Flom, Minnesota 56541
Norman County USA

125 Years Old in 2002
Celebration was held July 19th and 20th of 2002
There is a book available on the area, contact
Margit (Nysetvold) Bakke

Map of Flom Township 1896

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New* 1895 Flom Township Census
(in progress)
"1895 Census"

Flom Village
Flom, Minnesota about 1909
(Thanks to Randy Burns for this picture)

Located in the southeastern part of Flom Township, sections 27-28, the Village of Flom was settled at a very early date. A small grocery store (trading post) was run by N.E. Nelson as early as 1880. Some of the very old pioneers have passed on the facts concerning the choosing of the name of Flom for the township and small inland town. At the time of organization, the name of Brenden was, of course, the logical choice because the village had been built on one corner of the Brenden farm. However, it was found that this was so similar to that of another town that it was rejected. The township was then named for one of its most prominent and best know citizens, Hans E. Flom. Soon after, Melvin Kleven, Henry Vehle and Hans Skansgaard began making plans for building a store. This was the first business firm in Flom. Flom soon became a thriving inland village with several small business places being established, all of which are roots from the seeds of ambition and faith sown by our first pioneers, who got the little town going.
In 1902, John Brenden built a small store on the east side, which also had a meat market. This building was located to the south of Hartz store. Mr. Brenden later sold to Martin Peterson. The small one-room school was built at the site of the present Clinton Rishovd residence. When they decided to build a new school, they moved the one-room school north of Brenden's Store.
In 1926 or 1927, local farmers joined forces and brought teams and wagons to haul gravel for the street. Now there was a well-graveled street, clean and free of mud, and mud it was, expecially in the spring. A word of appreciation and thanks was little for the time and work involved. The businessmen also worked with shovels to help level and spread the gravel. The ladies in town prepared dinner and lunches and served them to the men in the Implement building. In 1959, the street was redone again when the road north out of town was graded and tarred to Hwy. 113 and also a mile south to the Becker County line.
April or March was always the time set for Farmer's Market Day. The stores had specials that day and also furnished a free sack lunch for everybody. The lunch was donated by the businessmen of Flom. The public auction was held on the southeast corner of town across from the Feed Mill. Anyone could bring articles to sell-livestock, machinery, household items, furniture and other assorted items. The free sack lunch was the highlight of the day, especially for the kids. It was also the day for the first ice cream cones of the season. Ice cream was considered only a summer treat in those days. When the first ice packed canvas bags came in the restaurant, Fred Hanson treated the kids to a free ice cream cone. Vanilla was the only flavor they had at that time. The village of Flom is one of the busiest inland towns. A tremendous amount of activity has taken place here. At one time Flom was referred to as "Little Chicago".

Flom School History
One Room School

The Flom School was organized July 28, 1885. At first it was a one-room schoolhouse which later was moved uptown and used as a meat market.
The new schoolhouse soon became a two-room school as the enrollment became too large. At one time there were 76 pupils enrolled. When the school districts were first organized, the school term consisted of five months. There were 2 1/2 months in the Spring Term. The subjects taught were reading, writing, arithmetic, and spelling. Later, geography, history, grammar, and physiology were added to the curriculum.
At first the schools were named by a family name as they donated the land on which the school was built.
The earliest records avaiable show that Ole Thorson was clerk and Andrew Rogen was chairman of the school board in 1914. Mr. Lochrem was the first teacher.
Other teachers who have taught at the Flom school as far as records show were the following: Ella Finley, Ida Larson, Lisa Flom, Nora Qualley, Alice Anderson, Hans Flom, Emma Midthune, Borghild Larson, Clara Stenseth, Elenora Tomtengen, Olga Flom, Martha Qualley, Hannah Moe, Agnes Holden, Dr. Meighen, Kaija Carlson, Sarah Downs, Ida Knoff, Ida Clemenson, Florence Dwyer, Eleanora Erickson, Ingeborg Bottolfson, Merle Sherman, Mrs. Francis Fossen, Eldora Stende, Mrs. Emil Meyer, Bernice Dalhaug, Maude Juelson, Alma Dahlen, Marilyn Stende, Emma Erion, Imogene Buchholz, Winnifred Daniels, Signe Sakrismo, Mrs. Orville Engebretson, Valborg Holte, Betty Lovejoy and Ramona Kraft.
Later in years it was voted to consolidate with the Twin Valley school. The Twin Valley school did not have the room at the time to accommodate all the students. The junior high school students went to Twin Valley, and the first through sixth graders were transported to Flom. The exchange of pupils took place by the Wild Rice church.
In 1954 the Flom school was closed. The building was sold to Clinton Rishovd and is now their home.
Some pictures of school students over the years, thanks to Gerald and Donna Lien. "Schoolkids"

