G is for General Store

Pope County Museum A-Z is a continuing feature of our blog. Each week, I will highlight an item or items from our Museum collection.

This week’s item is a General Store  – most specifically the Fremad Association.

The General Store was an early version of our current Big Box Stores. A person could buy groceries, fabric, shoes, farm equipment, and basic household appliances such as irons – all in one place. As towns grew, the shops became more specialized. A patron would need to visit a clothing store, a grocery store, or a farm supply store to find the specific items on his list. But in the very early days, one store would supply most of the needs.

Wollan Brothers Store 1880’s

In early Glenwood, that store was the Wollan Brothers Store – later known as the Fremad Association. In 1870, the Wollan Brothers (Nels, Michael and Casper) opened a store in White Bear Lake township. Within the next 2 years, Nels moved to Starbuck and Michael and Casper moved to Glenwood to open stores in each of those towns to take advantage of the coming N.P. Railroad. Michael and Casper bought an existing hardware store in Glenwood, but by 1874, they had moved to another, larger building and  the store expanded its offerings & became a stock company. This was the age of the Grange agitation and many people wished to have a type of co-operative store in Glenwood. The Wollans instead offered stock to members of the community who wished to co-operate with them. The organization of stockholders was known as the Fremad Association. (Fremad is the Norwegian word for “forward” or “onward”.)

Fremad Association Store built in 1893

In 1893 a new brick building was built on the site of the original Glenwood store to expand the sales space. They carried everything from groceries to clothing. It was operated as a department store until it closed in 1949.

Inside the Fremad Association Store

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10 Responses to G is for General Store

  1. Annette Gorder says:

    My great grandparents were Hannah Hatling Troen and Benjamin Troen. (If memory serves, I believe Benjamins mother was Martha Wollan Troen). Hannah and Ben had a daughter named Marie who married Casper Gorder. My siblings and I still have many of the wedding gifts from the marriage of Marie and Casper which took place 100 years ago…June 19, 1912. The Starbuck Times recently printed an article about their wedding. It said there were 400 guests. I didnt think their little town had that many people in 1912! I wonder how many of the guests were WOLLANS 🙂 Would love to learn more about their big wedding if anyone can tell me.
    Annette Gorder

  2. Ann says:

    Hi Annette,
    We have not been able to find more information on the wedding than what was in the newspaper. I have searched through the photos in our database and have yet to find a photo of the couple. We’ll keep an eye out.
    Ann Grandy

  3. Annette says:

    Thanks!

    Do you have info or pictures on the Starbuck Cornet Band? It was started by my grandfather, Casper Gorder, near the turn of the century…I think 1903. He was the conductor and instructor. I believe he “retired” from the position in 1912, which would have been the year he married.
    Annette

  4. Tracy jipson says:

    I live in Casper wollans old house. I have searched for info . About the family but can’t find too much. Any help would be great!

    • Ann says:

      We have extensive information on the Wollan family here at the museum, including many photos of the house. Please come and visit us here at the museum and you can peruse the family files. We are open 10-5 Tuesday through Saturday year round.

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