Dassel and Nuclear War

On September 26, 1983, the United States was involved in what was called a cold war; a period of difficult relations between the United States, our allies (The Western Bloc) and the Soviet Union and its allies, (the Eastern Bloc). Historically this time span was from March 12, 1947, beginning with the announcement of the Truman Doctrine, to December 26, 1991, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It was a scary time here in the mid-west. We were targeted as possible nuclear bomb fallout areas due to missile silos in neighboring states. I remember clearly watching a news program of then Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev table declaring “We will bury you”

He did not bang his shoe!

(Although I was only 4 and I remember him pounding a shoe. THAT never happened, so I am not sure how I acquired this memory)

Back to that fateful day in September of 1983 false alarms of up to 5 nuclear missiles aimed upon Russia by the United States were reported.

From Wikipedia, “On 26 September 1983, during the Cold War, the nuclear early-warning radar of the Soviet Union reported the launch of one intercontinental ballistic missile with four more missiles behind it, from bases in the United States. These missile attack warnings were suspected to be false alarms by Stanislav Petrov, an officer of the Soviet Air Defense Forces on duty at the command center of the early-warning system. He decided to wait for corroborating evidence—of which none arrived—rather than immediately relaying the warning up the chain-of-command. This decision is seen as having prevented a retaliatory nuclear attack against the United States and its NATO allies, which would likely have resulted in an escalation to a full-scale nuclear war. Investigation of the satellite warning system later determined that the system had indeed malfunctioned.”

Bomb Shelter in Minneapolis 1953

This was our country’s most serious scare since the 1962 Bay of Pigs incident.

Minneapolis, under the assumption that a large city would be a likely target went into high alert mode and quickly completed an in-process system for evacuation of the city residents to rural country safety. A rather naïve plan had been worked on for several years. People would be told to pack as though you headed for a 3-week camping trip and to take along extra socks, a thermos, a crowbar, and credit cards. The plan’s working was based on a 3-day warning of a possible strike, with the assumption that people would need to be gone only 1 to 3 weeks until negotiations averted the war.

Boys Building Bomb Shelter in Minneapolis

And here is where Dassel came into play. Meeker County was set as a site to house up to 31,00 people from Minneapolis, Osseo, and Maple Grove, for up to 3 weeks, with Dassel anticipated to house 2,700 of them. At that time, we had a population of 1,066. Meeker County emergency Service director at the time, Bill Nelson, said, “We may be feeding people turkey for two weeks, but we can do it.”

Dassel had 23 public fallout shelters listed. They included the basement of the Evangelical Covenant Church slated to house 432 people and the basement of the Holm Brothers Hardware slated to house 21 people. The hardware store basement “barely measures 20 ft square and is cluttered with boxes of metal ducts” Star Tribune article, Kevin McCarthy 12-5-83

Bungalow Inn being moved from Darwin to Dassel…not a large cafe

Bill Nelson said of the hardware store basement “they’d almost be on top of each other…. it’s going to stink like Hell. But again, it is survival we are talking about.” Asked if he would want to spend a minimum of a week in the store basement Norman Loven, the hardware store owner said, ” It depends on who you are going in with.”

The Bungalow Inn, a café of the time was designated as one site to provide food for the Dassel based evacuees. According to the Star Tribune article, the owner’s son, did not know of the designation at the time of being told by Mike Kaszuba, the author of the article. Kevin stated that he did not think it could be done. The café normally served about 60 people a day, with five booths.

This all seems like an innocent plan, slightly bereft of common sense based on today’s knowledge of the way our world operates. Dassel residents, this plan is not in effect today, the logistics would be next to impossible.

We have approximately 3 storm shelters in Dassel today; the city hall restrooms, the school, and the trailer park has a shelter for the park residents. These are focused on storms rather than nuclear safety. Times have changed, we are smarter, but are we wiser?

Labor Day

bricklayerToday we honor all those who struggled through out our history to make the workforce safe and equable for us all.  Let us hope this struggle will continue to succeed and stop child labor and virtual slavery across our world.

Buy local, manufacture local, try for self sufficiency in all things.childlabor1

Thank you!!!


We thank you. We honor you.


For all of those who  serve, before, now, and in the future,  Thank you!

Happiest New Year!

From us to you, may 2016 be full of prosperity and adventure!


Image from Steve Thornton Photography

Let Freedom Ring

Freedom is hard-won.  Won with the lives of our children, with the ferocity of our people’s beliefs.  Today, we honor this.  Live like it matters!Statue-of-Liberty-aka-The-great-Bartholdi-statue-1884

The Salt Creek Crossing Raid


warrenwagonContractor Henry Warren was hired to haul supplies to the forts in West Texas. On May 18, 1871 Warren’s wagon train, heavily laden with corn, was traveling the Jackson Belknap Road towards Salt Creek Crossing. Along the trail they briefly encountered the famous General William Tecumseh Sherman. Within an hour of this brief encounter a large group of riders was spotted in the distance ahead, appearing to be Kiowa warriors. Warren quickly placed the wagons in a circle, mules in the center.
The Warriors efficiently attacked the circled wagons, killing then mutilating seven of the wagoners. The leaders of the Kiowa warriors were Satana, Satank, and Eagle Heart. They had watched the Sherman party pass by from their hidden post, but had not attacked. The previous evening a Shaman predicted that the relatively small party would be shortly followed by a larger party with more reward.
The raiders lost 3 men but in the end of the raid captured 41 mules’ carrying many supplies as the Shaman had prophesied.
Only five men escaped, including one Thomas Brazeale who managed to reach Fort Richardson, 20 long walking miles away where he told the story of the brutal attack to Colonel Ronald Mackenzie. Sherman was informed and the two army officers took a party out to search for the raiders. The 3 chiefs were captured and sent by train to Fort Richardson. Satank was killed on the train while trying to escape, and the other two were tried and convicted of murder in Jack County, Texas on July 6 in the first Native American trial in history,

Earth Day!

Celebrate our Heritage.  Celebrate our Future!a15eecb6-cbdc-5af0-bf31-247664ddc7df.preview-300

The Trickster

In honor of April Fool’s Day, here is a look at the original Old West Trickster, Coyote!



Airbrush Paintings – Coyote – The Trickster by J W Baker

No More Hurdy Gurdy

Today in history…
Today in 1885; Montana Territory- the legislature banned “pernicious hurdy-gurdy” houses.  Well then…

despair of the dovesFor all the romance, for all the movie representations about Spoiled Doves. we can name more stories of the pain of prostitution.  Often a needed way to make money for women of the old west, prostitution was a dangerous and life sapping activity.  Women were subject to beatings, disease, overwork and early death.  Many women imported from other countries, were held as slaves dependent on their “owners”  to survive.  Their lives were sad and rough, Women from an early age entered into this system, starting in youth as a featured member of the house and often ending; older and worn out, in back alley cribs.

Widows, daughters, poor destitute women were  soilded doveforced due to circumstances to turn to prostitution to survive.  There were few ways for a woman to make money, teaching, store keeping, millinery and prostitution were primary income sources, and the “good” jobs where few.

Upon the shoulders of these outcast ladies; great parts of our country were built.

Our hats are off to honor them!



Our Best Hopes For A Day Filled With Love to You

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Previous Older Entries

Coming to Dassel

Meeker County Townships have an incredible History. Follow along to learn more.

Writing about...Writing

Some coffee, a keyboard and my soul! My first true friends!

Tilly Evan Jones

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable and beautiful and afraid of nothing as though I had wings.” ~Mary Oliver


Happy Stuff

Lost Creek

Old West Lore, Old West Leather, Chuckwagons, and More