Common Ground Wadena Museum and Mississippi Canoe Journey


Lakeland PBS presents Common Ground.
Brought to you by the Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
and the citizens of Minnesota. Production funding
of Common Ground is made possible in part by
First National Bank Bemidji continuing their second
century of service to the community. A partnership for
generations, member FDIC. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ Scott: Welcome to Common
Ground. I’m your host, Scott Knudson.
In this episode Rich Taggert of Wadena grants a
tour of his eclectic history museum.
Then author Jim Crigler a Vietnam veteran
helicopter pilot begins a canoe journey of the
Mississippi to raise awareness of Gold Star
families. ♪ ♪ Rich: Today we’re going to give
a tour on some of my items and my antique building. We just
like collecting old stuff. And we started small and just
kept buying and buying and all of a sudden we had a
lot of stuff. I think the first
thing I start with is this neat old
camera that was used from the old west days. It’s
one that you hold up that flash and it goes “woof.”
And you see a lot of them in the old western
movies still. And we have the
old full size Elvis which we got in
Chicago. Carol and I go to Chicago every November to a huge antique
show. And we bought Elvis there and we bought a few
other items there. We bought that silent movie
projector from 1906 in Chicago. Lots of
posters from different Elvis movies. And
then we got a popcorn machine that we got just 20 some miles
west of us in Perham. It didn’t work when I received
it but I had a gentleman repair it. And
we’ve made a couple batches of popcorn with it so. And then
this projector here came … we got it in Brainerd
and it came from Minneapolis. Back in the ’40s,
’50s and ’60s was huge for these wall boxes.
You’d go into a restaurant. Sit in your booth and there was a wall box and
you could put your nickel or
dime in there and play your favorite songs on
the jukebox that was over in the corner. You’re not
going to see very many mixers around with 3 beaters.
Course, everything is standard with 2
beaters. And this thing here is
a flour sifter. Which you sift your
flour and up here you have your… this our first stove we bought. And this is
made in 1929. And then we have a bread making
machine here from 1904 and it …just purchased this a week
ago. And all the parts are inside for making bread.
But probably you know the coolest thing on
this wall is that vacuum
cleaner. It’s from 1911. And you take the top handle and you pull up on that
to suck the dirt up into there. And it has a
filter system in there. But I think we all realize it would
have been a lot quicker to use a broom and a dustpan. But this
was the start of the vacuum cleaner business.
And this is a neat round old stove from 1899. It’s bigger than most wood
stoves. You see most of them are 12 or 14
inches and this is a 20 inch. So this was made for a bigger
building. So [clank] and this is definitely all usable. And
there’s no cracks or holes or anything in there. You
can just use it by just putting the stove pipe
on there. And of course we have some nice old
pictures. A few of them like Little Richard and Bobby
Lee and Carol and I went and saw
them. And we were lucky enough to get them
autographed. Really easy to visit with and that. And we got
a couple of old sinks. There’s
a lot of claw foot bathtubs around.
But very few of them are in a 4 foot. Most
of them are 5 and a half or 6. This is a 4 foot. And then we
have this toilet that’s on the wall. Which easy
flushes because they got them high up. That came from Great
Falls, Montana. Seen it advertised and I bought
it over the phone and I have a friend that
has a store out in Great Falls so the man delivered it
there and then later I picked up the product when I
met the gentleman from the store.
This is a couple neat TVs by Filco. They came out
with these in the ’50s thinking this was
gonna be the big thing. And it actually ended up bankrupting Filco. They went
bankrupt over these TVs. They went over so
poorly and the quality of the TV wasn’t that good. And
I have a little article that I
picked up. I put on here from the off the
internet showing what happened. That
they filed bankruptcy, what have ya..
Anyway and then this is a neat little phonograph here which
got the cylinder. And it’s pretty darn
nice shape for a 100 years old. And we played it a few
times but mainly just here for looks
so. And my wife, Carol, when she
was in high school she kept all her high school buttons and
little odds and ends… a little jewelry and all that
stuff so we have it all on display. When I was a senior in
high school we went on a bus trip to Minneapolis to the
University of Minnesota. A school trip. And everybody
that got off the school bus they
handed us a 4 pack of cigarettes. We were
seniors in high school. Today they’d have a heart attack if
they passed out cigarettes to anybody. This is a cream
separator that is one of my
favorite items in the whole building.
