Barron Gottry and the Revolving Door

Wandering through the images on the Hennepin County Library Digital Collections looking into City Hall, I came across this most awesome image:

Boy Stuck in Courthouse Door
Boy Stuck In Courthouse Door
Photo Courtesy Hennepin County Library

Note the arrow, in case you missed the problem. I go through this door on a daily basis and I think of this every single time.

When running to catch up with his friends, Barron’s foot got stuck in the door. Police, an ambulance, the fire department and finally a rescue squad worked to free him. Eventually they did and he got an ambulance ride to the hospital — he was okay in the end.

The Star Tribune office was just a couple blocks away, and I imagine someone calling for a photographer as soon as this kid got jammed in the door. So poor Barron is stuck in the door and now there are people taking photographs of him. And the next thing you know there’s a whole article, followup photo in the wheelchair and all:

Sun, Mar 6, 1938 – Page 1 · Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

Here are some more pictures:

Boy Stuck in Courthouse Door
Boy Stuck in Courthouse Door – Rescue squad uses crow bar to extricate Barron Gottry after his ankle is caught in the revolving door on the 4th St. side of the courthouse.
Photo Courtesy Hennepin County Library
Barron Gottry
Barron Gottry shown in wheelchair after being rescued from being stuck in courthouse revolving door.
Photo Courtesy Hennepin County Library
Barron Gottry
Barron Gottry shown in wheelchair after being rescued from being stuck in courthouse revolving door.
Photo Courtesy Hennepin County Library

But what happened to that kid? Normally people get one article in the paper and that’s the last you hear of them — 15 minutes of fame and all. But of course I won’t stop at that. It’s the stories of the every day people that are the most interesting to me. So I kept digging. And luckily for me (and you, dear reader) we have so much more information about young Barron and his adventures through life!

By the time he’s in high school he’s boxing in the bantamweight division (I had to look it up, good luck clicking on that link and not spending some time learning about boxing.) His is the “Citizen’s Club” (2010 Minnehaha), a rather imposing looking building, but the organization hosted boxing teams, basketball, baseball, and it seems to have been an event center as well.

Wed, Dec 15, 1920 – Page 2 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

In this fight in 1943, have lost the bout, but he won the picture:

Wed, Dec 1, 1943 – Page 30 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

By 1944 World War 2 was in full swing, and the Marines had just taken the Marshall Islands. This is a newsreel from 1944:

That’s the kind of thing Barron potentially had in his future, because in early March he headed off to San Diego to begin recruit training in the Marine Corps at age 17.

Thu, Mar 9, 1944 – Page 9 · Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

He achieved at least the rank of Corporal, and served in World War 2 but I couldn’t find a record of the unit or locations he served in. When I joined the Marine Corps, I trained in San Diego and stood on the same yellow footprints Barron would have enjoyed.

By 1946 World War 2 was over, and he was listed as getting a marriage license in Minneapolis:

Wed, Jun 26, 1946 – Page 17 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

By 1955 they’re living in Waterloo Iowa (Just west of Jesup), and he’s working at the Rath Packing Company.

Fri, Mar 4, 1955 – 12 · Des Moines Tribune (Des Moines, Iowa) ·

Barron and Evelyn spend years in Waterloo, real estate records show. Barron was on a jury in 1963 for a trial regarding a bar fight. He and Evelyn have children and in 1972 their daughter Debra gets married, though each parent has a separate address:

Sun, Apr 9, 1972 – 33 · The Courier (Waterloo, Iowa) ·

Evelyn eventually moves on and dies in 2015 in Topeka.

Sun, Mar 22, 2015 – B6 · The Courier (Waterloo, Iowa) ·

Barron would apparently spend the end of his life in Arkansas, he died in 2014 at age 87.

Here is a link to his obituary — and there’s a fairly recent picture:

Barron Dewitt Gottry via @findagrave

And that’s that, eh?