Aspelund Lutheran Church

On February 5, 1885, the Aspelund Lutheran Congregation was organized at the home of Halvor Aas. Several meetings and much planning preceeded the organizational meeting. Rev. Hans Johnsen, who was then serving the Wild Rice Congregation was present to conduct the meeting. The reason for organizing a new congregation was the distance which many parishioners had to travel to attend services at Wild Rice. Some lived 8 or 9 miles east and south of Flom. They thought it was too far to drive to Wild Rice a distance of 15 miles or more with horses, especially in the winter.
At the time Aspelund was organized, a gentlemens agreement was made between Aspelund and Wild Rice that the road one mile north of Flom (now hiway 113) would be the dividing line. All those who lived north of this line would stay at Wild Rice and those south of this line would go to Aspelund. This agreement was later terminated.
Knut Jacobson offered a one acre tract of land to the congregation for the site of the church building and cemetery. This offer was accepted, the location being about twenty-five rods due east of the southwest corner of Section 34 of Flom Township. On the lot was a grove of Aspen trees, from which the congregation got its' name; "Aspe"-meaning popple tree, and "lund"-meaning grove or a beautiful place. The site was cleared of brush and timber and the first church was erected. We have no record of the size of the church building but it was of the opinion of Hans E. Skansgaard that it was about 20x28 feet. The original plans had called for a somewhat larger structure but financial problems prevailed.
Some of the earlier history mentioned here is taken from the 65th anniversary history. The original records of the early congregation unfortunately are not available.
The Charter Memebers were as follows: Tobias Tollefson, Gunnar O. Lund, Knut Jacobson, Andrias Dorseth, Anton Johnson, Knut Brenden, Peder O. Rue, Lewis Johnson, Ole Melaas, Halvor Aas, Jon Stende, Chrstian Torgerson, Henry Johnson.
Rev. Hans Johnsen served as pastor until 1892 and Gunnar O. Lund was the congregation's first organist.
In 1892, Rev. K.K. Bjorgo, who was then the District President, suggested and recommended that the Aspelund congregation send a letter of call to Rev. Hans Nodshilder, who was then serving the Lake Park congregation, to be our pastor. Rev. Nodshilder accepted the call and worked very energetically and with much enthusiasm. He had preached only a few sermons when attendance grew so the church was proving too small.
Rev. Nodshilder passed away at a Pastoral Conference held at Albert Lea, Minnesota in the fall of 1894, having served Aspelund Congregation less than two years. It was not until after his passing that his plans for a larger church building were disclosed.
Rev. Bothne who was then serving the Hitterdal congregation was called to serve as interim pastor until Rev. B.J. Larson of Lake Park accepted the call and became Aspelund's pastor for almost twenty-five years. He served this congregation from 1894 until the fall of 1919. In 1897, a special meeting of the congregation was called and it was decided to build a new church on a new location. A tract of land was purchased from L. Sande, located about a half mile south of Flom in Section 33 of Flom Township. Knut Jacobson and Andrew Dorseth were elected to the building committee. John Haugen was given the contract to build the church of the following dimensions: main auditorium 30x40 feet, with addition entrance 12x12 feet and chancel and sacristy 18x24 feet. Hans Skansgaard was given the task of blasting all the rock used in the foundation, as he had some knowledge of explosives. There was no basement under the church at this time.
The bell for the church was purchased with ladies aid funds. Extra strong footings were made to support the bell tower. Special pulleys were made and with the aide of several men and teams of horses the bell was raised to its' place of prominence. There is an inscription on the bell that states that it was given to the church by the ladies aid.
The church was completed during the summer and the cornerstone ceremony was held November 21, 1897 with Rev. E.J. Ovrie of Pelican Rapids the guest speaker. According also to the records the church was dedicated on July 6, 1902 with Rev. K.K. Bjorgo giving the dedicatory sermon.
After the church was finished a group of young people got together and started a choir, under the direction of Axel Berg, the Parochial School teacher. G.O. Lund was the organist. The choir was short lived as Mr. Berg soon moved away. Mr. Lund continued as organist for three more years. Then his daughter, Nettie, assumed his duties until the family moved to Twin Valley in 1907. The old organ was very unique in that it had pipes protruding from the back, to make it resemble a pipe organ. Later, in memory of Knut Brenden, the congregation was given a new organ. It had a handle on the side that could be pumped back and forth for power. Julius Westby had the job of pumping the organ, for as long as the church owned the organ.

Aspelund Cemetery
Aspelund Confirmation Classes

Flom Mutual Fire Insurance Company

Farmers of the townships of Flom, Home Lake, Wild Rice and Fossum, Norman County Minnesota assembled at the schoolhouse in School District No. 36 of said county, on the 17th day of May, 1886, for the purpose of organizing a Farmers Insurance Company, to insure against loss and damage by fire and lightning.
Nils Nilson was chosen Chairman and G.O. Lund as Secretary. All present were in favor of organizing and to insure only against loss and damage by fire and lightning. Four men were appointed to make up Articles of Incorporation and By-laws, namely John Narum, P.S. Olson, G.O. Lund and Albert Peterson. They met again two times before they had enough persons for the signing of the Articles and By-laws. The name chosen for the company was Flom Mutual Fire Insurance Company with the business office to be located in the town of Flom. The following men were the original signers:R. Grutle, Henry Benson, John Homelvig, Nils Nilson, E.L. Tomtengen, O.T. Rogen, P. Helle , C. Olson, P.O. Valer, N.O. Mithun, Ole Kallerud, M.L. Akre, Martin Johnson, C.J. Dalhaug, Elling Flom, Erick Hembre, A.B. Peterson, P.H. Aamoth, K. Jacobson, K.O. Brenden, J.O. Valer, Jens Urdahl, Hans E. Flom and G.O. Lund.

Names of the first Board of Directors were

Incorporation date was June 6, 1887. The newly organized Flom Mutual Fire Insurance Company was ready for work as soon as the insurance blanks would be printed. The Annual Report of that year showed 63 policies in force and a total fire loss of only $5.00.