It’s a cream separator with a
square tub. I grew up on a farm and
I’ve seen a lot of cream separators but I’ve never seen
one with a square tub. They always are round. And this
thing is made before electricity on the farms. They
have a treadmill. You can either run it with a dog or goat or a
sheep. All he does is stand there and
run and it turns the separator and
it separates the cream from the milk. And then I actually have
on the other treadmill right behind it. It runs a washing
machine from 1888. It’s not in quite as nice
a shape but this is a butter churn that
actually makes 17 gallons of butter. This
actually was made to run on a treadmill also. You can
either stand here and rock it to make your butter
or you could have a treadmill like this for
$16. You could buy the treadmill. This was made in
1877. And then right behind that is
an apple press. And that’s from 1860’s. And this is made for making
wine or apple juice or you just put your apples in
there. Turn the crank. Smash the apples that go down in that
little tub. You slide it over here and you turn the
crank to smash all the juice out and it has a
little hole on this tray and your juice would run in there.
And this is kind of a neat Singer from 1896. Back here is just some washing machines.
The cool one is this one right here. This
has a electric motor on it. And this was made in 1918
and there was not a lot of electricity in
1918 so I would assume it was a fairly well to do
family that owned this washing machine. I got a
nice organ we bought in Wisconsin about 5,6 years ago.
And it was actually made in 1879. And I’m not an organ player but we’ve had a
few people here that’ve played it and it plays very
well. I can I can show you the noise it
makes. [notes playing] And that’s…I don’t play. [music] But for 140 year old machine I think
it’s pretty awesome. You see a few radios around like this.
It’s before AM actually. It’s a very old
radio. Has no volume control. If it’s too
loud you just turn it off the
station a little bit and you see a few of these
radios around. But you see very
few stands. The stand is your
speaker. This is a trunk that we bought quite
a few years ago. And it’s a humpback and
it’s filled with old ladies clothes.
And of course we got the
mothballs. Just like they had in the old days.
And we just found out one thing about trunks that
have the dome on. They was normally owned by the rich
people. They came out with the idea if they have
a domed top their trunk always got put
on top of the pile. And all of the trunks
with the flat tops was on the bottom. So these
people decided ah we’ll make a dome, our trunk
will be on the top. It won’t
get damaged so. And then of course
we have our ’50s soda fountain area which I’m
quite proud of this. We keep thinking we’re done
with it. We got everything we
can have and I’ll be darned I find
something else I gotta squeak in or put in, but it’s getting
to the point it’s full. Monarch ice cream was
huge in Wadena for years. And that went
out of business probably back in the ’50s or ’60s. But
we ended up with a few posters. And I want
to make sure we keep that around. For people to
remember Monarch. This is a back of a 1956 Chevy. Just took the trunk off and
built a seat in there. Got the lights hooked up. And
it kinda fits in with the soda
fountain. This jukebox was purchased in 1998. It was the very first
item that we purchased in this building. And we played
somewhere between 4 and 5 thousand records on this
jukebox. I’ll come out here at night and I’ll
just come over and punch buttons I don’t even care what song
comes up. And it plays awesome. It’s a 1954 model. And
it’s got awesome sound for 63 years
old. ♪ [….kitchen and pile those
pots and pans] ♪ ♪ That bicycle up there is probably one of the coolest
items too, in the building. It
was made in 1898. It has wooden rims. Wooden chair guard and a wooden
chain back fender. And then we have our pop
machines. That we have a Pepsi that we just purchased about a
month ago. It’s a very rare one, you don’t
see…that’s the only one I’ve
ever seen like that. And then we
have three other Coke machines. This is somewhat
common. And this is a smaller model. And you don’t
see a lot of that one. So that’s probably got more value
than all the rest put together. And then we have all our signs.
We got S&H Green Stamps. And this is another
neat item. Before they had to quart cans of oil, they
would use they had…this is what they
had in the service stations.
