Benton Co. History: The Story of Briggsville Part 2
Bernie (Socieck) Wesenberg -R and sister Lorraine ( Sobieck) Van hale in younger years standing on the bridge in Sauk Rapids. Both grew up in Briggsville. Picture dated around 1943. Behind the ladies on right is the Central Lumber building that used to stand where the marquee of Coborns store is on their left in the background is Neron's Hardware building.
SAUK RAPIDS -- We have a follow-up story for you on the community formerly called Briggsville. It was an area along the west side of the Mississippi River once owned by Sauk Rapids.
Benton County Historical Society Executive Director Mary Ostby talked about Briggsville in our monthly segment last month and because of that interview, she was able to connect with 97-year-old Lorraine Sobiech-Van Hale Wagner whose family has lived on Foley Street in the former Briggsville for almost 100 years and four generations.
Lorraine says Briggsville was also called Shantytown because a majority of the houses were shanties.
She also talked about how she and her siblings walked to the Sacred Heart Catholic school by crossing the Sauk Rapids bridge.
Briggsville finally got electricity in 1935.
Ostby says the part of Briggsville closest to the bridge had quite a few businesses.
One of the businesses she talked about was the Air-O-Inn. We found two business ads one for the Arrow-Inn and the other for the Air-O-Inn. I couldn't quite figure out the connection between the two, but they look like they were owned by family members.
The nite club hosted dances four nights a week in the 1940s. It was sold in 1957 and renamed The Bucket which operated until 1975.
Another business was called The Friendly Tavern which was another dance hall with a three-piece band. The Friendly Tavern was at the corner of Foley Street and River Road.
To the left of the Friendly Tavern was Wally's Inn.
On the north end of Briggsville, on top of the hill, was a big dance hall called La Chateau Nite Club.
Once a month Ostby is on the News @ Noon Show on WJON talking about the forgotten History of Benton County - although Briggsville is actually in Stearns County.