History of Lake Park: 1900-1924

In 1904, the brand new school is completed and deemed as "the best in this part of the state".

The first meeting of the Farmers Exchange Co-op was held on February 4, 1905. Henry Untiedt was the first president.

January 16, 1906: Grapefruit was 5 cents at J.W. Emerson's store.

On a Friday night in December of 1906, a large fire broke out in downtown Lake Park. The members of the fire company as well as many others started pouring water on the flames at 1:30 a.m. but by 2:30 a.m. the buildings were almost entirely consumed. The efforts to put out the fire were hampered by a brisk northwest wind that blew sparks toward homes and started many small fires.

Damage from that fire was about $10,200. One of the buildings destroyed by the fire was the home of the Lake Park News. The paper, however, only missed one issue due to the blaze.

January 16, 1909: A clearance sale dropped the price of Ladies wrappers from $1.25 to 99 cents.

On February 4, 1909, residents began cleaning up from the worst blizzard since 1888. The railroad brought in its rotary snowplow to clear the rail line to Sioux Falls.

In 1910, the water tower and water pipes were installed. Originally, water was pumped from a well under the tower, but later pumped from the lake when demand became too great for the well.


Reproduced here just as it was published in the September 26, 1912 Spirit Lake Beacon. Archives of the Lake Park News were not available.


Safe In State Bank Blown Open and All Currency Carried Away

Professional safe crackers made a clean cut job at Lake Park at an early hour Friday morning when they robbed the State bank of all currency on hand and made their get-a-way long before any one was aware of their having been there. About $3000 in currency was secured.

The indication are that there were four or five men in the party and that they were evidently experienced men, as they went at the job in a systematic manner. From the best information their plan of action was as follows.

They first secured a gasoline hand-car from the section house at Harris and after stealing sufficient amount of gasoline from the big gas tank nearby to assure them of their proposed trip, transported themselves, or part of the party at least, to Lake Park. They opened the switch and transferred the car to the Worthington branch.

They secure six large rolls of woven wire from one of the hardware stores across the street and a number of empty pop cases and made a round barricade at the front corner of the building, and also secured another large roll of wire which together with a few trees and a small out building furnished a `barricade back of the rear door. They also secured a pick, sledge hammer and other necessary tools at the Flint blacksmith shop. They severed the telegraph wires both ways and cut the cable and the Farmers lines leading into the Midland Telephone office at that place. In some way they overlooked the long distance line. After making every precaution for their safe get-a-way, they entered the building by breaking the back door lock. Considerable nitroglycerine was used in blowing off the vault door lock as what is thought to be soap, completely encircles the ceiling. After securing the entrance to the vault the bank safe proper was given sufficient amount of dope to blow the doors clear off and to blow piece of the doors weighing five to ten pounds into old ledgers stored away above so that it appeared to be made there to stay.

The safe was badly wrecked and much silver was mutilated by the explosions. It is estimated that they secured about $3000 in currency (just under $90,000 in 2022 money) together with drafts, checks, etc.

After securing their looth (sic) they took the gasoline car and it is thought ran into Worthington or near there, where they turned the car back around and let it run back to Lake Park, it arriving at Lake Park about ten minutes before six o’clock. Some reports are to the effect that they were met by an auto near Round Lake. The hand car ran into a stock car standing on the side track at Lake Park and was considerably smashed up.

It is thought that the first explosion took place about 3:25 as the bank clock stopped at that time, although a number of residents of Lake Park were awake between two and three o’clock and remember hearing explosions at intervals of twenty or thirty minutes.

Section Foreman Keveter, who was just getting up as he saw the handcar coming in on the Worthington branch was the first to feel something was wrong. He at first thought that it was his own car but upon investigation found it not true. He went to the depot to learn whose car it might be when he notices the telegraph wires down. He started up town when he saw the barricades by the bank and at this interval, being joined by Messrs, Bock, Salyards and Sindt, preceded to investigate what had happened and found that a successful job had been pulled off.

About the only clue left was several good sized spots of blood both inside and outside of the building which is evident that some of the robbers were hurt in the transaction.

One suspect was arrested at St. James Friday forenoon and is now languishing in the county jail here. He refuses to talk or as much as ask why he is here. He arrived in St. James Friday morning on the east bound freight together with another party from Worthington. After a trip up town where they purchased a tin pail, some gauze, and other stuff, they preceded to the stock yards at that place. Both the men had an injured foot and were very nervous. One kept watch while the other dressed his wound. A stock buyer there witnessed the scene unknown to them. The stockman, not knowing anything of the bank robbery, telephoned the police there were two suspicious looking characters there and he thought they should be taken in. The police did not arrive for some little time. After dressing their wounds, which according to the report of the stockman were apparently fresh ones, the men started up town. The policeman met them on the way and stopped and talked to them but they gave him to understand that they were not the fellows he was looking for and that if he did want them they would be up at the restaurant. All went on their way, but when the policeman found out there were the two men wanted, he also saw them separate one going each direction at a cross street. The one apprehended made his way to the depot and had purchased a ticket for Minneapolis when the policeman arrived and had the train held until he could secure him. The other party could not be found.

The party being held here had a goodly sized piece of his shoe badly torn off just at the bottom of the lacing which could have been done by the safe door falling upon his foot. His shoe while washed out at St. James shows evidence of blood clear to the heel along the side and in the toe.

He has an injured foot but has not as yet asked for any medical assistance or will he carry on a conversation with anyone.

He is no doubt a member of the party but as yet direct evidence is some what lacking.


January 14, 1915: A sale at H.E. Schwager's Hardware store dropped the price of a coffee pot from 75 cents to 50 cents.

1919: Gas was 16 cents per gallon.