The Werner family is interesting because they came to St. Louis Park so early and there were so many of them. Jake’s civic activities make him particularly important. Michael Werner is the family’s official chronicler and has provided much of the following information.
JOSEPH WERNER was born in Milwaukee in November 1854. There he married Josephine K. Bartosch (born August 1861 in Wisconsin) on November 2, 1879. They were both of Bohemian extraction. They came to St. Louis Park with the Esterly Manufacturing Co. in 1892 from Whitewater, Wisconsin. They had nine children:
- GEORGE A. Werner was born on March 9, 1880 in Milwaukee. There is evidence that in 1898 he was a private in the Minnesota 13th Infantry of the Spanish-American War Volunteers. In 1905, the year after his father died, the Minnesota Census showed him to be the head of the family, and he working as a moulder. He married Margaret J. Rice (born 1883 in Wisconsin) in about 1909. He opened a saloon in St. Louis Park as early as 1909. The 1910 Census lists George as a saloonkeeper, with siblings John, Frank, Lucy, and Edward living with he and Margaret. The saloon was probably located in one of the Brownlow Hotels – photos of it are on our Liquor page. A baby girl was born to George and Margaret on October 20, 1911, but there is no evidence that she survived. There may have also been another child.
What happened to George is mysterious. Family lore says that he was put out of business with Prohibition (which in the case of St. Louis Park started in about 1918) and disappeared out west. Village Council records show that he received liquor licenses from 1909 to 1915. However, more than one source indicates that he died on May 21 (or 23), 1913 in St. Louis Park (or Bloomington) and at the time of his death he was a “Saloon Dealer.” There seems to be no sign of Margaret.
David Krueger sent us this precious leather and metal coin purse that has George’s name inside. Did it belong to him or was it an advertising giveaway? Here is a photo of the inside:
- JOSEPH D. Werner was born in October 1881 in Wisconsin.
- JOHN E. (“Windy”) Werner was born on September 29, 1883 in Milwaukee and came to the Park when he was nine. In the 1910 Census his occupations was bartender, perhaps at his brother’s saloon. He married Tillie Erickson (born May 30, 1885 in Minneapolis) on April 27, 1911. They lived at 3750 Brunswick Ave. He was a moulder and worked for Minneapolis Moline and Monitor Drill. Marie Hartmann remembers that they were the first family to put lights on their tree at Christmas time. John died on June 10, 1943 and Tillie died on January 25, 1976, both in Hennepin County.
- CLARA L. Werner was born in August 1886 in Wisconsin. Her married name was Boostram and they lived in Chicago. Her husband was in construction and after World War I they moved to Miami. With the Depression they returned to Chicago. In 1943 she may have lived in Downing, California with sister Lucy Dow. Clara had three daughters; Ben Brown remembers that Myrtle Boostrom was in his St. Louis Park High School class of 1934 “and a very pretty gal. A lot of guys were vying for her attention.”
- JACOB Arthur (“Jake”) Werner was born on July 19, 1887 in Whitewater, Wisconsin. In the 1900 Census he is listed as “Arthur.” He married Alfie M. “Millie” Rice (born November 1887 in Whitewater, Wis., SLP class of 1905) on June 9, 1909. Millie’s father Nelson Rice lived with them from at least 1910 until he died in 1930. They lived at 6212 W. 35th Street (built in 1925). Jake had many accomplishments:
· Mayor 1922 – 1929 (Michael Werner has his gavel!)
· 40+ years – St. Louis Park volunteer fire department
· Investigator, Hennepin County Welfare Dept.
· Foreman in the foundry at Monitor Drill 1920 (Iron moulder, 1910)
· Head of Park’s War Dads Group, July 1944
· City street commissioner
· SLP Water Dept. at least 10 years – water registrar starting July 1942
· Instigator of water system with Herman Bolmgren and Pete Williams
· In 1942 he was appointed as registrar for the Village of St. Louis Park.
· Member of the Odd Fellows
· Member of Union Church
· Charter Member of Paul Revere Lodge
Jake and Millie retired to Winter Park, Florida in 1957. Jake died on January 16, 1966, in Leesburg, Florida of a stroke. Millie died on April 15, 1971.
