Our Community in the Past

What Happened in the Past
In Memory of Loved Ones that haved Passed

(This history was written by Don Simonson)

If you prefer not having your information on the cookmn web site, please e-mail us at simonson@cookmn.com.



31 August


Gottfried, Sophie, Helen, Bob, Frances

1971, 31 Aug, Sophie (Olson) Carlson 82


1975, 31 Aug, Emma (Carriveu) Ohotto 57


1978, 31 Aug, James Cheney 43


2001, 31 Aug. Bill Nosie 71


Alex Stephen Cook

2005, 31 Aug., Alex Cook 20




30 August


1978, 30 Aug, Axel Arvila 83

29 August



1982, 29 Aug, Harold Knutson’s first Sunday as the Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church. He served until May 04,1986.






Megan graduated in 2005 from the Cook High School

2007, 29 Aug, Megan Anderson 20.




28 August



1903, 28 Aug, some of the first pioneer families to arrive in Angora were the Nords & Ofstads. Their descendants still live in the area.


1965, 28 Aug, Linda Dallago 17


1873, 28 Aug, Sev Karni 79


1988, 28 Aug, Ann (Widmark) Fultz 55


1992, 28 Aug, Esko Kolko 80


2002, 28 Aug., Mavis Meyers Gunderson 78



27 August




1970, 27 Aug, Eric Norman’s last Sunday as the Pastor of the Evangelical Covenant Church. His granddaughters Erica and Naomi are 1985 and 1987 graduates of the Cook High School. Pastor Norman passed away in the year of 2000, at the age of 93 years.


Passing the Torch

Ned being welcomed by Interim Pastor Ellis Eklof as the Eerdmans move into the parsonage

1995, 27 Aug, Ned Eerdmans' first Sunday as the Pastor of the First Baptist Church. Ned served until June 19, 2001. Dr. Ned Eerdmans earned his Doctorate in Theology while serving in Cook. He has since been the Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Fergus Falls, Minneosta.


1989, 27 Aug., Engle Erickson 89





Cook High School Class of 1970

1993, 27 Aug., James Hakkila 41



26 August



1930, 26 Aug, the Sorvari grocery was the first in Cook with electricity, the first residence with electricity was a Fannie Maki.


1965, 26 Aug, George Frances Jr. was named the President of the Farmers & Merchants State Bank (now First National of Chisholm). George Sr. died on 31 May 1965. George Jr. died 22 Sep 1973. His sons are:, George III, Blake and Dane.


1961, 26 Aug, Everett Bystrom 53





Mr. Germ was the Principal of the Cook School from 1950 to 1975.

1994, 26 Aug, Joseph Germ 84





25 August



1907, 25 Aug, the First Baptist Church was organized with five members. In 1909 the present site was donated by John Olson, a member of the Church who homesteaded in 1900 from what is now the Vermilion Boulevard (street to the hospital) and north. The first building on this site was constructed in 1913. The present Church building was built in 1948, with additions later.


1936, 25 Aug, Waldo Reichel was constructing his new brick barber shop across from the drug store. The Cook Building Center now owns this fine building.


1966, 25 Aug, Cornelius Kellehier started as the pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church.


1974, 25 Aug, wind took down the low rent housing building that was being constructed. It was to be located across from Richie Holm’s logging garage but was never finished.


1982, 25 Aug, cable television service started in Cook





1972, 25 Aug, Agnes Adelia Anderson 53


2007, 25 Aug, Karen Tokvam  64




24 August




1994, 24 Aug, the new south addition to the Hospital was under construction, including the new ambulance entrance.

1977, 24 Aug, Ernie Siro 70





Class of 1965

1983, 24 Aug, Charles Anderson 35




23 August



1953, 23 Aug, Miller's opened their new store on Hwy 53. All of the family worked in their grocery store business including; Walter 70,1981 & Marge 86,2003 Miller, their son Harlan Miller 63,2004 and daughters Leah 52,1996 and Maxine. The building is now the Gustafson Motors Ford dealership.


