The Story Behind the Settlement of St. Wendel
Every small town has a story and this is the story of St. Wendel. St. Wendel is an unincorporated town located north of St. Joseph, Avon and Holdingford in St. Wendel township in Stearns County. The community is located along Stearns County Road 4 and 130th Avenue.
Longtime St. Wendel residents Rod Harren, Maury Meyer, and Bernie Frie joined me on WJON to talk about the community. Wendel is a German name but the first substantial settlers were Irish Catholic. Maury Meyer says this settlement started in 1858 and they quickly founded and built St. Columbkille Catholic Church. The Church continues to operate today and Meyer says the wood framed church has had many expansions. St. Wendel did have a post office at one time which was located across the street from the church.
Harren, Meyer and Frie were all mass servers at St. Columbkille Catholic Church in St. Wendel. Harren, Meyer and Frie all went to a one room school house near St. Wendel. Harren says they had 5 one room school houses within 1 mile of St. Wendel at one time. Both Harren and Frie graduated from Holdingford High School while Meyer graduated from Cathedral High School.
St. Wendel has had numerous bars, saloons and dance halls over the years. Rod Harren says they had gas pumps at one time in front of Luethmer's Bar/Restaurant and General Store. Meyer says they had a blacksmith's shop and implement dealer as well. Huls Horticultural is a destination spot for many in the area. Paul Huls is the owner. He says Huls Nursery ceased operations in 2018 but he began a new business called Huls Horticultural and it has grown each year since. Maher Auctioneers continues to operate out of St. Wendel. The St. Wendel Sportsman club started in 1962 and continues to help the youth in the area today. Frie says they've done work over the years for many in the community both kids and adults.
The St. Wendel Saints town team continues to play in Stearns County. Meyer says the baseball field is actually on church property. Frie and Meyer explained they continue to have lots of participation in youth baseball using these fields.
If you'd like to listen to my full conversation with Rod Harren, Maury Meyer and Bernie Frie it is available below.