Oh hardly! Nowhere near enough rabbit holes, distractions, and random connections so far. While it’s really satisfying to have found so much information about this poor kid who got his foot stuck in a door, I was chewing over all the information I had accumulated. One of the things I like to do it look up all of the addresses I come across. Sometimes they’re interesting because the location is still there. Sometimes they’re interesting because the location isn’t there anymore. But when I looked at his home address for those City Hall pictures something seemed familiar.

Barron Gottry lived at 1365 Spruce Place. This had been an address I had researched for an entry in “What Used To Be,” my YouTube channel.

Apartment House and Grocery Store on Spruce Place
Apartment House and Grocery Store on Spruce Place. Built in 1912.
Photo courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

In the lower left of the building, you can see the entrance to a grocery store. Much easier to see in this present-day image:

1365 Spruce, 2019 – the grocery is no longer a business

And just for fun, how about a 1920 view:

As a large apartment building, it has many lives passing through it. As such, it’s likely that interesting things will happen. First up, we have the death of Cecil M Linklater, age 33. A war veteran, Cecil’s parents reported that he had been suffering from “leakage of the heart.” On August 11, 1927, Apparently, Linklater and Henry Morley were calling on two women in the apartments and there was a disagreement that caused the women to shout. That’s when Martin Tobin stepped in to intervene. Tobin was reported by the papers as a notorious bouncer for clubs and roadhouses – and was known to “talk with his hands.” After taking Linklater into the hall, there was a scuffle and Linklater fell down a flight of stairs, fatally injuring his head. He died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

Fri, Aug 12, 1927 – Page 1 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

Tobin is cleared within a week:

Wed, Aug 17, 1927 – Page 1 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

Tobin, however, would be dead within 3 years:

Mon, Jul 7, 1930 – Page 1 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

While that incident predates Barron Gottry, it’s quite possible he was there in 1940 for the big fire:

Fri, Jan 19, 1940 – Page 1 · Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

Fri, Jan 19, 1940 – Page 32 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

Fri, Jan 19, 1940 – Page 12 · Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

And again in 1976, a similar scene;

Sun, May 23, 1976 – Page 1 · Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

Sun, May 23, 1976 – Page 11 · Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

It strikes me as interesting how the photos from the fire in 1940 and the fire in 1976 are so similar:

1940 (left) and 1976 (right)

But the event that had me remembering Spruce Villa was the Aagaard grocery incident. In July of 1941, the Aagaard Grocery was held up. While the Aquatennial parade was happening downtown, a thief used the congested traffic as cover and yelled “THIS IS A STICK UP!” at Frances Aagaard. She had been cutting meat and had a knife in her hand, which he ordered her to drop – but fired immediately. She was hit in the abdomen, and the snarled traffic in the area made it difficult for police and ambulance to get there. She was eventually taken to Swedish Hospital. She died early the next day.

Sun, Jul 13, 1941 – Page 23 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

It’s this image from the article that haunts me:

Grocery Store Murder
Frances Aagaard at Swedish Hospital after being shot in her grocery store during a robbery. She died at hospital
Photo courtesy Hennepin County Library

There were various theories about the robbery. There was a similar holdup that same day down the street, and police even had an extortion plot to sort out. This article outlines three men who had been blackmailing Mrs Aagaard for some time – but they were cleared with alibis.

Mon, Jul 14, 1941 – Page 13 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

Later in July they thought they had the culprit when they caught another robber in the act, but that was a false lead as well.

Sun, Jul 27, 1941 – Page 21 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

Chris Aagaard continued to run the grocery but died in 1943. The store continued in name only in the following decade though it moved eventually to 8th and LaSalle, converting finally to a music store.

Police thought they had a break in 1944, when a woman from the building confessed to the robbery and murder, though upon hearing the confession they submitted the woman to the hospital for evaluation:

Sat, Sep 23, 1944 – Page 1 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

Mon, Sep 25, 1944 – Page 11 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

Eventually dismissing the confession, though since there were no living witnesses, it was impossible to determine if if was true or not.

