Small Town Friday: St. Stephen and Their Slovenian History
WJON is featuring small towns in Central Minnesota once a month on a Friday. The first edition of "Small Town Friday" focuses on the town of St. Stephen. St. Stephen is the oldest Slovenian population in the United States. The town was founded with the Church of St. Stephen in 1903 and incorporated in 1914. The town has a population of 851 and is located in northeast Stearns County.
I talked with Frank Vouk, the St. Stephen Sportsman Club President and Leo Supan who is the Commander of the St. Stephen Legion.
Vouk was born and raised in St. Stephen and has lived there his whole life. He is 100 percent Slovenian and a 5th generation resident of St. Stephen. He says like many small towns they have a church, a baseball field and a few bars. Vouk says they are proud of their community and support their local businesses which include Sentry Bank, Cornerstone Insurance, Trobec's Bar and Grill, Howie's Corner Bar, and the Rusty Nail.
Vouk says the Sportsman club does many things for the community which includes planting trees in all 3 city parks. He says they plant 10 to 12 trees every year and cleanup a 2-mile stretch of roadway near the community. Vouk says every year they do a bird house building event at City Hall for kids and adults. He says the Sportsman Club supplies the materials. Vouk says the Sportsman club also runs firearms safety training in January and have a field day in April. Vouk encourages new residents to St. Stephen to get involved in community organizations like his.
Leo Supan says the St. Stephen Legion was founded in 1954. He says the Legion supports the community, veterans and youth in the area. Supan was born and raised in St. Stephen, moved away for a number of years and has been back living in St. Stephen for the past 10 years. He is half Slovenian. Supan says he likes St. Stephen for lots of reasons which includes everyone knows everyone and the sense of community. He says the Legion meets the first Tuesday of each month at the Rusty Nail at 7:30 p.m. He says they are always looking for new members especially younger people.
Some of the top community activities include the Church of St. Stephen Bizarre on Labor Day weekend, Trobec's Annual Chicken Fry, and St. Stephen Steves Amateur baseball games.
If you'd like to listen to my conversations with Leo Supan and Frank Vouk they are available below.