Happenings 1918-1929

Business Census 1920's

August Atz - Hardware
Okabena Auto Co. Ted Milbrath
B.F. Dannatt - Grocery
Okabena Clay Works
Charles Ruthenbeck Blacksmith
Okabena Co-op Creamery
Commercial Press - Printing - Okabena
Okabena Implement - J.C. Ruthenbeck
E.C. Milbrath - Harness Shop
Okabena Livestock Shipping Association
Farmers Co-op Elevator Company
Paul Ziska - Confectionary
First State Bank
Sam Dahl - General Merchandise
H.W. Ahrens - Livestock Buyer
Smith Keech - Barber
John Albert - Produce
Sontag Lumber Company


1918 saw the end of World War I and the country entered into the bitter post-war period.

The fledgling "Jackson County American" was launched.

The parochial school here was abandoned in favor of weekly religious classes.

War bond work, Red Cross and Junior Red Cross activities continued.


Many building restrictions were lifted and the building boom commenced. E.C. Milbrath's residence was built in 1919, as was that of Edward Milbrath.  Sontag Lumber sold one of their houses to Herman Kuhlman and immediately started on the R. A. Becker dwelling, later occupied by Fred Peters. Mr. Warren Sontag informed the community that his company would continue building as long as there was a demand.

Okabena Band reorganized with Mr. Neulen as director. Band members informed the public, "We'll blow the horns if you blow the coin."

County graduation was held here in May 1919 - a big affair for a small town.

Okabena Clay Works running at capacity.

John Albert sells to Ostegaard and Peterson, retaining the produce business.

 Ogan resigns as manager of Clay Works, succeeded by H.W. Ahrens.

Big non-partisans rally at Van Dam grove. Over 1,000 people estimated in attendance. A.C. Townley slated to speak, but unable to be present due to weather conditions.

G.T. McGran manages ball team, captained by Art Ruthenbeck.

B.F. Dannatt puts up brick building.

Preparations to tear down Okabena Implement building and construct a new one.

Art McNab put in charge of Bennett Grain Company.

Farmer’s Co-op Livestock Shipping Association formed to eliminate "middle man".

A gun club organized with Paul Petersen, President; George McGran, Secretary; John Albert, Treasurer. Trap shoots conducted west of depot.

P. E. DeMoure becomes teamster in Okabena.

Franchise having been signed with Fulda Light & Power, streetlights were first turned on in April 1920, ten lights in all.

Paul Ziska rents Christy building, ran a cafe until May 1921.


John Albert purchases business of Allison and Boswell, plans to put in grocery store.

Community Club active.

W. Jones managed Bennett Grain Elevator, until shutdown in latter part of summer.

The single men took on the benedicts in a series of kittenball games. B.F. Dannatt proved to be another Babe Ruth, and Grover Chandler proved big enough and amiable enough to act as umpire.

The "American" becomes the "Okabena Press".

"Kaiser Bill" goes to Jackson.

Pioneer K. J. Christy dies.

Herman Kuhlman appointed as Standard Oil Dealer.


Scarlet Fever epidemic sweeps community in January 1922, causing school closing for a time.

Milbrath sells harness shop to Aug. Becker.

Fleischman Malting purchases Elevator from Bennett.

In February an ad appears for Andrew T. Nelson, contractor.

Methodist Church orchestra composed of Mrs. Benson - piano, Wm. Hesh - violin, E. Todd - cornet, Cecil Hovenden - trombone.

W. O. King assumes managership of Clay Works.

E. C. Milbrath takes over Standard Oil bulk plant.


District 90 folk packed baskets and called on the N. V. Swenson home. Cards, games and dancing kept everyone awake. No one made an effort to go home until 2:00 a.m. Three parties in a row for District 90 folk, ending with New Year's Eve.

Fred Mundt and son shipped a carload of fat Herefords to Sioux City, Sunday. Raymond Mundy and Ernest Gehrls went along with the stock.

1924 - No events recorded


"Okabena Press" resumes after a year of suspension, Rynearson and Wallace, editors. C.C.

Donaldson buying cream, poultry and hides.

About 400 acres in this locality planted in sugar beets.