Flom Post Office

Hans Skansgaard was the first mail carrier, as the mail was carried from Lake Park, Minnesota. It was first distributed from farm homes with the address being Wild Rice Post Office. Postmasters at these homes were Ole Roge, N.E. Nelson, John Skofstad and John Nysetvold. About 1892-1894, the address was changed to Flom and the mail was distributed from the store.
Postmasters who served since then were Peter Kleven, Henry Vehle, Edwin Gunderson, Hauer, Andrew Rogen in 1900, Thorvald Thorson, Earnest Narum, H.A. Gravely and Martha Skansgaard (who retired in 1974).
The post office has moved several times throughout the years. It was located in Rogen's Store, Narum's Store, Viking Cafe and the Flom Co-op. If was finally moved to a building by itself, the vacated bank building. This was destroyed by fire in 1973. A temporary post office was located in John Haraldson's Insurance Office. When the mall was completed in October 1973, the post office was moved to its present location.
For many years Flom had a Star Route from Syre, which was discontinued in 1973. Some of the drivers were Thorvald Thorson, Fred Hanson, Benhart Gunderson, Adolph Dorseth, Edwin Stende, Johnnie Erickson, Alvin Erickson, Andrew Anker and Martin Lunde, who last served as driver before the Star Route was discontinued.
The mail was then brought to Flom via a Star Route truck out of Detroit Lakes. This was discontinued in March of 1976. Since that time, Ed Houglum, rural route carrier out of Twin Valley, has been delivering the mail.

Rogen's Store

The first business firm of Kleven and Vehle, which was also the first store in Flom, was sold to Gunderson and Hauer, and later to Andrew Rogen in 1900. This was a dry goods, shoe and grocery store. In 1919, Rogen sold to Dolph and Draeger and moved to Twin Valley where he operated the Corner Store for many years. This is now the Twin Valley Post Office. Other proprietors in the store were Gust Laviene, Harold Krause, Johnson and Gravely, then Art Thorstenson, who operated it for 25 years before moving to a new home in Detroit Lakes. The store was then closed permanently.
Later, Mrs. Bernice Herold of the Twin Valley-Ulen Telephone Co. purchased the old store building and lot. The store was taken down, lumber salvaged and taken to a camp for teenage girls and boys on Oak Island, a mile from the Canadian border, in the northernmost part of the state. Father Merkens discovered this abandoned camp which had once been a fishery. Mrs. Herold, Father Merkens and a student priest organized the teen camp and salvaged the old fishery building and some contents, together with our old store, to rebuild the camp for kids.

Blacksmith Shop

Sometime before 1900, a feed mill (where the Co-op is today) and a blacksmith shop (where the Post Office is located) were started by a Mr. Irish. Mr. Solee, who was also the band instructor, operated the blacksmith shop. Mr. Hoakon Hanson became the blacksmith later on. In 1908, Pete L. Johnson took over the shop and was the town blacksmith for many years. Ole Nysetvold is pictured with Pete Johnson in the picture above.

Saw Mill
Olaf Lund

A saw mill was built by Andrew Rogen and supplied lumber for the community in 1908. Oak logs were brought by the Indians and the squaws brought maple sugar to sell. Furs were often given in trade for logs. The saw mill was later used as a feed mill. It was also owned and used by Olaf Lund as a repair shop for watches, clocks and radios. Olaf had the first radio in the community. The mill was torn down when the Co-op was built.

Flom Creamery

In 1902, a Clay County farmer, Fred Sorenson, organized the creamery together with other pioneers of the community. Mr. Sorenson was the first president of the creamery board. Hans Skansgaard, who blasted rock for the foundation, also helped to construct the creamery. John Dorseth drilled the first well and Mr. Christensen helped to install the machinery. This was a one-story frame building. The equipment included two DeLaval cream seperators (power driven), a milk heater, 2 open cream ripening vats, churn, Bobcock tester, boiler and a 15 hp steam engine at a cost of $3,000.
Mr. H.C. Pederson was the first buttermaker and served until April 1, 1913. Creamery operation was a new experience, but Mr. Pederson had received his early training in buttermaking in Denmark. The annual output of butter reached or slightly exceeded 100,000 pounds a year at this time. Following the organization of 1902, it became a prosperous creamery and reports of 1910 showed the Flom Creamery received $31,737 for butterfat in 1909. This was one of the largest amounts of any creamery in the country.
On April 1, 1913, B.J. Ommodt replaced Mr. Pederson as buttermaker and manager. Mr. Ommodt was educated at South Dakota State College, and had a dairy school certificate from that college. His wages were $70 a month in the summer months and $65 per month for the winter. Whole milk was received at that time.
At the 1913 annual meeting, patrons voted to discontinue milk starting October 1, 1913. Now all patrons must invest in cream separators as no more milk would be taken. Through the years that followed, volume continued to increase, everthing on the upward move. On June 28, 1919 fire destroyed the creamery. Salvaged from the fire was a new churn, some tubs of butter and a cash register.
After the fire, reorganization was necessary. New equipment was bought. A new stock issue was floated to finance the new creamery and equipment. Mechanical refrigeration was installed later. Now the old method of ice for keeping butter was over. There would be no more ice to cut and haul during winter months. Ice was stored in sawdust in a storage building to the north of the creamery. Farmers cut and hauled the ice to town on sleighs. Following the fire, the businessmen in town set up a receiving station where farmers brought their cream. The businessmen in town hauled the cream by truck to Waubun and Ulen for processing.
Our new creamery was completed by fall of 1919 and was again receiving cream. The fine outreaching work of the creamery association in Flom also achieved state-wide recognition when the creamery won state prizes for excellent butter manufacturing. They later received prizes in the Red River Valley Dairyman's Association contest.
The creamery continued to be outstanding in the Flom community. In 1923, B.J. Ommodt resigned as operator and on April 1, his brother Henry was hired as buttermaker and manager.
Depression years were here for the dairyman when butter prices were as low as 19� a pound. This was the average price for butter that year and brought the total volume of business down-$57,000 that year, the lowest since 1919.
On August 18,1958, Henry Ommodt passed away. We were now without a buttermaker. At a special board meeting, Andrew Anker, an employee, promised to operate the creamery. Later he was hired as operator and manager and served as manager since that time.
The creamery was closed October 1, 1971 and is now owned by the Flom Co-op Oil and used for storage.