They would use a deal like this. They come over
here…put that on there. Fill up your quart, then put
the cap on. And as soon as you
put …take your quart away it
would come back and all your drips would drip back
into your container. And then you just put this in your car.
And you don’t have the quart can to throw away. And then we
go into my gas pumps. And this particular pump came
from a small town by Bluegrass just
north east of Wadena. And it came from the
Central Store. And this had a 34 volt motor in there that
ran off a windmill charger. And
then we have this ragline that came from the
’50s carnival. You have your jack knives or
silver dollars or all that
laying out there. And you put your
quarter in there and then you turn the crank. I haven’t
got them set up to work right
now. But they do work. This is an ice
cream cart that we bought from Vancouver in Canada about
2 1/2 years ago So you have dry ice in here and
you have all your treats in
here. And then the front it has a
door to put all your little papers and what have you for
that. And you’re going down the road [loud ringing
bells] and let them know you’re
coming. The next thing we’re gonna look
at is our jail. And these are original jail
bars from Wadena. And inside the
jail we have a 1800’s jail that we went
down to Ohio. It’s 2 cells. They
have a fold out bunk. And in the doors it has a
little slot for putting their food threw
when you feed them. This is a craps table that was
made when it was illegal to shoot crap. So on this table it
has cranks on it so if the Fed’s
was coming you could…..take this apart and hide it within 2 or 3
minutes. Pretty cool. And then that’s an old bathtub
from the old cowboys. And
you’re gonna realize back in them days
everybody was a little smaller than they are today to fit in
that. The oldest thing in our building is that fork right
back there. And I have no idea how old it is but it’s
got wooden tines on it. It’s wrapped with leather
and it’s a 6 tined fork. And it’s gotta be 150-200 years old. Well if anybody is
interested in coming and
looking or looking at our collection,
just email us and we’ll see if the
time works for you and I. And like I say, there’s no
charge. And we enjoy showing it if we have the time to do
it. I love coming out here in the evenings or
putzing around. Just sometimes I just come here
turn the jukebox on and sit in a chair
and listen. You know, look around. It’s….. I enjoy that. ♪ Scott: Late April of 2017,
Vietnam veteran helicopter pilot and author,
Jim Crigler invited me to film him at
Itasca State Park as he began a canoe journey of
the Mississippi River. His endeavor was to raise awareness of “Gold Star
Families” American “Gold Star Families”
are immediate relatives of members
of the US Armed Forces who have been killed in combat.
Or in support of certain military activities. The air at Itasca was just
above freezing. But Jim’s mood was warm. Jim:
Alright. Let’s bring her down. [cranking sounds] It’s named after….it’s named
after my daughter Libby. Beautiful girl. Sometimes cantankerous.
[bumping sounds] Yeah we’re gonna fit everything
in there quite nicely. Alright we’re going! Follow me. [bumping sounds] [pants ruffling with footsteps] [bumping sounds] Voice in
background: You want a little
help? Jim: Oh, Bob! Hi, oh my
goodness! Bob: A little easy? Jim: That’s ok, how’s it going?
Bob: How’s my big brother? Jim:
Good to see ya man. Bob: I can help if you need
help there. Jim: Ah, you know
what if you grab a couple of paddles and follow me down!
Appreciate it. Well, that’s a member of the
Vietnam helicopter pilots association. He came up
to wish me off. His name is Bob Goudar.
He’s…I think he’s down in
Park Rapids. It’s a beautiful
morning out here. I think it’s a crisp 38
degrees. Spring time in Minnesota, you
couldn’t ask for a better time to be out in
the woods. Alright… half way! It’s all downhill from here. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ Jim: Jim Crigler, sir. Kelly:
Kelly Bogue. Jim: Kelly, nice
to meet you. Jim: Oh, I’m honored. Oh was I
on the news? Man: Yeah you were on
the channel 9 news last night.
Jim: Oh I hope I sounded good. Man: Oh, yeah! Sounded
real good. Jim: Good, well. Man: About 2 minutes. Jim: Oh,
I didn’t expect you guys out
here but I can’t tell you how appreciative I am
of this. And one of the things I’ve
discovered is you know there’s no database of
Vietnam gold star families. And so I’m dependent of the VFW’s as I go
down and maybe the American
Legions you’ve put the flags up here.