Ferdinand Milbrath pioneer, summoned.

Clay Works busy on Luverne School order.

Emmet Freer, barber sells shop to C. C. Everson, formerly of Avoca.

A. A. Sievert new harness dealer.

Okabena town team in basketball--Richardson, S. Dahl, Ruthenbeck, Rynearson, Piper, Freer, H. Demoure and C. Demoure-known as "Night Hawks".

Harry Hedges local mechanic at the garage.

Western Broncos from Murdo, SD offered for sale at local stockyards.

C. D. Nasby resigns at Bank, succeeded by R. M. Jones of Vesta, MN.

School tax very favorable, a little more than a third of the average for the state.


Will Schulz new fire chief.

Milwaukee constructs water softener.

Girl Scouts started.

Light company planning farmer's electric line.

A. A. Sievert holds closing out sale.

July--Guy Paulson of Kinbrae purchases Dannatt business.

July-- Otto Moja of Kinbrae starts meat market in Milbrath building, with B.F. Dannett in charge for several months.

August-- C.C. Everson disposes of shop to A.E. Hyde of Bingham Lake, the Eversons are moving to Chandler.

Dannett purchases Tony Brockling farm.

Ed. Scheppmann operates Fleischmann Elevator.

Community Clubs campaign brings roll to 195.

Okabena Auto receives carload of new Studebakers.

Okabena wins County Consolidated School spelling contest for the first time.

Okabena Searchlight Club meets at the home of Mrs. Sam Dahl.

Equipment for Otto Moja meat market being installed.


Advent of D. D. Rempels "Shiny Shavings" column.

Ted Milbrath sells radios like hot cakes.

John Albert store listed as "Variety Store."

Ed. Scheppmann takes on harness business.

Ruthenbeck & Son open branch at Kinbrae.

A. M. Dahl purchases interest in Winnebago store.

Community club sponsors Banquet -- big affair -- main attraction: Magician Henry Gordien of Minneapolis.

John Sanger resigns bank position in June to go into the insurance field.

Rev. W. Mahle of Worthington delivers commencement address.

Joe Zavayna of Lakefield opens harness shop in rear Press building.

August-- big "rodeo" at DeMoure farm.

Rev. Hitchcock new M. E. Pastor in place of Rev. Palmer.

Milwaukee road donates two carloads of gravel -- everyone pitches in and gravel unloaded and in place in few hours.


Donaldson starts serving lunches.

Explosion and fire in Sanger residence.

Charles Luft hurt in runaway during threshing season.

M. L. Merritt becomes Supt. elect, I. R. Anderson accepts position at Watertown, S.D.

Over 80 carloads of sugar beets shipped.


F. A. Dally leases repair shop.

Eckert inaugurates "News column of ten years ago."

F. G. Barrs leave for Coleman, S. D. after 16 years in Okabena. Farewell party at school.

Agitation by community club for bus route -- soon followed by service through here by Black Hawk Transportation Co.

January -- Explosion damages interior of Moja meat market.

Mrs. Barr writes the history of Okabena.

Ed. Scheppmanns leave for Elysian, Minn.

Feud between Okabena and Brewster as result of basketball games.

Conrad Hussong holds auction -- builds new residence in Okabena.

Girls and Boys leave for tournament at Lakefield, via Milwaukee road; both finish in second place.

Mr. Helser new depot agent.

Ted Milbrath installs Atwater Kent radio in school so student body can listen to inaugural ceremonies of Herbert Hoover.

Okabena places third in county track meet.

Dannatts leave for Milford Iowa.

Lester Ruthenbeck, Watkins Company Representative.

Green Label medicine shows in town.

Band gives concert every Saturday night in the summer.

Roy E. Miller elected Supt. for coming year.

W. M. Lietz to build filling station.

Rev. Hulme replaces Hitchcock as Methodist Pastor.

80 carloads of beets shipped with approximately that many more left to be sent.

Mr. Moen arrives to work for Atz Hardware.

(Okabena's history was provided courtesy of the Okabena Centennial Edition of The Okabena Press,
Jackson County History Books, Jackson County Historical Museum and Tri-County News.)