John Dorseth Hardware Store

Olaf Grefsrud, John Dorseth, Adolph Dorseth, Hilda Dorseth Anker, Anton Dorseth, Mrs. John Dorseth and Severin Rishovd

The old hardware store building just west of the new post office was built in 1903 by two local young men. Albert Kirkeby and John A. Dorseth. An apartment in the rear of the store housed the families. In 1905, they dissolved their partnership. Mr. Dorseth continued with the business until his retirement. He also sold caskets and served the community as an undertaker for many years. One of the front windows still shows the sign "undertaker" on it. In the casket department the women also worked, as in those days the caskets came unlined from the factory. The padding and lining was done by Mrs. Dorseth and a neighbor lady, Mrs. Andrew Rogen. When one was needed, these ladies had to get them ready before they were delivered to the home of the deceased. The family service was usually held in the house of the deceased. Embalming was not done in those days, so time was limited. All preparations of the deceased were made in the home. The flowers were waxed and artificial wreaths or sprays were used. Very few fresh flowers were ever used. Often a bouquet or wreath made from a neighbor's garden or house plants were brought to the home. Some were made from the blossoms of the Oleander, a common house plant, and also from geraniums. Mr. Dorseth also furnished black arm bands for the pallbearers, and a black rosette drape which was hung on the front door of the home. Following the family service it was removed and brought to the church for the funeral service. Black rosettes also marked the pews for the mourners and pallbearers. The altar ring also was draped in black and white. House plants were also used at church. A neighbor would offer his services by furnishing a team and wagon in summer or a sleigh in the winter to bring the casket to the church. A few years later, hearses came into use, the first ones being drawn by a team, then later came the mobile hearse.
John Dorseth operated this store for 50 years. The later years he had discontinued the undertaking department and had only the hardware line. He also brought in the Marlin Gas. A pump was installed near the front of the building and this, along with the hardware, he continued until his retirement.
He spent his later years at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Andrew (Hilda) Anker, where he passed away at the age of 90 years. His son Anton continued to live in the store apartment until two years ago when he bought a trailer house and moved it to the lot beside the store.

Flom Garage

There was a two story building on the east side of the street built by Severin Rishovd in 1913. He was also a car dealer and mechanic.
The upstairs was one room and served as a city hall. The "Farmers Club" met there and also other organizations. They held school programs, basket socials, dances, shows and silent movies. Mr. Chile from Lake Park, Minnesota was a photographer and used the room for movies. Other traveling shows gave their entertainment here.
William Ostenvik organized a band of local young men and practiced there. They sometimes gave concerts in the street to entertain the people. Downstairs, there was the repair shop for cars, motorcycles and bicycles. Mr. Rishovd was the first mechanic. After him there were Alfred Skansgaard, George Ash of Ulen, Minnesota, Albert Thorson, Olaf Lund, Albert Nerdahl and Bill Olson.
In 1935, Melvin Johnson purchased the business and building and was a mechanic from 1935 until his retirement in 1974. Mr. Johnson installed a Standard Oil Gas pump and sold gasoline. At the time of his retirement, he sold the business to Douglas Klemetson and Roger Kurpius. The building at present is empty.

Farmers State Bank

A bank was operating in Flom from 1914-1931. The bank was organized by C.E. Peterson of Twin Valley. O.M. Westlen was the first cashier. Others who worked there were Henry Midthune, Conrad Olson, Newton Midthune, Connie Holm, Olaf Tweeten, Hilmer Ommodt, Sterling Olness and Olie Slette.
The bank was organized August 15, 1914 with a capital of $10,000, together with present surplus that made a working capital of $12,000.
Report as of December 31, 1917 on this banking institution showed deposits amounting to $65,656.36 resources and liabilities $79,956.70. First officers were President Knute Thompson, Sr. and Vice President C.E. Peterson. The building occupied by the bank business was valued at $2,000. The men at the head of this bank were well-known and stood for integrity and business ability. In connection with the bank, a John Deere Implement business for farm machinery and repairs was also controlled by the bank directors and operated by N.C. Holm. The implement building was located in the steel building just north of the bank.
In 1931, the bank business was dissolved and taken to Ulen. The Implement business was taken over by Hilbert Gravely and was now an Allis Chalmers dealership. Again, it was sold to Melvin Johnson and Marvin Thompson and again, the business was dissolved and the building sold to the VFW.

Livery Barn

A livery barn was built by Andrew Rogen on the lot just south of the Hartz Store. Olai Dyrdahl was the stablemaster for many years. Soon cars came into use and the livery horses and barn ceased to be of use. A few years later, Bert Albertson bought the barn and moved it to his farm. He remodeled it and it is still in use today as a dairy barn.

