Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tree Planting 1966 -1972 Visit to the "Prop" the 16 acres of mostly woods purchased by the Agerters and Weaver ca 1940


My parents with friends Ken and Peggy Agerter purchased 16 acres on the Straight River south of Faribault in the early 1940's.  In 1942 they constructed a shack from a chicken coop they moved onto the land.     In 1966, concerned that the development proposed by the Chadderdon Development firm would threaten the natural area, the Weaver family decided to plant some pine seedings with the aid of a Scout Troop led by Dewey Van Orsow . Tom worked with Dewey at Tom Taylors surveying group in the summers while in college in the 60's.
 With Peg Weaver's 1965 Plymouth Belvedere in the background, some of the pine seedings are seen in the foreground.

In the spring of 1972, the Weaver and Agerter's visited the prop.  Here is Ken Agerter building a fire, with PHW taking a photo, while Tom Weaver with beard and camera, is next to Peggy Agerter.  Note birch trees and river below.

Picnic early spring 1972, Peggy, Ken Agerter, and Peg Weaver ..

Tom Weaver with machete that he learned to use as a surveyor to clear paths, with Ken Agerter. 

 Later spring 1972 on the bluff looking down at the bridge over the Straight River.  Peggy, Ken Agerter, with Peg Weaver. 
Bluff picnic area 1972, prop in Walcott Twp along the Straight River bluffs, Ken Agerter and Peg Weaver.

 Dam on the Straight River from the "prop" side on the west side, looking over to the State Land in 1972.  This is the area now set aside as River Bend Nature Area.

Peg Weaver along the train track on the back side of the prop, taken in 1972, by PHW





View of Straight River Valley from prop bluff in 1972.
 Here in 1942 Ken Agerter, Peg Weaver above, By Berhow, Pete Weaver below footings for the shack slab on the prop.
 Photo of the dam along the Straight River with the prop on the right.
 1942  Peg Agerter, By, Ruth & Ken Agerter. Mary Henning with her two sons. (Shattuck School) Peg Weaver, photo by Paul H Weaver on prop.
1942 prop gathering,  Ken Agerter, woman? Peg and Pete (Paul H) Weaver, 
Betty Kickmuhler, sister of Peggy Agerter. 

1942 - Completed Prop 'cabin' with Pete Paul H Weaver MD in the doorway -

From Rememberings, Autobiography by Margaret G Weaver, self published in 1993 p 45-6
"The Agerters and the Weavers, enjoying the out-of-doors, decided to buy a small parcel of wooded land near Faribault. The County Surveyor, Walt Dokken, understanding our wants, helped us find what came to be known as "The Prop," sixteen acres of slightly hilly woods along the Straight River, with a small stream and a few birch trees, which were rare in this area of Minnesota. In the process of looking for a suitable place, we spent time at what we called the Langslag Property, which had many attractive red-berried shrubs, hearts- bursting-with-love,    Euonymus atropurpureus.    I was sorry that we found none of this at the Prop.

Wanting a shack at the Prop, we bought Mrs. Saufferer's chicken coop, sawed it into four sections and secured a permit from the Highway Department to have a truck haul it to our place. (See picture #3, p. 136.) In the meantime we had fun making a simple road in the form of a loop, cutting down trees by band with a cross-cut saw and securing the right-of-way beside a small railroad track. A cement foundation was made to support our shack (my one and only experience at puddling). After scouring the coop and putting it back together, we painted it brown with yellow window trim. It was nifty!
Ray Lieb, a pharmacist who owned a quarry near Faribault, gave us limestone for a fireplace. Pete and Ken built a handsome, huge fireplace which worked beautifully. Such fun we had in our dirt-floored shack. Beer left in the shack was frozen beer in the winter. Pete had a telephone installed on a telephone pole, so that he could be reached in case of an emergency. Although this was long before my mushroom days, I remember seeing many interesting fungi during one wet summer, some that I have never seen again. The Prop was a fun place to have picnics with: Jim and Carol O'Neil; Mary Henning and her boys, Stan and Butch, (Don Henning, Headmaster of Shattuck, was serving as Chaplain in the Military Service);By, Marde, Ruth and Tom Berhow; Peggy's parents, the Harlans, and Peggy's sister and her husband, the Kicksmillers.

We had spent the afternoon at the Prop when we heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor on our car radio as we were returning home. That night we went to Roger and Isabelle Kiekenapp's for a scheduled bridge club meeting, but were too shocked to play bridge.
Dr. Rumpf who was in the Army Reserves and had been called into service, suggested that Pete try to resign his commission in the Reserves because Faribault was becoming very short of doctors. I am so thankful that Pete was successful in this, that he didn't have to go to war. He was certainly busy, handling the duties of Shattuck and St. Mary's Schools in addition to an enlarged practice due to the absence of so many doctors. Only one of our close friends was in the war, Carl Stabbert, a dentist.

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