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Pathways Through Our Past

The Blackduck Area History and Art Center is happy to inform you that we now have our very own website, Please do us a favor and send this on to your relatives and friends so they also can see what's happening in the old hometown. Try it yourselves.

We are so in awe of Shirley Gilmore for her many talents -- volunteer, photographer, artist, sign/poster maker, movie producer and computer whiz. (However, she doesn't like to bake cookies!) All of our volunteers possess natural or special talents that make this place interesting and fun. Without them, many of our projects would not get completed. Sometimes we don't say it enough -- thank you volunteers for all the time and effort you give this place!

Last time I wrote, it was about the first football team, which was formed in 1913 when one fellow bought a rule book, a few guys donned cutoff overalls and jersey t-shirts and the team challenged Bemidji to it's first football game. They lost 75 to zip, but Bemidji was unable to score a point in the fourth quarter because our guys had learned how to play by then.

Basketball is the topic this week. In 1928, basketball was just becoming one of the regular sports played in Blackduck. We played against the big guys of Hines, Saum and Tenstrike to name a few. Some of the first string players included Keeney, Beney, Donager, Kolden and Olson. There isn't much information for 1928, except Mr. Brosvick was the coach. (This puzzles me because Mr. Brosvick was the superintendent when I was in grade school and I'm not that old!)

They had a girl's team back in those days and they did quite well. Someone should have said, "I see where there has been a bill introduced to abolish those sleeveless suits the girls wear." Mr. Brosvick answered, "That would be unconstitutional because the constitution gives them the right to bare arms." Oh, brother.

Moving right along to 1930. Blackduck was still going strong with an average of six to 10 games per season. The boy's team was known as the Blackduck "Quaks" back then. In 1932, Blackduck found themselves in the sub-district tournament by beating Littlfork 19-18. They only won five of 16 games that season. The team was quite successful in the 1934-1935 season. They won 12 out of 17 games and took the district title. The year 1936 was a poor season, however, Blackduck did get to the district. They won two out of three games -- winning against Hackensack and LaPorte, but losing to Cass Lake.

Blackduck ended the 1937 season with eight victories and four defeats. They played against Kelliher in the district tournament. The Blackduck team had a successful 1938-1939 season. They defeated Cass Lake and Littlefork. Some of the familiar names on the line were Willy Anderson, Trautmann, Brooks, Langord, Donager and Horton.

A side note says, "It appears as if some no-account news writer did not get in his assignment in 1939 for no account can be found about the completion of the new gym!"

In the 1940-1941 season, Blackduck had a pretty strong team. They even beat Akeley, who had been undefeated, except for Bemidji.

The year 1942 was when all of our boys left for the Army and Navy. We were defeated by both Kelliher and Northome. In January of 1943, Lloyd Cox was called back to Strategic Air Command. (I can remember people talking about watching for Mr. Cox in the movie SAC, because they were filming those planes.) The team continued to have a successful season and it was only "Punk" Giles' first year of basketball!

The year 1944 looked like a good season, but it was spoiled when Nels Schjei went into the Navy.

The year 1945 was a very heavy season with a schedule of 23 games. Mr. Miller was the coach.

In the spring of 1946, Mr. Miller left school and the team to farm and the basketball team hit a slump.

Ah, but then Mr. Cox came back from three years in the Air Force to coach the team that went to the state. That's what I read folks! Did we ever go to a state tournament? Hope some of you readers can clear this up. Give me a call at 835-5512 if you know the answer to this question. Hope you enjoyed this bit of history.

Mark your calendar for Dec. 12 -- Second Saturday Event when Holiday Cookies by the Pound will be available at the Blackduck History and Art Center.