Hartz Store

Clarence Narum, Ernest Narum, Mrs. Ernest Narum, Mrs. Ted Weum, Adeline and Muriel Jacobson

The Hartz grocery store and meat locker plant is the only store left in Flom today. It is owned and operated by Boyd and Dorothy Johnson and Don and Kay Johnson.
The store was built in 1914 by Nels Narum of Waubun, Minnesota. Nels, together with his two sons, Ned and Ernest, operated the store which was then known as Flom Mercantile for several years. Ernest continued with the grocery and dry goods line. He answered the call of World War I, entered the service on October 14, 1919, and got out on December 14, 1919. He came back to Flom and continued to manage the Mercantile store. New lines of merchandise were added such as the Gamble line and the Farmers Union Gas and Oil. A pump was installed near the front of the store for gas. At that time, gas cost $1.00 for 5 gallons. In 1936, he added a meat locker and processing plant.
Narum sold the store to A.E. Hanson of Twin Valley and Mr. John Nelson became the manager for a time. Narum again became owner and operator of the store until he sold to H.B. Olson of Fosston. Ernest went into business in Gary, Minnesota and moved there with his family. Other owners were Sylve Stende and the Johnson's. At one time a small apartment was added on the south of this store. It was these rooms that the Johnson's so generously offered for a cafe following the fire in 1973. When the mall was finished the cafe was moved over there. The employees at the store today are Dorothy Johnson, Don Johnson, Kay Johnson and Jeanne Boreen.

Fred Hanson's Cafe-Long Branch Bar

Oscar and Alvina Morck

Through the inspiration of Andrew Rogen, Fred Hanson, a restaurant operator in Twin Valley, Minnesota, came to Flom. He established a restaurant business in the building south of Rogen's store. Mr. Hanson also hauled the mail on the Flom Star Route. Years later, he built an addition on the west side of his cafe for a pool room and recreation. He continued here 'til his death in 1928. It then operated for a short time under an estate and was then sold to Oscar and Alvina Morck, who had the business until his death in 1959.
The Morck's were in this business for 30 years and before their marriage in 1922, Oscar had worked for Mr. Hanson. Now it was closed for a time and then the business was sold to Wendy Roering of Waubun, Minnesota who remodeled the interior and operated under the business name of Long Branch. In 1962, he sold the business to Henry Dorseth. Henry operated the business for eight years. He passed away in 1970. The business was sold to Vernon and LaVonne Dorseth, who operated the Long Branch Bar until 1973, when it was destroyed by fire.

Shoe Repair Shop

In 1917, Ole Winger set up a repair shop for shoes, harnesses, machine belts and canvasses. The small building located just north of John Haraldson's insurance office was not only Ole's shop, but also his home for himself and his gaunt wolfhound Rex. Ole also liked to hunt. It was fun to peek in the door at Ole on our way home from school. There he sat, pounding nails, with Rex at his feet. Sometimes Rex would be curled up by the old wood stove. Some years later Ole retired from shoe repairing and moved to North Dakota. The shop was moved to Syre, Minnesota where it is the office for the Fertilizer plant.

Flom Flour Mill

A flour mill was built and operated by Matt and William Ostenvik in 1918-1919 and it was known as the "Flom Roller Mills". Flour was made here in Flom for several years. The name on the flour sacks was Flom Roller Mills.
A few years later, the giant engine furnished the electric power for the town. Now everyone had electric light. Before, very few had electricity in their homes and business places, since only a few had Delco electric plants. Lights from the mill were great, even though it was not 24 hour service at first. The current was turned on from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., and again in the morning. A few minutes before 11 p.m., the lights were winked twice. This told us that the current would be shut off and we would soon be in the dark or have to light a kerosene lamp.
When flour making was discontinued, Mr. Ostenvik continued to grind feed for livestock for some years. In 1945, he sold the business to Orris Olson and he continued to grind feed until 1946 or 1947. When it was sold, the mill was torn down and taken to Gary, Minnesota to build the Wilford Unger home.


Thorvald Thorson and John Christensen

A photo studio was in operation and owned by John S. Christensen. He used the north rooms of his dwelling, which was owned by his parents, Anna and Jens Christensen, who farmed for many years in the Flom vicinity before retiring and moving to town.
John also worked as a painter and decorator for many years in the Flom community and also in Ulen and Twin Valley, Minnesota. After his death, Viola Dorseth became the owner and in 1965 it was sold to Nels Jacobson. In 1976, Harold Askegaard purchased the house.

Viking Cafe

Olaf Grefsrud and Knutson purchased the old one-room school in town located just north of Johnson's Store. They made it first into a meat market and later built an addition on the north for a cafe with living quarters upstairs. It was now much larger and was both a cafe and meat market. After operating for some years, the business was sold to Selmer Urdahl and Dell Erickson. Later, Thorvald Thorson operated the cafe for some time. The meat market department was discontinued. Other operators of the cafe were Alfred Rue, later Henry Haraldson and John Skansgaard. Then, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Jacobson purchased the business with a beer parlor and cafe. The Jacobsons operated the cafe here for many years and later sold to Dell Klansruder. They were the last operators of the cafe. Donald and Boyd Johnson bought the building and at present are having it torn down.

Barber Shop

The first barber in Flom was Rudolph Rasmussen, who opened a shop in the vacated rooms over Rogen's Store. He barbered here for many years.
Theodore Weum then became the barber in the same apartment. Later, Mr. Weum moved his business to the small store building he bought and remodeled for a shop and residence. After a few years, he moved his family to a home in the eastern part of town. This house is now occupied by Bill and Nulda Ommodt.
Mr. Weum continued in the barber trade and also sold men's clothing as a side line. He did this until they moved. Helmer Larson was now the barber in Flom and then Frank Winters of Park Rapids, Minnesota and still later Henry Eidimo became barber. For some years, Flom was without a barber.
When the new mall was completed following the fire of 1973, a place was provided for a barber shop and a beauty salon. Max Voss of Waubun, Minnesota comes one day a week on Mondays and is our present barber.

