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home : news : news May 24, 2016

9/26/2013 4:24:00 PM
Hundreds take home piece of history at Strand auction
At top, Carol and Cameron at the auction and below scenes from the auction on Saturday, Sept. 21.

At top, Carol and Cameron at the auction and below scenes from the auction on Saturday, Sept. 21.


Some auction shoppers traveled hundreds of miles Sept. 21 for a special sale in Chisago Lake Township, at the farmstead where Ernest and Evelyn Strand lived, worked, raised a family and welcomed friends for 50 years.

Staff from Hines Auction Service, of Ellsworth, Wis., assigned more than 300 numbers for bidders last week, and purchases went to homes at least as far away as Iowa, said Carol (Strand) Johnson, Ernest and Evelyn’s only daughter. She and her brother Cameron Strand, coordinated their families for weeks to prepare for hosting this event. They started to sort through several farm buildings that were full of items Ernest had collected over the decades before his death in 2000 (the family lost Evelyn in 1996). Johnson said that she and her husband, Dave, Cameron and his wife, Marge, and other volunteers scheduled four full work days together. “We had to be diligent about getting it done. We were on a timeline,” Carol said.

There were smaller tasks to be tackled every day leading up to the auction Sept. 21. “In August and September there was somebody up there every day,” Carol added. Tractors, cultivators, hand tools and other goods up for auction were symbolic of the work which Ernest completed and supervised to feed his own family and many others. He raised and tended dairy cattle from the start, in 1946. Other animals mostly for his own family’s use included two dozen hogs, Cameron and Carol estimated. “You had to have a pork chop once in a while,” Carol joked.

Swine took over as the farm’s prevailing livestock in 1972. The Hines auctioneers, with two of them always circling the grounds to ensure the sale would be done before dusk, tried to get the highest prices out of bidders for a walking plow, wood splitter, feed grinder, copper boilers, wash tubs, lamps and lanterns, milk compressor, milk cans and milk buckets, among the tons of merchandise. There was so much for sale to fill nearly eight hours of bidding, and some had come from Ernest’s own pastime of shopping auctions. Carol noted her father grew up in the Great Depression, and perhaps that led to him finding good deals. “Everything had value (for him), no matter what it was,” Carol said. “Even if it was just a bucket of nails. For a quarter, what a find (at auction), and he brought it home.” Ernest had built his family’s home with recycled materials, Cameron said, including maple wood flooring that had come from across Chisago Lake in the Dahl House dance pavilion, which was popular in the 1930s.

Ernest moved whole buildings to his land, as well, including a former Chisago Lake Town Hall and a “fox house” that came from a fox farm which operated in the vicinity of the Chisago Lakes Primary School, Cameron and Carol said. The auction crowd saw those structures as they bid on anvils, axes, snow shoes, harnesses, saddles, wagons, well pumps, wood stoves, assorted stoneware, phonographs, a barber chair, floor jacks, egg crates, butter churns and cream separators. There were radiators, carburetors, coils, steering wheels and tires, a stash of parts that included a “whole pallet of headlights,” Carol noted. Cameron included from another size Model A and Model T cars; along with two fire ladder trucks from 1947 and 1950, to be auctioned along with a 1927 Chevrolet sedan, a 1945 Ford fuel truck and several other vehicles that his father had owned.

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