1970, 23 Aug, the Corner Café closed and was torn down to make a parking lot for the new grocery store John Musech was constructing.

1994, 23 Aug, Edward Fischer 75


1991, 23 Aug, Wayne Wierimaa 79



22 August



1974 construction of the new sanctuary

The second photo shows the 2011 building remodeling project under way

1974, 22 Aug, the new (present) sanctuary addition to the Trinity Lutheran Church was under construction. The basement was almost completed. 2011 the old sanctuary, kitchen and offices were removed for the major replacement of the same.



"Gabe" passed away at the age of 17 years, 11 months and 10 days

1995, 22 Aug, Gabriel “Gabe” Vogt 18


1996, 22 Aug, John Smith 76




Gladys & Harold

2005, 22 Aug, Gladys Knutson DuMarce 83




21 August



1927, 21 Aug, the cornerstone for the old Trinty Lutheran Church was laid. It is the building across from the Mlaker Funeral Home; it was an apartment building for a few years. Their present Church building was dedicated on 15 May 1955.


1986, 21 Aug, Chuck Bergquist transferred to the main Sheriff office in Duluth to serve as the Supervisor of Deputies. He had been in Cook since 31 Jul 1979 when Dick Floyd retired.


1961, 21 Aug, William Odella 53


2000, 21 Aug, Gordon Seopa 77



20 August



Hill Wood Products, 1994

1964, 20 Aug, Ray Hill of Hill Wood Products announced the purchase of 40 acres of land on the north edge of Cook, that is where he built the new plant. They had been located in Balliets Addition, near Sonny's Electronics store. Steve Hill is the curent owner, after his father Ray Hill 80,2004 and his Grandfather Hugh Hill 88,1978. Hill's have been good for Cook, they have provided good jobs for many residents over the years. They also provide jobs for loggers and truckers.


1997, 20 Aug, the new Post Office opened next door to the old one where it had been located in the Brown Building/Dollar Store (which burnt down June 17, 2013) since 01 March 1952. This is the first building that was constructed for a post office in Cook. In the past the post office was located in rented buildings.


1999, 20 Aug, Bill Gruska 78




19 August



1963, 19 Aug, construction started on the Vermilion Fairways Golf Course. This has been a great asset to the area as it continues to bring people to Cook.


1965, 19 Aug, the Catholic church parsonage was moved from behind the then Farmers & Merchants State Bank, to next to the new church building south of the hospital.


1977, 19 Aug, Ironworld opened at Chisholm. This place has been called “Rudy World” after Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich. The place is now known as Discovery Center.




Don was a 1951 graduate of the Cook High School

2003, 19 August, Donald Eugene Gustason 69


Nettie Martinson


2007, 19 Aug, Nettie (Balke) Martinson 79




18 August



1960, 18 Aug, the new Hospital Board took over the operation of the Cook Community Hospital.  The Village Council appointed five people from the Village and four from the community to serve as the Board of Directors. Prior to this the Village Council served as the board of directors.  The hospital belonged to the people of Cook as they had bonded the Village to build the hospital. In 1990 the Hospital District was formed, the City of Cook gave the hospital to the District free and clear. The District now could tax the land owners to support the hospital. Also the liability was too great for the Village. The Cook Community Hospital opened on October 26, 1959.  There have been several changes and additions in the last few years.  At this time, an addition to the Care Center is under construction.


17 August




Credit Union building, 1996

The Credit Union building, new addition 2011

1995, 17 Aug, groundwork was started on the new Cook Area Credit Union building. The business was previously in the Northern Farmers Co-op store building until 4 Oct 1994 when that building was destroyed by a fire. The Credit Union moved their office temporally to the BIC building. On January 2, 1996 they moved into their new building. Brad & Troy Simpson were the General Contractors that added the additon to this fine building during the winter of 2010-2011.