Shoe Shops in Dorseth's Store

Back in the 1920's, Eric O. Hagen, father of Carl Hagen and Mrs. O.M. Westlin, set up his little shoe shop in a corner of Dorseth's store. Here he repaired shoes for a few years.
Later in 1932, Lewis Ask of Fargo used the same part of the store for shoe repair and also binder canvasses, belts and harnesses. He had a room at the Edgar Skansgaard farm out of town. From here he walked to work, sometimes getting a ride with cream haulers. In 1940, Ames Christensen of Staples, Minnesota had the shoe shop in the store for a year. Since the closing of the shop there has been no cobbler in Flom.

Dental Office

Dr. Horn and Dr. Burrel of Ulen came to Flom one or two days a week throughout the summer months. They had their office in the room above the garage and later in the Viking Cafe as that building was vacant for awhile. Dr. Burrel joined the Army Dental Service and Dr. Horn continued to come to Flom for a season. It cost 25� to 50� to have a tooth extracted at that time. they used a folding portable dental chair.

Flom 4-H Club

The Flom 4-H Club was organized in the Woodland Nook school in 1928. Thelma Torkelson was the teacher there and she helped organize the club. She and Carl Sandal were the first leaders. Other active adult leaders were Mrs. Nora Flaten, Roy Bergeson, B.J. Bergeson, Orville Engebretson and Kenneth Brogren.
The club had a 4-H band with William Ostenvik as instructor. This band won honors at the county fair and also went to the state fair where they won a high place with a trumpet cornet duet, "Moonlight and Roses", by Evelyn Ostenvik and Paul Engebretson.
The 4-H met in homes, toured farms, and was in general very active in showing at the county fair, state fair and also at the Crookston Farm Crop shows with livestock, home economics, music and talent plays. The club used much of their money in the community by buying large stage curtains and also chairs for the Community Hall. The cost of the curtains was $100 and the chairs $50. It was at a 4-H meeting the discussion to build a community hall came about.
County agent Landsverk was very active in getting people interested in this project. Mr. Landsverk also organized the Flom Homemaker's Club. Nora Flaten served the club for 35 years. Much credit and thanks are due Nora for her years of work, time and patience with the children.
The Flom 4-H Club continued for a few years after Mrs. Flaten retired, but dissolved due to lack of interest.

Shipping Association

Cecil and Lowell Cary operated the livestock shipping business for several years known as the Cary Brothers Shipping Association.They hauled with two trucks from farms around the area to Fargo and once in awhile to the Cities. They operated the business for 39 years, then sold to Ervin Smith of Ulen, who continues to haul the livestock for this area.
Before this, the cattle were shipped from Syre or Waubun. Knute Thompson was a buyer and later Peter Sakrismo bought and shipped cattle. At that time, cattle were driven to the point of shipping. Calves, hogs and other small livestock were hauled by a team and wagon.

Flom Co-op Oil

When the Old Red Mill in the south part of town was torn down, an oil and gas station was built by Johnson and Gravley known as the "Big 5". A few years later, it was changed to Flom Co-op Oil and in 1975 to Cenex Oil Co.
Lyle Klemetson, who was employed here by Johnson and Gravley, took the job in 1942 as an employee. At the time, the US Navy and WW II were foremost in his mind, but Hilbert Gravley had other plans since capable help was scarce. Through the draft board authorities, it was arranged for a one-year deferment for Lyle. Lyle stayed on for one year and then he went into the service. When two years in the service were up, Lyle came back to Flom. At that time he was interested in farming. The job offered him by Gravley was tempting.
Now, twenty-eight years later, Lyle was still the manager, a position he had held since 1948 with 33 years of service. In 1956, Flom Co-op Oil Association was incorporated and became affilated with the Central Exchange. Sales in 1955 totaled $89,980. Each year since then, with the exception of one, has seen a growth in sales. In the 22 years since Lyle was manager, more that $344,000.00 have been returned to the patrons. The Co-op has the largest work force in Flom, including Lyle, his wife Norma, bookkeeper, Duane Johnson, manager at this time, Jerome Thompson, tire man, Charles Henderson, station attendant, J.H. Hellicksen, part-time employee and Norma Lunde, assistant bookkeeper.
In later years, the custom application of fertilizer and sprays have also been important areas of growth for the Flom Co-op Oil. People in the area appreciate the Co-op as it has always tried to move ahead and has been essential in keeping Flom on the map.
In 1974, Cenex remodeled the interior of the station. As of March 31, 1977, Lyle Klemetson retired after serving as manager for 28 years, due to ill health. Duane Johnson, an employee for the past 12 years, has replaced him as manager.

Flom Community Club

The Community Club, with a membership of 200 local citizens was organized in 1935 to promote interest for the welfare and progress of the town. The Flom "Community Hall" was the first of their works. Officers were A.H. Thorstenson, Lewis Kirkeby, John Haraldson, Martin Flaten, Laurence Aasgaard and Emil Meyer.
In 1967, the Flom Township board approved the redecorating of the interior of the hall. Paneling was put up, the ceiling was lowered and two new furnaces were installed.
After many years of inactivity, the club re-organized in 1969. Shortly after, they decided to build on bathrooms and water was dug in. The cloak rooms have been paneled, the kitchen remodeled, much painting has been done, and new linoleum and carpet laid. Grand opening night was set for April 11, 1970.
There also has to be a means of raising funds to defray the expenses of the remodeling. Once again talent shows and dances helped, along with bingo, food sales and pancake suppers.
In 1972, a group of men made forms and mixed cement to make a new sidewalk in front of the hall up to the old hardware store. Then, in 1974, when sidewalk was laid in front of the new mall, they joined the two segments together and we now have a complete walk-way from uptown to the hall.
Starting in 1971, the club has been having an old fashioned 4th of July. This includes a pot luck dinner at noon, games for the youngsters, horseshoe and dunking tank. In the afternoon, a refreshment stand is open for pop, candy and ice cream and a dance in the evening closes the day.

