Plate 30
(This plate is still under construction.)


The livery stable and house in Ashby

Top: Bennie Johnson with horses Maud and Mirth from the livery stable in Ashby, which he bought, in partnership with Odin Boe, in 1909. (He became sole owner a year later.) These two dark horses became "almost white," with age. Christ Skaar bought them to pull the family surrey and Ashby's hearse.

Bottom: Bennie, Amelia and Roy Boe sitting on the steps of the new house in town, circa 1911. When Bennie and Amelia decided to get married, there was no suitable house to rent in Ashby, so he built this one (the second one up on what is now Cedar Street, north of Norge Street) in 1911 for $1,700. The house was sold to school superintendent J. John Halvorson in 1922 for $4,000. (They used the $4,000 to build the house on the farm, also in 1922.)


Excerpt from Donald B. Johnson manuscript:

"The livery barn was on the northeast corner of the block between the Ashby Laundry and the Legion Hall. They rented out buggies and horses and also stabled horses for farmers who came to town to spend the day. It was a fascinating place to me as soon as I was old enough to be down there." [3.22-1]

"The barn was 28 feet by 50 feet, with an upstairs haymow. The hay was pitched up there by hand, from wagons with racks, through doors that opened out. One man pitched and another one had to take it back and 'mow' it away. There were open chutes down to each horse stall, to put it through when they fed the horses. [3.5-5]

"The front end had a big, sliding door that opened right on the sidewalk or cement ramp. The first corner inside, to the right, was partitioned off for an office with a desk and chairs where customers could wait for the team and buggy to be hitched. By the time I can remember it, the office wasn't used anymore. The dust was an inch thick on everything and it smelled of old-fashioned Lysol." [3.5-6]

"The left front corner had the well and hand pump where the horses could be watered in big wooden pails that candy was shipped to the stores in bulk in. [3.6-1]

"The buggies could be backed into the alley between the pump and office by hand and the horses hitched there -- so the customers could get in and bundled up in blankets in cold weather before they drove out of the barn, and the same when they came back. There were single and double horse stalls on both sides, all the rest of the way back, except for a couple of cow stalls." [3.6-2]

"There was an open-fronted shed at the back end of the lot and barnyard, in between it and the big barn, for the idle horses and cows to exercise in. In a small shed called the 'little barn,' Pa kept two to four cows or heifers, to milk and sell milk. [3.24-6]

"People, both men and women, would rent buggies for any place they wanted to go, like visiting someone out in the country, or to go berry picking, etc. Traveling men (or salesmen) would come into town on the train and call on the stores. They hired the livery man to take them to another town to call on stores there the same day and then they'd take the train again." [3.6-3]