Jake and Millie had three children:
- Willard Dale (“Wienie”) Werner, born July 6, 1910 in SLP, class of 1929. The 1930 Census lists him as a drug store clerk. He married Geraldine (“Gerry”)Dorothy Kramer (born July 14, 1915, Rush City, Minn.) on April 3, 1937. He was a member of the SLP Volunteer Fire Department. He sold auto parts. In 1936/37 he moved to Jacksonville, Florida. They moved back to the Park after World War II, and later to King’s Mountain, NC where Geraldine worked for the Lithium Co. of America. Willard died in North Carolina on October 17, 1967. Geraldine died on May 20, 2001. Their children were:
– Gail Annette Werner Hegdahl, born 1941 in Jacksonville, Florida
– Glenn Allen Werner (named after Willard’s brother, below), born in 1946 in Minneapolis
- Glen Joseph Werner, born on December 20, 1913 and killed in a gravel pit cave-in in about 1921 along with one of the McCarthy boys.
- Loise (“Dates”) Werner, born July 1915. She married Robert McCullers and lived in Florida and possibly also Washington, DC.
- FRANK P. Werner was born on August 14, 1889 in Whitewater, Wisconsin. In 1910 he worked as a machinist. He joined the fire department in March 1917. He worked for Monitor Drill, then for the Village of St. Louis Park. He married Ruby Peleaux Burlingame (born June 27, 1889 in Wisconsin), a widow with two sons, on April 18, 1925. They lived at 6232 (or 6228, 6230?) Oxford Street. Their children were Lucille Fryer and Ruth (“Dodie”) (born 1924). Ruth married Bruce Jensen on September 7, 1945 at Union Church. Frank died in May 1950 of leukemia.
- LUCY R. Werner was born in December 1892 in Wisconsin. Her married name was Dow. In 1943 she may have lived in Downing, California with sister Clara Boostram.
- ANN(E) B.Werner was born in July 1895 in Wisconsin. She married Sigfried Lundin on December 18, 1914. Sig was a well-known bricklayer in St. Louis Park, was born in 1888 in Sweden. Sig died on April 26, 1954. Anne and Sig had three children:
- Carl M. Lundin, born February 8, 1916, died June 27, 2012. Married Dorothy (born 1916 in Ohio). Carl worked at the Hopkins Post Office.
- Carla Lundin, born 1918. Married Ivar Eidsvold (born March 9, 1913 in Sweden) on August 30, 1941. Ivar died on April 3, 1992.
- Warren (“Wernie”) Lundin, born January 3, 1921, died August 10, 2006. He became a bricklayer like his father.
- EDWARD J. Werner was born in December 1897 in St. Louis Park. He lived at 3354 Louisiana Ave. He joined the fire department in 1916. He was foreman of the refinery at the Creosote plant. He played semi pro football in Chicago until he punctured a lung. He had also been a boxer. He was a part-time Park policeman. Ed and Mabel (born 1898 in Minnesota) Werner had a daughter Betty A., class of 1945. Her married name was Boljanovich and lived in South St. Paul.
On April 16, 1901, Josephine died of heart disease, leaving Joseph to care for four children under the age of 12. On January 12, 1904, Joseph died of tuberculosis, leaving the three oldest children to take care of the rest.
As provided by the family:
The family had been Catholic, walking from St. Louis Park to Hopkins to attend mass. The three eldest children, George, Joseph and Clara, turned to the church for help, as they did not want their family split up. According to family tradition, the church was not very helpful, and the three eldest children turned to each other to keep the family together. George and Joseph both went to work, an Clara quit school to stay home and take care of the household and the children. Edward was only six, and was apparently still in diapers at the time of his father’s death.
Those were tough years for the family and they “fell away” from the church that had not helped them. Clara later told Geraldine Kramer Werner that she remembered washing all the socks one day of the week, and stringing them up through the little house to dry. The next day she would wash the underwear, and string it all up where the socks had been. The younger boys used to do odd jobs to bring in a little bit of money, and reportedly the kids all kept out of trouble. Charlie Hamilton’s grocery carried their credit for many years, and he probably forgave some of what was owed him by the hard-working siblings.