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home : spring valley tribune : historical view April 16, 2014 

Lee Block building is a Spring Valley treasure
This picture shows North Broadway, about 1930 showing Lee Block when it was the Chevrolet garage.
This picture shows North Broadway, about 1930 showing Lee Block when it was the Chevrolet garage.
Yes, treasures keep arriving and the historical society is always most grateful. I've always admired the most beautiful downtown building, the Lee Block, now the home of Valley Appliance & Sheldon Plumbing & Heating. Bob and Rhoda Jones did a great job of having the exterior restored many years ago, and it is still a standout.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014

An uncle's collection gives insight to area's history
It was May 20, 1957, when the Rochester Post Bulletin featured an article on my great-uncle, O.R. Steffens, as shown in the accompanying photo.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Masonic Lodge played key social role in Spring Valley
Social life was vitally important in the early settlements and folks relied on churches and groups for mutual support. The first lodge to organize in Spring Valley in 1866 was the Masonic Lodge, known as Lodge No. 58, A.F. & A.M., the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. They began with 11 members: E.J. Kingsbury, J.D. Farmer, Robert McCord, Calvin Taylor, S.M. Hudson, James Teter, Isaac Forkner, W. Mordoff, Geo. Walker, John Q. Farmer, and Sylvester Treat.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Remembering Spring Valley's revered blacksmith, Gerhard Caflisch
In the early years, one of the essential industries in every hamlet was that of the blacksmith shop. In visiting with Calvin Oss, 1942 graduate of Spring Valley High School, he remembered Louie Plonty, blacksmith, whose shop was along the railroad track, maybe near Washington Avenue. Several of us old-timers remember Gerhard "Gay" Caflisch whose shop was on East Main Street.
Monday, March 24, 2014
Intriguing family letters detail exciting foreign adventures
This column concludes a story on Spring Valley graduate, Howard Keck, who took work with the Turkish Petroleum Co. near Bagdad, Iraq, in the 1920s. His sister, Verna Keck Steffens of Racine, saved his letters and the Iraq newspapers he had sent home.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Continuing the chronicles of local man's 1920s Iraqi adventure
This column continues the story of Howard Keck's life near Baghdad, Iraq, as he works at the oil wells being drilled back in the 1920s.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Letters home chronicle local man's adventures in the late 1920s
Recently two packets of family history have been placed in my hands, causing much reflection on life and its unexpected turns.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
The road to Mayo Clinic: the story of Dr. Plummer and the Mayo brothers
The 1892 graduating class of Spring Valley high school boasted at least one man who made a significant impact on the whole world of medicine. Can you guess who?
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Small town steeped in medical history
We continue our "history" of medicine here in Spring Valley. The "Five Canadian Doctors" were well-known in town as early as the 1880s, including doctors Charles Johnson, William Kendrick, J. Ross Johnson, Cyrus Eby and Wm. McGillivray, the latter a vet in LeRoy.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Spring Valley once host to medical pioneers
A recent tour of the marvelous new Olmsted Medical Clinic in Spring Valley prompted a look at long-ago history of medicine in town. At centennial time in 1955, John and Betty Halbkat perused "History of Medicine in Fillmore County Prior to 1900," written by Nora Guthrey of Mayo Clinic, Rochester. Following are some of their notes plus a few of mine. A Scottish physician once said, "It is the lot of the successful medical practicioner to be invaluable when alive and to be forgotten soon after he is dead." Not so! Here in this area we appreciate and give thanks for their dedication.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
The chronicles of Minnesota's staunch Norwegian politico
We are bound to see the reelection rhetoric heating up any time soon, so it might be fun to consider the interesting career of a Minnesota politician from almost a hundred years ago. Perhaps he visited Spring Valley and left behind the cards you see in the photo which were turned in to the historical society among other personal papers.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014


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