Map of the Month – June

It’s hard to believe that May is almost over – only about a day and a half left.  With that, it’s time to be changing our Map of the Month.  For June, I’ve chosen a plat map of the City of Little Falls.  This map was published by Phil S. Randall and R. R. Reilly.  It is not dated, which, unfortunately for researchers, is not unusual for maps.

So then, how does one date a map that has no date?   You look at the map for clues, of course.  The map is definitely post 1890 because it shows land owned by the Pine Tree Lumber Company.  Pine Tree moved into Little Falls in 1890, so that’s a starting reference point.

Another landmark could help narrow the date further.  The map shows Pike Creek Road, which is now called Lindbergh Drive.  If we can find a date for when the name changed, we’d be closer to dating the map.  The name could have been changed in 1927, after Charles Lindbergh, Jr. made his historic flight, or it could have occurred later, when the Lindbergh home became an historic site, or when Lindbergh State Park was dedicated.  Lots of options there.

The map shows the orphanage on the Franciscan Sisters’ campus.  According to the Little Falls Daily Transcript from October 28, 1919, a decision had been made to close the orphanage and build a new one in St. Cloud.  Whether the orphanage closed immediately or a while later is something that would need further research.

What is now Highway 27, the major west/east route through town, has changed considerably since the map’s publication.  On the east side of town, what is now Highway 27 was called Pierz Road on this map.  We could try to figure out when the road changed in order to date the map, but I think we can find some other clues that will be helpful and easier to look up.

The map shows a number of major buildings in Little Falls, including the Northern Pacific Depot on the west side, which was built in 1899 (thus further narrowing the date).  The Antler’s Hotel, Historic Courthouse, Central High School, the Fair Grounds, West Hotel, Little Falls House, a bunch of churches, Kiewel Brewery and Hennepin Paper are all shown.  What’s more telling is what building is missing – Our Lady of Lourdes Church.  This parish was founded in 1917, with the church purchasing the Antler’s Hotel, which is where they held services for a number of years before building their Romanesque-style church.  By looking closely at the map, one can read the words “Polish Ch. + Sch.” written on the road next to the Antler’s Hotel building.  The new Our Lady of Lourdes building was dedicated in 1923, which means we can narrow the date of the map to between 1917 and 1923.  If we remember the date from the closing of the orphanage – 1919 – we could probably assume that the map was made between 1919 and 1923.  That’s pretty close when it comes to  historical dating – less than 5 years.

Now that I’ve figured out the date through this strange method of triangulation (while writing a blog post, no less!), I’m going to make a note of it and put it with the map.   Come on in and check out our latest map of the month.  Can you narrow the date any further?

4 Replies to “Map of the Month – June”

  1. Hi, Mary – searched your site for Pike Creek school house and came upon this post of yours. I am looking for an address of the school house as it was a place our band, Spare Parts, played & jammed in the late 1970s.

    I’ve tried other sources, and hope you might help with an address or location of the school, date it was built and – dare I hope? – an electronic image of it. I’ve included a 1982 picture of it on the FB page.

    I’d be pleased to offer a donation toward said efforts, and I thank you for your consideration.

    Mark Stone

  2. Hi, Mark – Rural schools had to be placed every so often throughout the county so that kids didn’t have to walk too far to get to a school, which means there were LOTS of rural schools. We have a list of at least 151 schools in the county.

    Pike Creek Township had at least 11 schools, with the following district numbers being in these sections:

    District 2A – Section 13
    Dist. 94 in Sec. 22
    Dist. 38 in Sec. 20
    Dist. 33 in Sec. 5
    Dist. 24 in Sec. 13 (Brickyards School)
    Dist. 20 in Sec. 20
    Dist. 37 in Sec. 9
    Dist. 75 in Sec. 28
    Dist. 24 in Sec. 13
    Dist. 72 in Sec. 25
    Dist. 33 in Sec. 6.

    In order to pin down where your band played, we’d need to know the section number within Pike Creek Township.

    We have very little information on individual rural schools because a fire in the courthouse tower destroyed much of this information. As for pictures, we have 2 for Pike Creek Township schools – one of District 37 from 1959, the other of a group of children in front of District 24, the Brickyards School. Only a portion of the building is showing on the Brickyards School picture because the kids are in front of it.

    If you can stop by the museum, we might be able to narrow down where your band played. We can also show you the two pictures I’ve mentioned.

    Thanks for your question.


  3. Phil S. Randall and Raymond Raphael Reilly (R.R. Reilly) published an Atlas of Morrison County about 1920. Are they the publishers of this map?

    R.R. Reilly was the City Engineer for Little Falls, MN. He died October 10, 1937.

    See bottom of second column in this newspaper article.

    Reilly & Randall have received the
    first completed copy of the n^w-Morrison
    county atlas, which tb£y.are*feetting
    out. The new atlas is a fii|e Qne.^Printed
    on heavy paper and the 1fi&ps*^ire finished
    in colors. The atlas contains a
    plat of the county, one of every township
    and every platted village and of
    the city of Little Falls. In the back
    of the book is given Morrison county’s
    record during the war and a list of
    names of those who were in the military
    service and those who gave their
    lives in the service. “

    1. Hi, Traci – The image at the link you provided sure looks like the title page to the Randall and Reilly plat book we have at the Morrison County Historical Society. We had it dated around 1922/23, but it appears from the date of the newspaper article that it was published in 1920. Unfortunately, there is no date in the book itself.

      Thanks for your question.

      Mary Warner
      Executive Director

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