And in 1949 a query in the newspaper confirmed that it was still unsolved. There are no more mentions of the crime in papers after that.

Sun, Sep 11, 1949 – Page 79 · Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

Ora Titus

I spend quite a bit of time on, and every once in a while I run across an article I just can’t let go. I was looking for something – anything – that used to be where the 94/25 interchange is south of downtown Minneapolis. Found a great map that showed me the original blocks, and MHAPO provided me with a killer aerial photo from 1938. If you’ve never been to MHAPO, click the link and say goodbye to a couple hours while you look at “google maps of the past” going back to the 1920’s in some cases.

So I’m randomly searching all sorts of sites for anything that was on 17th st, which was a central street in the 35w/94 addition:

According to the imagery and old maps, the majority of buildings were houses and apartments. Found information about two permits for an apartment store on 17th and 4th, but no other evidence. So apparently it never advertised or got robbed.

And then I ran across this:


#oratitus Mon, Aug 1, 1921 – Page 1 · Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

And it’s the kind of thing you find in old newspapers. Shock headlines about horrible things. But I read on and it was truly horrible. 400 people stood around watching him getting electrocuted, unable to do anything to help him. They summoned the fire department (Fire companies 2 and 11) , and he calmly guided them to avoid the hot wires while raising a ladder to rescue him.


#oratitus Tue, Aug 2, 1921 – Page 7 · Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

If you want more detail, scroll down to the bottom of this article. Some of the detail is disturbing, however, and that doesn’t change the story.


#oratitus Wed, Aug 3, 1921 – Page 5 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

When they got him down, he asked for a cigarette – which they gave him – and he promptly collapsed. It’s a bit of a sad story, and for some reason I didn’t want to leave it. I wanted to know more about Ora. So let’s go:

Don’t ask me how I got to Iowa in the archives, but I found an article about an Ora Titus in Marshalltown, who worked for the utilities, and had a bit of an adventure during a flood:


#oratitus Tue, Sep 21, 1915 – 14 · The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) ·

And in the city directories, I can find Ora as a “troubleman” for the Minneapolis General Electric Company – and he’s taken a room on 15th – right where it crosses 35 entering downtown now. In 1918 and 1919, he was on Portland, and in 1920 he was up on 4th. So he moved around a bit.

1921 Minneapolis City Directory

The accident happened on 5th and Grant, and he was taken to General Hospital, which was up on 11th at the time. I couldn’t help but notice that all of these locations are within blocks of each other. And many of them are no longer recognizable as the original places appeared. So I really wanted to write this down, just to remember.

Map of his residences from 19
18-1921, and the accident site

From the articles about his death I learned that he was 29 years old, married and had one child, a son who was 11 years old. He had a brother, Paul, who was also a lineman. I couldn’t find any following references to either except for this one last snippet:


#oratitus Thu, Aug 4, 1921 – Page 20 · Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

Additional Information:


#oratitus Sat, Sep 25, 1915 – Page 7 · Ottumwa Tri-Weekly Courier (Ottumwa, Iowa) ·


#oratitus Mon, Sep 20, 1915 – 6 · Evening Times-Republican (Marshalltown, Iowa) ·


#oratitus Sun, Nov 27, 1921 – Page 49 · Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·


#oratitus Mon, Aug 1, 1921 – Page 2 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

Lyndale School

A Facebook post with an aerial image of the Miller’s Stadium on Nicollet got me thinking about the neighborhood, and I couldn’t quite make out what was located where Lyndale school is now.

Before we do that, let’s catch up on what exactly a “Lyndale” is (from Placeography) — Most things in the neighborhood called Lyndale were named for Lyndale Avenue, which in turn takes its name from Lyndale farm, a 1,400-acre farm owned by Hon. William S. King. (I’m just barely managing to draw the line at doing a deep dive into King’s Fair – you can click that on your own) The name of the farm was in honor of Mr. King’s father, Rev. Lyndon King, an itinerant Methodist minister of northern New York, who was named for Josiah Lyndon (he died of smallpox in 1778), colonial governor of Rhode Island in 1768-1769. Whew! More rabbit holes to go down there than Watership Down.