1991, 17 Aug, Milo “Mike” Wical 70

Mike owned the Life of Riley Resort


2000, 17 Aug, Tony Jackopich 73





1957 graduate of the Cook High School

2005, 17 Aug, Leslie Arvila 66




16 August



The Cook News Herald, Cook General Hospital, Sorvari's Store, Drug Store, Doroff's Shoe Repair

1956, 16 Aug, Hugh Casey 75,1997 bought the Swanson Drug Store from Atle Swanson (70,1956.) Swanson had owned it since 1937. John Franks bought the business from Casey in 1994. The building was constructed as the First State Bank of Cook which opened in 1911. The Bank closed in 1929. There has been a drug store in this building since 1931. This is the oldest building on the main street. The only building older in town is the Anderson Brothers Store, now Propane Plus.




Martha was a 1935 graduate of the Alango High School

2003, 16 Aug., Martha (Koivisto) Haavisto 85


Alan was a 1948 graduate of the Cook High School

2006, 16 Aug, Alan Larson 75

15 August



1986, 15 Aug, Gary Brunner opened his marine business at the old Evergreen cabins south of Cook on highway 53. He later moved to the old Miller’s store (now Gutafson Motors) after Clark Brenna moved his IGA grocery store to the former Musech store downtown. Gary passed away on March 13, 2016.


1980, 15 Aug, Delbert Ableman 48


1982, 15 Aug, Bert Frazee 81


Doug was a 1947 graduate of the Cook High School

2003, 15 Aug., Douglas Ahlgren 75




14 August



Class of 1991, Cook High School

1990, 14 Aug, Chad Sterling Olson 18


1998, 14 Aug, Walter Enzmann 83


2007, 14 Aug, Judy Angelle Cayo Pontinen 66





Darrell was a 1957 graduate of the Cook High School

2008, 14 Aug. Darrell Emmett Chase 69




13 August



1998, 13 Aug, the streets, and the water and sewer lines were completed for the Sunrise Apartments constructed by Greg Burckhardt and Terry Kantola. This was for upscale housing for our town.


1985, 13 Aug; James Jensen 70




12 August



1975, 12 Aug, Roy Jarvela started as principal of the Cook School. He was the first principal after the new St. Louis County Independent School District was created, it was then known as ISD 710, now 2142. Roy graduated from the Cook School in 1949. He passed away on 30 Oct 1998 at the age of 68.


1986, 12 Aug, Bill Putnam was hired as the Cook School Principal to replace Roy Jarvela. He only stayed for two years.


1993, 12 Aug, Debbie (Hartman) Kingdon 33






1962 graduate of the Alango High School

2000, 12 Aug, Arlie Howard Johnson 56




11 August



1962, 11 Aug. An elephant from the circus got loose and damaged Joe & Alice Germ’s yard. The small circus was held in the school parking lot. The animal tore up some shrubs and left foot prints in the lawn. Joe was the Principal of the Cook School from 1950 to 1975.

1977, 11 Aug, Larry Rautiola 21


1999, 11 Aug, Andrew Falk 77


1999, 11 Aug, Pierpont "Pete" Trygg 91


2003, 11 Aug, Frank Udovich 90




10 August



1960, 10 Aug, the addition to the Northern Farmers Co-op Store was completed. This store closed on September 10, 1992. On October 04, 1994 the building was destroyed by fire. The Northern Farmers Co-op Credit Union office was also located in this building. After the fire a new self standing Credit Union office was constructed on this site. It was renamed the Cook Area Credit Union, and it has now been renamed North Star Credit Union.


1994, 10 Aug, Severyn “Sev” Bialke 89


2006, 10 Aug, John Wilenius 93




09 August



1936, 09 Aug, the old County Garage next to the new Fire Hall was under construction. The structure is of cement and well built. The Fire Department used it for storage. It was built by the WPA (Works Public Administration) with local builders.


2003, 09 Aug, Jacqueline Chapman 60




08 August



1953, 08 Aug, the voters of the Village of Cook cast their ballots to underwrite the construction of the new hospital. Without the Village taxpayers support we would not have the fine medical facility we have today.


