|C H O I C E Places
Places in Choice, MN
The General Store
From the postmaster dates we can assume that the Choice store was started by Dec. 17, 1887. In the Rushford Standard newspaper dated 31 Jan. 1889 states "…there is Choice down on the South Fork, started last year and doing a good business…". This would imply that the store was started in 1888 but I believe that late 1887 is the correct date.
A new store was build in 1899 by Ole Richardson across the road from the first store. It is said that lumber from the first store was used in building the house for the Choice store.
The store burned down in Dec. 1945. A store in temporary buildings was operated for several more years. The store was closed in 1964.
The Choice Creamery was originally called the Normanna Creamery and was built at the turn of the century. Otto Bach was the butter maker and operated the creamery. He received two medals for being champion butter-maker of Minnesota. He died of cancer in 1907 and his immediate family relocated to North Dakota.
Later, Herman Bach (Otto's brother), Gerhard Eiken and C. J. Hellerud owned the Choice Creamery as a partnership. Pictures of the creamery show a "HEB" painted on the side. That may be the initials for Hellerud, Eiken, and Bach. Herman Bach was a buttermaker like his brother.
The creamery had a large ice house and harvested their ice on the South Fork of the Root River near the creamery.
The Public School
SCHOOL District No. 7 was organized in 1863. The following year a log school was built. Miss Anna Hall was the first teacher. Later a frame school was built across the road south of the Cyrus Hanson farm. This was a one room school house with one teacher for all 8 grades. There were usually about 17-18 students. Most students walked to school and some walked back home for the noon meal. There was both a boy's and a girl's outhouse in back of the school.
In the 1940s, the school had some playground equipment, a slide, teeter totter, and a swing set. The students would also play games like anti-I-over, softball, tag, etc. There was a wood stove for heat. Sometimes when it was cold the teacher would put a march on the phonograph and the students would march around the school to warm up. There was no running water. The first thing in the morning, some of the older boys would go across the road the the pump in Cyrus's yard and get a pail of water. The water was put in a crock that had a spigot. The students had paper cups to drink out of.
The school doors closed when the district consolidated with Rushford in 1953. Johanna Johnson, from Lanesboro, was the last teacher. The building was moved to a farm near Newburg, MN. more ...
The Methodist Church
Built in 1874, the Choice Methodist Church was first known as the church at South Fork. The town of Choice did not exist yet. The church was located on Ole Richardson's farm, right across the road from his house. It was built by Christian Anderson who was married to a daughter of Ole Richardson. Services were held until the spring of 1952 when the last of the old timers died and the church was razed. The declining rural population spelled the end.
The pastor lived at the parsonage in Newburg. The church services at Choice were in the evening to allow plenty time for the pastor, with his horse and buggy, to get to Choice. The pastor would stay overnight with one of the local farmers. One place he often stayed was the Archie Wicks farm. I have no documentation on others but certainly he must have stayed with Ole Richardson, one of the organizers of the Choice Church. Later when cars were in use, at least in the summer, the pastor could arrive earlier and church services were held in the afternoon.