Anyway, here we go for Lyndale school..

Here it is in modern times. You can see it right in the middle, noting the handy label. Look to the left, however, where it says Painter Park. We’ll come back to that.

Modern Lyndale Community school (go Eagles!) was built in 1968/1969.

Lyndale Elementary Groundbreaking
Lyndale School groundbreaking
Source: Hennepin County Library and the Hennepin History Museum.

It replaced the school on 34th and Lyndale, which had been built in 1884. The old school was razed and they created Painter Park.

Here it is in 1938, or rather the location, full of homes and such:

There’s this shot from 1969, though I think it was completed by this point so the “half building” doesn’t make sense, unless it’s obscured on the southern half by trees – though the old school is still standing:

Finally, this link has a picture of one of the folks from Sonny’s ice cream standing out front the original shop – the old Lyndale school is in the background.

While researching the history of the school, I ran across this nugget:

1855 John Blaisdell builds a log cabin on the hill near 24th St, between Pleasant and Lyndale, Blaisdell School is run out of the parlor. The house overlooks a little lake at what is now 22nd & Lyndale. The lake has since been filled in but the intersection still floods during heavy rainfall.

History of Whittier

And I’ve heard of this before, but have rarely seen it mentioned. Probably because it doesn’t even show up on maps from 1889, but you can see it on this map from 1874 looking like this once you zoom in:

And another from 1873 – though to be honest it looks like it’s surrounded by quite a bit of marsh/swamp:

And that’s why there is so much flooding in that part of Uptown, like these from 2010:

I remember seeing a car at the intersection which had been parked during freezing rain, but then it all froze halfway up the tires, encasing the car in deep ice. Common sight by the SA on 22nd and Lyndale!

Still doesn’t answer what was there before Lyndale school though, does it?

The answer is: Residential homes:

House on Pillsbury Avenue
3334 Pillsbury Ave.
Source: Hennepin County Library and the Hennepin History Museum. 3334 Pillsbury Ave.
House on Grand Avenue South
3337 Grand Ave. S
Source: Hennepin County Library and the Hennepin History Museum.
House on 34th Street West
310 34th St. W
Source: Hennepin County Library and the Hennepin History Museum.
House on Pleasant Avenue
3346 Pleasant Ave.
Source: Hennepin County Library and the Hennepin History Museum.

And people: (link)

Election Officials
Anna Hall (left) lived at 222 34th St. W. where the Lyndale pool is now.
Source: Hennepin County Library and the Hennepin History Museum.

But like any neighborhood there are interesting little tidbits here and there. For instance, in 1891 (!) Mrs Gertrude Partridge lived at 3326 Pillsbury – in the 1891/2 city directory she’s listed as a “Magnetic Healer” with her husband George of the “Wyman Partridge & Co” – though nothing seems to indicate he is the famous George H Partridge of the Wyman Partridge building — he just works there. But how confusing must that have been for him? Or was there some other relation? I couldn’t sort it out. But here she is:

And in 1890, magnetic healing was an actual thing. But that didn’t keep her from her troubles. Described as a “heavy set, square jawed woman” she sued the Minnesota Tribune company for libel, as they described her as a clairvoyant and fortune teller with a doubtful reputation. She claimed it injured her business, which was an honest clairvoyance business. She didn’t win. But the Saint Paul Globe had an opportunity to throw some shade in the process. Here is the whole story:

Tue, Oct 14, 1890 – Page 8 · Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

There are countless other stories of the families and people who lived in the area. From the occasional auto accident reporting in the papers, to crimes..

Mon, Dec 5, 1955 – Page 1 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

.. social hosted events…

Mon, Mar 3, 1941 – Page 17 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

And countless births, marriages and deaths:

Sat, Jan 13, 1951 – Page 2 · The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) ·

.. and that’s what used to be at the location of Lyndale Community School!

