v] Where they lived until his death in 1929.[vi]
The 1895 Census indicates Frank with Ursula and five children living at 258 Custer Street in Saint Paul’s 6th District, Ramsey County, Minnesota.[vii] This location appears to have been renamed because there is no longer a Custer Street in Saint Paul. However, Frank was working as a Cabinetmaker at De Coster & Clark which was at 375-379 Jackson Street, Saint Paul. Frank worked for them, and Wright De Coster until at least 1926 and probably until his death.
The 1900 Census and 1900 city directory show the family still on Custer Street.[viii]
By 1910 the family had located to 46 East Robie.[ix] Again, that location appears to be gone. It is probably now a baseball field that is part of El Rio Vista Recreational Center.
By 1920, Frank had purchased a house at 35 West Isabel, Saint Paul.[x] Both Realtor and Zillow dot com indicate the house at 35 West Isabel was built in 2001. However, it appears to be a house much earlier than that. The 1910s seems quite possible based on the architecture.
Frank Xaver Drexl died on 04 Nov 1929 in Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota. I have not been successful in finding a burial location for him.