Wild Rice Electric

Something electric was in the air on August 15, 1939�a busy season for the rural people. Peter Ingebretson of the Flom community arranged a meeting for the 15th in the Flom Hall for the purpose of discussing Rural Electrification for this area. Despite the busy season, the people came. They drove from farms at Detroit Lakes, Lake Park, Hawley, Ulen, Mahnomen, and Twin Valley. By the summer of 1939, or we might start back when President Roosevelt signed executive order #7037 on May 11, 193S, establishing the Rural Electrification Administration, all farm places could now have electric power and lights. It also included a part of our town. which has electric power from R.E.A.
On September 19, 1935, Peter Ingebretson was asked by his fellow board members to assume the part of project superintendent. Mr. Ingebretson accepted the responsibility. Nine incorporator directors were elected to the board.
Men from the Flom vicinity who were elected were Peter Ingebretson, Lewis Kirkeby, and Hugo Bromander. We of the Flom vicinity and town owe much to Mr. Ingebretson, who was willing to take on the responsibility of project superintendent to get us included in this.
If visions are to come to reality. work must bc done. Someone was needed to spend time and energy among prospective members, securing permission to run the lines across their property, and no pay could be made for it. Many were skeptic of the idea and reluctant to invest a S5 bill in an anticipation for membership. It was necessary that enough consumers indicate by application that they would use enough cnergy to repay the loan with interest if a line was built uhich will energize somc of thc business places in thc east part of town and also include a large percentage of the rural area.
By the summer of 1939. people all over the United States were excited by the possibility of the Rural Electrification Administration after the creation of the agency.

The John Brenden Building

Ted Weum and Carl Syverson of east of Ulen in the chair. (Thanks to Bob Weum for this picture!)

The John Brenden building is one of the older buildings in Flom and it is thought to have been built about the year 1900. Mr. Brenden operated it as a store or confectionery.
In 1908, Mr. Brenden sold the store to the Gunderson brothers, Edwin and Burton. They also operated it as a store until 1911 when they sold out to Thorvald Thorson. Mr. Thorson owned the store until 1915, when he sold it to Nels Narum and sons of Waubun. Narums used the building as a warehouse after they built the Narum Store. In 1920, Narum sold the building to Theodore Weum and Mr. Weum moved the building to its present site. This was to the north of the Viking Meat Market and Cafe.
Mr. Weum opened a barber shop and added on to the building and installed pool tables. He discontinued the pool business and built an addition on the north side. He also remodeled to provide two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and utility room. Mr. and Mrs. Weum resided there until 1941. when they moved to International Falls.
He sold the building to John Haraldson in 1946. He again remodeled in 1949 and made it into a pool hall and confectionery. In 1959 he quit the pool business and used the building for the office of Flom Mutual Fire Insurance. He was the secretary at that time and continued to have the office until 1969 when he retired. He is still living in the same building.

The Flom Boy Scouts

When Pastor A.H. Amundson served the Flom parish, he organized a Boy Scout Club. Pastor Amundson served as the leader for the club and also drahed fathers to help with some of the activities such as camping, recreation, and some manual training.

Flom-Twin Valley VFW Post 3818

The Twin Valley Post 3818 will long remember the day of installation of their Post in the Veterans of Foreign Wars. During the ceremonies on December 7, 1941, the sad news was announced that Pearl Harbor had been bombed by Japan. After a few moments of silence, the Post continued their election of officers. Roy Mickelson was elected the first commander, Edward Stien was elected adjutant and Carl Evenson was elected quartermaster.
The Post meets the first Thursday of each month and for a number of years had their meetings in Twin Valley. With most of the Post's membership in the Flom community, a building was acquired in 1955, where the Post then met. This building was destroyed by fire in 1973. The Post then decided to build a mall, which holds five business places under one roof. The Post has the Flom Cafe and the Bar under its control. There is also a Post Office. Barber Shop and Beauty Shop in the mall.
Present commander is Jerome Thompson and quartermaster is Charles Spielman.

M & M Cafe

For some time Flom had no cafe. Since the Allis Chalmers business was discontinued the implement building was vacated and then sold to the V.F.W. Club. Someone made a suggestion that this could be a cafe. So why not?
Marvin and Marylin Thompson rented the building and soon we had a cafe going, known as the M & M Cafe. Now there was a place to have a cup of coffee again. What a relief to all the Scandinavians in Flom! At one time there were two cafes in Flom.
After operating the cafe for a few years, the Thompsons sold the business to Dotis Jacobson, who operated the cafe for six years. Then it was sold to Sanford and Donna Albertson. Donna operated the cafe and Sanford continued with the D.H.I.A. testing. Six years later, they sold the business to LaDonna and Jerome Thompson, who still opetated the business in 1973 when the cafe burned.
A temporary cafe was set up in the apartment in Johnson's Store. Here the business continued through the summer. On the first of October, 1973, the mall was finished and the cafe moved to its new and present location. It was now under new management�Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Larson. They operated the cafe for three years, then sold the business to the V.F.W. The club continues to operate the Cafe and Bar. The present employees are Jennie Johnson, Viola Dorseth, Minnie Thompson, Lillian Seykora, Jean West and part-time employees Myrna and Darlene Boreen.