1982, 08 Aug, Valborg (Refsdal) Carlson 82


1985, 08 Aug, Ann (Mravinc) Edblom 70



Emile Pieper

2001, 08 Aug. Emile (Pearson) Pieper 80





07 August



1949, 07 Aug, the Cook airport was first licensed by the State of Minnesota. At that time the entrance was south of Cook off the Ralph road.

1960, 07 Aug, the Idington School closed, it was located across Highway 53 from the Country Roads Gift Shop. Eight miles south of Cook.




Arthur John Kontio

1960 graduate of the Cook School

1971, 07 Aug, Art Kontio 29


1959, 07 Aug, Leo Sarazine 51


1997, 07 Aug, Eldon “Ding Ding” Dreveland 67





Agnes Margaret (Rauch) Brunner

2006, 07 Aug, Agnes Brunner 77



06 August



1960, 06 Aug, the last jewelry shop in Cook closed when Orv Dalbacka left town. He had bought the business from Victor Ortendahl. The building later housed Opal Ranta's Gift Shop, then the United Farm Real Estate office. The building is now the Human Touch Gift Shop.




This view is from the old crossing which ran east and west
1997, 06 Aug, gates were installed at the railroad crossing next to the Riverfront service station This crossing was the scene of a number of accidents in the past.


1980, 06 Aug, John Fallos 39




05 August



Wurzel's Dairy Bar

1950, 05 Aug, Kenneth Wurzel opened his Dairy Bar. The place was known for their good food and its cleanliness. This building is now the beauty shop owned by Tracey Watt.

1988, 05 Aug, Violet (Lindsey) Mellak 94

Gerald Joseph Mihm
Class of 1951

2008, 05 Aug, Jerry Mihm 74





04 August



Reynold "Ray" Adolph Gustason

1945, 04 Aug, the Village Council named Ray Gustason the Chief of the newly reorganized Fire Department. (After the most disastrous Fire in the history of Cook that took the lives on Leona (Herman) Kjellberg age 34, her sons Gordon 12, Marvin 10 and Wallace 8 years of age.)  Ray was also the Village maintenance man in charge of the water and sewer lines including sending out the monthly utility statements. He also oversaw any street or utility improvements. He maintained the City Streets summer and winter. Reynold Gustafson served as the Chief for 21 years. He passed away in 1988 at the age of 82. His wife Anna Carlson Gustason died in 1980 at 72, his sons; Ames 69,2001, Donald 69,2003 and Kenneth 38,1973.


1961, 04 Aug, Al & Ruth Sedell sold their Resort to Ted & Myrtle Anderson. This included the store which is now owned separately and is now known as Moosebirds.

1988, 04 Aug. Corrine Spector was hired as the principal of the Cook High School. She passed away in 2005 at the age of 63.

1992, 04 Aug, beacon installed at the Cook airport


1975, 04 Aug, Lloyd Cheney 51





Harlan graduated from the Cook High School in 1959.

The Miller Family owned the first Super Market in Cook, Miller's IGA

2004, 04 Aug, Harlan Miller 63




03 August



1903, 03 Aug, Charles McGaginnis filed the “Plat of Ashawa” which laid out the streets and Avenues for our town. He may have been the person that named our town Ashawa. Before that the community was known as Little Fork. August Buboltz bought the town site from McGaginnis in 1909, at one time he owned many of the buildings on main street. August built his new house in 1909, which is now the home of Eric & Becky Trip (Eric & Becky bought the home from her parents, Don & Muriel Simonson; Don & Muriel had bought the home from August's daughter). The name of the town was changed from Ashawa to Cook in 1908.




The building was doubled in size in 1915 to the north for the Ardin's Bus Depot and Confectionary.
In 1931 Gust Ardin bought the Lemoine "Pioneer" Hotel.
The building to the left was last used as the Sorvari General Store.

