Tuesday, April 29, 2014

St. Vincent Inventor: William Thedorf

Drawing submitted for Patent
[Click to Enlarge]

My grandparents moved from the homestead to uptown mainstreet of the village, in their later years. They bought a very cute little home with many beautiful appointments - gingerbread woodwork on the steep roof peaks, cream-coloured narrow wood siding, with shingle-like wood siding from the eaves to the peaks, painted in a dark red. It was quite a pretty little house, with its large front sitting room window, including a stained glass pane; very striking with the afternoon sun shining through it. There were gorgeous, wide framing throughout the house around the doors, windows, as well as foot-tall mop boards, all of it stained and varnished, showing off the beautiful wood grain. It was all carved, too, especially the top finials. Each room had hanging brass light fixtures, with the old-style push-button wall switches. The front porch had a storm and screen door, as well as an inner door opening into the parlour, the top half which was plain glass. My grandmother had an old-style oil cloth roller shade there, to provide the option of privacy.

My grandmother told me of neighbors they once had named the Thedorf family - what they did and what they were like - all of which has receded in my mind now, sadly.  But I do remember that their home eventually burned down, well before my time.  Evidently it was also a very beautiful home.  From what I can tell, the oldest homes, including some of the most grand, were built near the river, then eastward.  It was a common way to build out a town in the late 19th and early 20th century in the Red River Valley, despite the fact they always faced flooding sooner or later.

This post is about a discovery I made today, about my grandparents' long-ago uptown neighbor. Unbeknownst to me, the Thedorfs had amongst them an innovative inventor!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Water Cooler II

In this edition of the "Water Cooler", St. Vincent natives recall the simple pleasures of curling and ice skating.

I am younger than those in the conversation, but even I remember the curling rink when it *was* a curling rink (the building still exists), as well as the outdoor rink at Pembina. I even remember trying to go down those "creepy" steps once, as a 6-year old little girl. By then, the steps were getting a bit rickety, as well as being very steep; I chickened out! But I recall seeing others skating on it, especially at night with the string of bulbs that seemed to float above the ice. The rink was down a steep embankment, right alongside the Pembina River.

When the 1966 flood came, it was the end of the rink forever...

St. Vincent Curling Rink


Tess Dissmore THERE WAS A CURLING RINK IN ST.VINCENT ACROSS FROM THE GARDINERS. WE USED TO WATCH THEM PLAY , MY BROTHER -IN-LAW MANUEL GOOSELAW WAS PLAYING THERE ONE NITE AND THRU THE ROCK AND DIED OF A MASSIVE HEART ATTACK. , HE WAS MARRIED TO LEONA CAMPEAU. I BELIEVE IT WAS 1959 OR 60.

Ginny Grumbo-Mcallister Eva and Frank Gardiner were my aunt and uncle Dave Geddes In the late 1920.s when I learned to skate Pembina did not have a indoor rink.

Dorothy Barber Ted Ryan used to skate on a small rink that someone made sort of under - to the north - of the Pembina bridge.

Tess Dissmore WELL I WAS AROUND TILL 1957 AND WE ALWAYS WENT TO PEMBINA TO SKATE AND I DO REMEMBER TED RYAN.  SOMETIMES WE WALKED AND SOMETIME WE GOT A RIDE BUT IF WE HAD TO WALK HOME WE HAD A LONG TREK, IT SEEMED, BUT WAS SCARY TO GO OVER THE OLD BRIDGE. MANY GREAT MEMORIES SKATING ON OPEN RINK BY PEMBINA BRIDGE. TED RYAN, I REMEMBER HE WOULD THROW HIS HAT ON THE ICE AND HE HAD LONG BLADES ON HIS SKATES AND HE WAS A VERY GOOD SKATER AND WOULD COME AROUND FAST AND PICK UP HIS HAT W/ HIS SKATE. WE HAD A SHOW FOR US...ENJOYED HIM.

Cleo Bee Jones I loved going into Pembina to skate at the rink, the last time I skated there was 1958! Memories, la da da da da da da da da

Trish Short Lewis No one alive now has memories of the 1897 INDOOR skating rink in Pembina, but it evidently once existed...

Tess Dissmore THERE WAS A SKATING RINK IN ST. VINCENT RIGHT NEXT TO THE CURLING RINK, BUT I JUST DON'T REMEMBER SKATING THERE A LOT; JUST DON'T KNOW WHY NOT?

Donald Reese I remember the curling rinks, but not the Skating rink, the curling rink had wooden bleachers up on one end so you could watch them curl, and of course the brooms were different then. those old curlers could really make those old broom whisk. [Note:  In the early 1960s, I once sat on those bleachers myself.  It was towards the end of the building's use as a curling rink, and I was there to watch my grandfather play one of his last games...]

Delphine Mundorf yup those old brooms were like the old straw brooms we use to have. Watched grandpa use one in Bemidji in a tournament. He also threw the stone at different Times.

Betty Jeanne Short Thorsvig Sharon and I used to skate A LOT on the Pembina rink. She was a better skater than I. My memories of the Pembina Skating Rink are: how cool it was way below the city, made on an open plain above the river. When you entered to go down the creepy (steep) stairs off the main street, there was like a hundred wooden steps to even get down to it. They would play music. There was a wooden shack where you could borrow skates if you didn't have any. Wooden benches to sit and put on your skates and a stove to keep you warm. I also remember skating on Lake Stella and also Dad would clean off a spot for us on our land where was a pond. I LOVED winter as a kid!! Wish someone would have pictures far and near of that rink.