July 30, 2009 at 1:44 p.m.

Lindstrom historic landmark still has a role to play in the Meline family's story as backdrop for proposal


Editor's note: Considering how much thought and effort went into this marriage proposal how could any prospective bride turn it down?

Thousands of vehicles travel past it daily...the auto parts store directly across Hwy. 8 from the building that houses the Chisago County Press offices. If buildings could speak, this brick box, constructed around 1920, could tell about so many things. There'd be tales of two brothers working together as the Meline Bros. auto livery and trucking business. The building could brag about housing the first two-ton truck ever to ply the Chisago County roadways.

Carl and Axel Meline spent 20-plus years earning their livelihoods in this building, before selling it in 1945. Carl, according to his biography in the Lindstrom-on-the-Lake centennial anthology, then started a business focusing on lawnmowers and boat motors and Axel retired.

Fast forward more than 60 years and the next good story the building might tell would be of being sought out as the backdrop for a proposal of marriage, to the great-granddaughter of Carl Meline.

The way the father of the bride tells it the entire family was in on this special day earlier this month.

The surprised and newly-engaged Julie Dahlof grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota and she never knew her great grandparents Carl and Elvie personally, but she was well versed in Lindstrom history. Julie's family came to Lindstrom frequently for events and family gatherings. As Miss Svenskarnas Dag 2004, Julie represented all Minnesota Swedes riding in Lindstrom's Karl Oskar Parade, chauffered in her mother's convertible car.

Her boyfriend Jason Kramme chose the Meline Bros. Garage as the place where he would propose to Julie because he knew it would be meaningful. But, Kramme must have felt pretty self-assured because he took it a little further, and set it up so family and friends could be on hand when he asked the big question.

Tucking a family heirloom in his pocket -- Julie's grandmother's diamond ring-- Jason drove with Julie to Lindstrom on July 15 under the guise of a little junket. They went to the Dinnerbel, where great grandmother Elvie once worked and a great aunt, Donna Haines, also had been employed.

They strolled to the All County Veterans Memorial, about a block away from the restaurant, and paid their respects to the many Meline family veterans, beginning with Lars Swenson, Julie's great-great-great grandfather who was in the Civil War. They strolled to Memorial Park, where Julie was met by some family members. The group grew and walked along with Jason and Julie, ending up outside of the NABPCO Auto Parts (Meline Bros. Garage) building.

Their 'sentimental journey,' as Julie's Dad called it, culminated with Jason popping the question and Julie accepting the engagement ring that her grandfather, Don Johnson had given her grandma Elvis (Meline) 67 years before.

The whole bunch walked back over to Dinnerbel for an engagement celebration dinner. John Dahlof, Julie's dad, commented that it is nice some Lindstrom landmarks remain and that people here "embrace the Swedish immigrant experience."

Jason and Julie are planning their wedding for mid-summer 2010. They should both graduate from Bethel Seminary, St. Paul, sometime before that.


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