What used to be at 2628 3rd Ave. So.?

As old as they come

This is the oldest business I’ve researched yet. Built in 1884 and selling goods from at least 1920, including these:

In one of the last holdups of 1935, a man took $30 from Mary Whitney at Ebbighausen Grocery.

It was also held up in 1939, 1956, 1964 and 1967.

In spring of 1947, a holdup Man leaves empty till at grocery (photo of Mrs Nelson), and stole a cake on his way out of the store.

In April of 1948 three robbers came into the Nelson Grocery and said “stick em up!” and Richard Nelson’s reply was just to do nothing. The three bandits just laughed and walked out.

On a cold January day in 1960, a gunman held up Bowman’s grocery and got away with $60 and.. 35 women’s combs.

Jerry Hill was a two year old who lived in the neighborhood. He would often take two pennies down to the grocery for candy. One November day in 1964 he was out playing with two neighbor kids, aged 3 and 4. They asked if they could go to the grocery for candy and they headed across the alley for the store. As they returned Jerry saw a dog across the street and ran toward it. Darting into the street, he was struck and killed by a southbound car.

And that’s what used to be at 2628 3rd Ave. South in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Origins of Lake George’s name

Subtitled: “A lesson in the chaos of history documentation, references, and people who don’t pay enough attention to the facts but then why should they because the township population is 383, and the township it’s mistaken for is 335.

Picked up a book of Minnesota Trivia, and it states that:

Lake George: The lake and town were named for an early pioneer by the name of George Kraemer

This is in reference to the town of Lake George – there’s even a map of Highway 71, and Lake George is right between Lake Itasca and Nary — where the town of Lake George that I am familiar with, exists.


According to Down the Great River: Embracing an Account of the Discovery of the True Source of the Mississippi, Together with Views, Descriptive and Pictorial, of the Cities, Towns, Villages and Scenery on the Banks of the River, as Seen During a Canoe Voyage of Over Three Thousand Miles from Its Head Waters to the Gulf of Mexico – a book by Willard W. Glazier, the lake of Lake George was named for his brother George: I can’t find reference to George’s last name in the book, but then I haven’t read all of it.

And if you look at this image I brazenly stole from a popular mapping site:

You can see that the lakes are similar to the description in the book – in fact the narrative has the group moving across that part of Minnesota, and these lakes line up perfectly on their journey. I’m going into more detail than I need to here because I don’t want to have anyone think I’m mistaking “this” Lake George for the one who was supposedly named after George Kraemer. Because..

Turns out there’s another Lake George — the township, in Stearns County. Wikipedia matches the trivia in the original book. To be honest, I don’t know anything about George Kraemer. Yet.

But this “other” Lake George, is easily confused because the two have the following similarities:

  • Named for a George
  • Has a lake
  • In Minnesota
  • On Highway 71
  • Crazy small in population
  • Super (not) notable
  • Doesn’t even have a bar (thus not registering as a proper town in Minnesota)
  • Population between 300 and 400

So where have we ended up? The larger Lake George is widely reported as having been named for the guy in the lesser Lake George (which technically doesn’t even have a Lake George, as it’s got a George Lake) and the currently more interesting story of George Glazier being the namesake isn’t even widely known.

That said, having read the portion of Down the Great River: Embracing an Account of the Discovery of the True Source of the Mississippi, Together with Views, Descriptive and Pictorial, of the Cities, Towns, Villages and Scenery on the Banks of the River, as Seen During a Canoe Voyage of Over Three Thousand Miles from Its Head Waters to the Gulf of Mexico that has to do with (my) Lake George, it seems like George Glazier was a fun loving guy who went along with his brother’s “journey” for a bit of a lark.

Because if you read Down the Great River: Embracing an Account of the Discovery of the True Source of the Mississippi, Together with Views, Descriptive and Pictorial, of the Cities, Towns, Villages and Scenery on the Banks of the River, as Seen During a Canoe Voyage of Over Three Thousand Miles from Its Head Waters to the Gulf of Mexico (yes, I’m quote the whole title every time) you might at first find it to be a crazy adventure in which a brave explorer seeks the headwaters of the Mississippi against all odds in lands never before seen by White Man. But put in context it’s a bit less exciting.