Flom Adult Center

The adult center was organized in March of 1972 at the Flom Hall. It was decided at that time to meet once a month except in the winter months and to name it adult center.
They are a very active group and spend their time at quilting, crocheting, macrame, knitting, and also making lovely decorations and useful items for their fall bazaar.
At their bazaar they serve coffee and cookies and bars. At their annual meeting they dispense some of their money to worthy causes.
The center has bought the flag for the Hall, given to the Fergus Falls youth center, the Community Club, and to the Santa Claus Day in Flom.
In 1974, they visited the Lake Park Nursing Home, bringing lunch and favors to all. Every year, they have the privilege of using the Tri-Valley Bus and going on sight-seeing trips to Winnipeg, Canada; South Dakota; Itasca Park; and Bemidji. They also have regular trips to Detroit Lakes and Fargo, and attend many hobby shows.
At their first meeting in 1977, they made plans to have a float in the Centennial parade and also a booth where they can sell souvenirs and their own crafts. There is a membership of 13 women and they welcome anyone to join. Mrs. Ernest Larson, Mrs. Harold Skansgaard, Mrs. Lillian Seykora and Mrs. Oliver Gunderson have served as officers.

Flom Twin Valley VFW Post 3818 Auxiliary

Post 3818 was organized in 1974 at a meeting in the Flom Cafe. They meet once a month for a regular business meeting to discuss and plan projects for the year.
Easter baskets have been packed with goodies for wives or mothers or Foreign War Soldiers. They sell poppies for Memorial Day. They also make lap robes, scuffs, tote bags, and bibs for Veteran Hospitals. There is a birthday bank brought to each meeting to collect pennies from those who have their birthday at that time.
At the April meeting of 1976 it was decided the Flom unit of the auxiliary take over the major duties and business that the Twin Valley post had been doing in the past. Our unit is still new, and we are inexperienced, but the Twin Valley ladies have been very helpful getting us started on the right track. We are glad to have them attend the meetings with us. We now have a membership of 68 ladies.

Flower Shop

For the past two years, during May and June, the front of the old Dorseth store blooms bright with fresh flowers and plants for gardens, yards, and cemeteries from the Francis Greenhouse. This is the last business to operate in the old store.

Flom Fire 1973

On Palm Sunday, April 17, 1973, a fire of undetermined origin destroyed three major business places. The M & M Cafe, where the fire began, spread to two adjoining places� the Post Office and the Long Branch. They were all entirely destroyed, together with much of their contents.
Fire departments responded to our call quickly and efficiently, but with a shortage of water the fire was uncontrollable. Fire departments from Twin Valley, Mahnomen, Ulen, Gary, and Waubun answered our call, and to these we owe much gratitude and thanks. Water was hauled from a lake south of town to help fight the fire. Temporary pipes that were laid from the creamery to the fire helped some, but were too late to save the buildings.
Now half the business district was destroyed. This could have easily been the end of Flom. Instead a town meeting was called by the community club and about 100 people attended. Many of these were from farms of a 10-15 mile radius from town. They decided to build again.
A mall seemed the best possible source. This would provide space for five businesses in place of separate buildings, which would have been a greater expense.
People donated money and labor to put this building together. The V.F.W. Post took the responsibility of getting a fund drive going. Within three weeks, $7,543.43 had been collected in 113 separate contributions. Quartermaster Charles Spielman of the V.F.W. Club serves as the landlord of the building.
Other routine fund raising projects were also used, including a white elephant sale, raffle, and dances. Donations were still trickling in. The donations covered most of the expense because virtually everyone in the area�women and men�helped to paint, varnish, and clean. The V.F.W. also took out a small loan for equipment and fixtures.
Besides being a landmark of togetherness, the new V. F. W. building has another milestone that represents a flush of pride for townspeople. It was the first to be hooked up to a brand new city water system. Land was donated by Harold Skansgaard. so with part of the Hanson estate. there was enough land provided for the mall. With the help of the main contractors of this area, mainly Aaron and Arvid Swenson, Ole Lunde, Leonard Bakke, Johnnie Sakrismo, we got our building going.
We always had plenty of volunteer help. Jerome Thompson and Clarence Seykora were elected to get pledges for the project started. People believe that had there been more water at the time of the fire, buildings could have been saved. After the fire, Flom Township put in water lines, using the well from the creamery. Fire hydrants were installed on the main corners in town.

More Information About
Flom and Surrounding Area

"1910 Census of Flom Township"
"1920 Census of Flom Township"
"Early Settlers in Flom Township"
 "Early Settlers in Fossum Township"
"Early Settlers in Home Lake Township"
 "Early Settlers in Wild Rice Township"
"Early Settlers in Twin Valley"
"Postmasters in Flom Township"
"Flom Red Cross in WWI"

"Heiberg Park"
  "Flom Deaths Before 1900"
"Aspelund Confirmation Classes"
"Obituary Books Indexes"

"Aspelund Lutheran Church Cemetery"
"Wild Rice Church History"

"Wild Rice Lutheran Church Cemetery"
"Grasshoppers in the 1870's"
"Polk County Veteran's WWI Index"

All material on these pages have been researched and compiled by Margit (Nysetvold) Bakke from local resources from the Flom Community and its residents. All Rights Reserved. Republication or redistribution of content or any derivative work for "private use only" is permitted, as long as users acknowledge and attribute any use of material found on this website to Margit Bakke and the Flom Community. No part of this website may be reproduced or reused for commercial use without written consent from Margit Bakke. Excerpts from the Flom Centennial Book 1977 and the Aspelund Church Centennial Book 1985.
This is a work in progress, and more will be added all the time.

Margit (Nysetvold) Bakke