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Janet Schwarze


Mail service was extended to the rural area in 1909, when Fay E. McCray became the first rural mail carrier. He served until he retired in 1932. Fred Earl was appointed in 1916 as regular carrier of the second rural route.

The growth of the Owen school system is a most interesting one in that it involves many changes fron the beginning to the present day. The first school in Owen, a one room school built in 1894 and located where the Gospel Tabernacle now stands. Mrs. T. H. Barber was the first teacher. In 1899 and 1902 two new rooms were added to the building. These school buildings were moved when the present grade school was erected in 1907. The first building was moved east of the Gummerson Implement Co., and became the old “firehouse”. The second building was moved east of the Soo Line tracks on Highway 29, and is still used as a dwelling place.

The grade school still presents the sane exterior as it did in 1907. The upper grades and three years of high school occupied the upper floor. The first high school pupils to enter Owen High as freshmen in 1907 were: Mena Martinson, Mary Anderson, Leland Griffin, Gertrude Thomas, and Jennie Botterude. The first high school teacher was Mr. Leslie Bennett who taught ail first year subjects which were:
Ancient History, Algebra, English, and Commercial Law.

In 1909 Owen became a four year high school under the guidance of Mr. Nygaard. To Mr. Nygaard and his assistant, Miss Barker, belongs the credit of bringing Owen High School up to standard to be listed as an accredited school in 1912.

In 1921 a new high school building was erected next to the grade school, and in 1953 the large gymnasium was built next to the high school.
Since the consolidation of the surrounding school districts into the Owen-Withee School System in 1955, great changes have been made in the organization with the Jr. High School being located in Withee and the Senior High in Owen. A fleet of 12 or more busses bring in students many miles from outlying areas. This is a far step from the days when pupils walked two or three miles to school carrying their lunch buckets.

At present preparation is being made to build a $950,000.00 Junior-Senior High School between Owen and Withee. This building will be started in the summer of 1962. At the completion of this building all rural schools in the district will be closed and all the grades will be housed in the grade and high school buildings in Owen and Withee. At present there are 47 teachers on the faculty.

There are now six churches in Owen. They are the Congregational, Episcopalian, Roman Catholic, Finnish Lutheran, Alliance Chapel, and Gospel Tabernacle. We will mention briefly something of their history.

The oldest church in the city is the Congregational Church which was first organized in Withee and moved to Owen in 1906. The first minister was the Rev. James Bell. The original church burned in l94l and was rebuilt. The present minister is Rev. Ralph Claybaugh.
St. Katharine ‘s Episcopal Church dates back to 1914. The building was moved here from Eau Claire when a new church was built in that city and was a gift from the Owen family. A community hall was added to the church and was available for use to all the citizens of Owen. The first resident priest was Fr. Claude Reader. The present vicar is Fr. John English.

The Bethany Evangelical church building was erected in 1915 on land donated by the John S. Owen Lumber Co. The present parish includes Owen, Westboro and Brantwood. The first minister was Rev. Henry Sarvela and the present pastor is Rev. Lauri Isaacson.
The Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Owen built its first church in 1920. The church continued as a mission of Abbotsford until 192j.7 when it became an independent parish serving Owen and Withee. The first resident pastor was Fr. Dillenberg. In 1953 a fine new church and school building was erected and 1954 saw the opening of the eight grade parochial school whose teachers are the Sisters of St. Joseph. The present enrollment of the school is 157 pupils. The present pastor is Fr. Henry Crubel.

The Gospel Tabernacle had its beginnings in 1935. It was through the work of Henry Reigel, then chief of police in Owen, that the church was started. Mr. Reigel recognized the need for help among the needy and underprivileged and gave generously of his time and substance. The church began with prayer meetings in the Reigel home and is now located in a building originally owned by the Reigel family. The present minister is Rev. Chas. Eofflander.

The Alliance Chapel started in 1927 under the ministry of Mrs. Gus Oakberg. The first meetings were held in the building where the Laundromat is now located. In 1953 a new church was built and dedicated and next to it a new parsonage completed in 1961. Rev. Stone the present minister also serves a parish in Curtiss.


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