1911, 03 Aug, the First State Bank of Cook was established. It was located in what is now the drug store. The Bank closed in 1929. Since 1931 this building has been a drug store and is now the Franks Pharmacy, owned by John Franks. The Farmers & Merchants Bank opened in 1917, it is now a branch of the Chisholm First National Bank


1939, 03 Aug, the Northern Farmers Co-op Credit Union was incorporated. It was later called the Cook Area Credit Union, and it has now been renamed North Star Credit Union. Carl Brown bought the first share.


1971, 03 Aug, the people of our area voted to create an independent school district. In the past the St. Louis County Board operated the school system. Arlee Olson was the first board member to represent the Cook area. The district was numbered 710, it is now the Independent School District #2142.


1967, 03 Aug, Gust Johnson 55


1972, 03 Aug, Albert Ditman 82


2000, 03 Aug, Rodney Johnson 63




02 August



1945, 02 Aug, Marvin Chase bought the land south of the school from Abel Pearson, he named it the Sunrise Addition to Cook. The hospital and the Homestead and Pioneer buildings are on this site and the houses across from the old school. Marvin 71,1979 & Jewel 91,2004 (Fitzsimmons) Chase were the parents of Ronald, Darrell 69,2008 and Shelly. They constructed one of the first nice homes on what is now Vermilion Boulevard, the street past the old school, the first house on the right. Marvin was a long time sawmill operator and the owner of the Chase Lumber Yard which was located where the Zup's grocery store is now.




1958, 02 Aug, Norman Cave was injured as a car hit the back of the load of hay he was pulling with his tractor in the dark on highway 53. He survived the accident after spending some time in the hospital. Norman passed away on January 27,  2011 at 101 years of age.


1984, 02 Aug, Leo Oslund 54


1995, 02 Aug, Laura Kmett 76




01 August



1908, 01 Aug, Ashawa became Cook, Minnesota. The name of the Post Office was changed because of confusion with a village in southern Minnesota named Oshawa. The new name of Cook was in honor of Wirth Cook, an owner of the Rail Road that was constructed through Cook in 1903 and 1904. The first train to reach Ashawa was on December 31, 1903. The reason the railroad was constructed was to haul the timber to the sawmills. The reason for the location of Ashawa/Cook was the railroad crossed the Little Fork River at his point. In those days steam engines pulled the trains. They needed a lot of water so water towers were constructed along the route. They used wood for fuel so they would load the stove wood while being filled with water.






1961, 01 Aug, Harold Cooper sold his café to Dick Wilson, he renamed it the Northwoods Café. Harold opened his cafe in 1940 in this building which was then located across the street, where the new Fox Hardware was constructred. In 1950 Harold had the building moved. After Wilson sold his business, the building was used by the Federal Forestry for their headquarters office. Then John Shaddle started a NAPA parts store, it is now the Human Touch Gift II store, next to the first Human Touch gift shop which is next to the Montana Cafe.


1967, 01 Aug, Minnesota sales tax started, it started out at 1%, now it is 6.875%




1975, 01 Aug, Trinity Lutheran Church dedicated their building addition, the present sanctuary. The lower building to the right was their original sanctuary. Their old building is the Dickson Apartment building across from the Mlaker Funeral Home.


Carl Brown constructed this building in 1952 for the Post Office

1980, 01 Aug, Arne Ojanen bought the Brown Building from his brother-in-law; Carl Brown. At that time the Post Office was still located in this building. Laura Pajari became the owner and with her sister Lois Gams operated a Dollar Store there, until a fire destroyed the building on June 17, 2013. The Post Office has been located next door in it's own new building since 1997.


1990, 01 Aug, Dr. Joan Intvelt started her medical practice at the Cook Clinic, which is now known as the Scenic Rivers Clinic. The Doctor has adopted a number of children. She is now retired.





1993, 01 Aug. the State of Wisconsin ended producing yellow colored license plates


1995, 01 Aug, the Ashawa Inn opened, it was Smitty’s Café. It closed on 28 May 1999. The building was demolished on July 08, 2010.


1974, 01 Aug, Margaret (Landmark) Bertolas 29


1992, 01 Aug, Laina (Pajunen) Bixby 87