The journey was in 1881. While the illustrations in the book make it look like he’s forging across completely wild territory, northern Minnesota in 1881 had a thriving trading community. Also, Schoolcraft had “discovered” Itasca 50 years earlier. From his camping expedition in the northern part of the state, everything going downriver was less wild, more populated, and steamboats were running as high as Grand Rapids. So he could have booked passage rather than canoe the lower sections. But I digress.

My favorite part of the journey is reading about George and Paine’s antics. Younger and of a “more excitable temperament” according to Willard, they appear to have actually enjoyed the trip as a fun outing, rather than an Important Expedition, much to the chagrin of elder bro Willard.

On page 53, George loses much needed gear on a portage and George and Paine were found to have blown through their ammunition — but in their defense Willard told them they could earlier in the journey:

.. though he decides to change his rules around page 64:

But it’s fun moments like this on page 71 where George and Paine decide to race to see who can see Itasca first — not really in the mood of the expedition Willard was going for:

It’s not all fun and games though. On page 84, team G&P are not always up for the more adventuresome food options:

We find out on page 89 that George isn’t a great seaman – or is he just goofing around a lot?

.. I think it’s the latter:

There is some benefit to having a goofball daredevil on your expedition though:

And finally, as they get more and more into civilization, G&P’s bro-ness really comes out. After so long in the wild with “old stick in the mud” you can’t really blame them:

And in finding those entries I’ve been reading about the second expedition of Willard Glazier, ten years later. In that journey they just took the train. From Park Rapids to Itasca they took a collection of wagons on a road. So ten years can make quite the difference! Also, on this second expedition he brought along his now adult daughter Alice, for whom one of the canoes on the first expedition was named. Kinda cool.

So, long story longer, that’s the George that Lake George Minnesota is named for. The northern Lake George, not the other one.

Personal note: I find this delightfully appropriate. We have land on Lake Paine and spent time in Lake George, and it’s a fun little town. Not very important in the grand scheme of things, but interesting in it’s own way. While it’s technically rural and “up north” enough to make you feel like you’re away from the business of the city (and swat more than a few mosquitos) it still has enough civility to offer a place to get ice cream. Which I think George would have enjoyed.

Update: Glazier’s (likely embellished) claims of finding a different source for the Mississippi 50 years after Schoolcraft were so unwelcome that the Minnesota Historical Society stepped in, and lawmakers even worked on legislation to beat down Glazier. At the proceedings, George was present and began speaking in a very abusive manner, denouncing the society for its action. He was, however, stopped by the chair for his objectionable language, and the meeting adjourned. So he was at least a loyal brother.


This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

I am Robert Craig, interested in history with an emphasis on local history. As I’m in Minneapolis, Minnesota that will have a lot to do with the content, but isn’t the only region I might geek out on.

This blog is an outlet for all of the rabbit holes I go down when I’m reading about history. What starts as picking up a book and reading a paragraph turns into a full research expedition to track down more information, usually leading to other interesting bits which need just as much research. Hours later I can tell you a lot about nothing, or nothing about the thing I started looking at.

More random bits about me

  • So long ago was a Korean Linguist in the United States Marine Corps. (Semper Fi!)
  • Professional computer nerd and technology early adopted
  • Live in a hundred+ year old hours in South Minneapolis
  • Was once flipped off by a North Korean on the northern side of the DMZ
  • Have a YouTube channel dedicated to old business storefronts that are no longer businesses
  • Built a 12 foot boat and piloted it 80 miles down the Mississippi to Lake Pepin from Hidden Falls. Slept, cooked and ate all meals on board
  • Play the Anglo Concertina poorly
  • Never admitted to (or needed) a hospital overnight stay in my first 50 years
  • Not colorblind