The recent snow melt, ice out on most Minnesota lakes, and high temperatures reaching into the 80s bring thoughts of summer and coming summer fun. For many, picnics have long topped the list of warm weather activities. What better way to share a meal al fresco than by using a handy dandy thermos like this Macomb Thrift Jug. Originally owned by the Bastien family of Little Falls, Minnesota, the one gallon jug with its heavy white ceramic liner promises to keep whatever liquid or food it contains cool for the user’s dining pleasure. Produced by the Macomb Manufacturing Company of Macomb, Illinois, this portable cooler was most likely an essential piece of picnic equipment for Bastien family outings.
The jug was donated to the Morrison County Historical Society by J. Gordon Bastien of California. According to Gordon, his father, Leo Henry (1896-1968), had the first gas station in Little Falls and also operated a new car dealership that sold Dodge Plymouth and Packard automobiles. The gas station had six gas pumps, two grease pits, and a large basement that held all the new cars. The 1928 Little Falls City Directory lists Leo as manager of the Auto Sales Company at 210 First Street Southeast and Broadway Chevrolet at 34 Broadway East in downtown Little Falls. Leo worked in the auto industry business in the city for twenty-five years, moving to Sioux City, Iowa, in 1941 where he operated the De De Beverage Company. “De De” was Leo’s nickname.