We got this beautiful morning here. You know, I’m
just honored to…that you guys
would all show up. I didn’t
expect this. I expected Bruce. And I was
gonna apologize to you now I gotta apologize to
everybody. Oh, I got a poppy
for my hat too. That’s awesome. Thank you so
much. I’ll put this poppy in there. I
actually met with a priest day before yesterday.
And I was in downtown Chicago and his
name was Father John. And he gave me a blessing that was beyond
blessings. I mean, I’ve got angels above
me and on the side of me and
arch angel behind protecting me
according to Father John. So, but….if I could just say
a few words if you guys don’t mind.
[inaudible voice in back] Lord, we appreciate this beautiful
day and as we begin this journey we hope that
we can touch the lives of many,
many gold star families especially
Vietnam gold star families. And I appreciate any support that you can give me
along the way. And this is a
good example of that support, these veterans
have come out here to support me, in Jesus name, thank you.
So, the beautiful 38 degree water here it’s the beginning
of the MIssissippi. It’s just a
gorgeous, gorgeous piece of
water. This is the beginning of the
trip. And I’ll put my paddle
in. Start paddling right there. And
first day is gonna be a difficult one. But I don’t
really care what the sacrifice is because it’s
nothing compared to what what our soldiers and our gold
star especially Vietnam gold star families have
been through. So, I’m willing to make the
sacrifice and for those of you that are
watching this video in the future please find it in your
hearts to reach out and contact a gold star family
and thank them for that sacrifice. Because every paddle
stroke that I make on this river for the next 2250
miles is gonna be to honor those
folks. And I would very much appreciate your
support. So let’s get this show on the
road. [I’ll be in this picture too.] I’m Jim Crigler. I’m a
ex-Vietnam helicopter pilot. And in 1972 I was in combat in Vietnam. And I had a wonderful roommate
named first lieutenant Tom
Shaw. And Tom and I became very close. He became my mentor like
an older brother. And the 2 of us had a pact
between us that if one of us
was killed in combat that the other one
would escort their body back to the United States. And
I was both honored and burdened
with that duty. But it was a first time that I met a gold
star family was in May of 1972 when I met Tom’s
wife and his mom and his dad and his
brothers and his sisters.
Although it was the toughest mission for me during
the war it wasn’t even 10 times as tough as it was for that
family. And all the rest of the Vietnam gold star families that
lost sons in that war. And during the last 5
years I’ve had the opportunity to
talk to a lot of gold star
families. And the story is always the
same, Scott. It’s always, we received a
devastating telegram or a knock on the door. And
about a week or so later we got a coffin
with our son in it. And a neatly folded American flag.
We buried our son. And then we never talked
about it again. I’ve heard that so many times,
I can’t tell you. So I decided to do something
about it. I decided to go find all the gold star families
in my community. That I could. I didn’t find
them all but I found some of
them. In the surrounding area. And I
gave about 20 honor coins out to those
families. And with each one I put that coin in
their hand and told them I thank them and honored
their sacrifice. And that I hoped they’d keep
that coin and remember that there are
thousands of Americans that
appreciate and honor their sacrifice. None
of them could speak to me. They were
all overcome with emotion. It took us both a minute, I’m
getting emotional just talking about
it, it took us a minute to recoup our emotions. And then they were able to talk
to me. But the reason they got
so emotional is that in 45 years no American citizen has thanked them for that
sacrifice. 45 years! So, I’m on a mission
today and I’m doing something totally
audacious. Most 67 year old guys would
never consider paddling for 2250 miles to make
a statement. But I’m making a
statement. And I want to wake up some
people in America and I want to cause a movement
to happen. I would like those of you that are
watching this video to go to
your VFW or go to your American
Legion and ask them who are the gold star families
in our community? Especially the Vietnam gold star families.
Who are they? How can I get in touch with
them? And go out and get a 49 cent stamp and an envelope
and a little piece of paper and write them a
thank you note for that sacrifice. Tell them
how much you appreciate the freedoms that you have
today because their son or
daughter died for those freedoms. And make a
difference in these people. They deserve some
honor. I’m a little nervous right now
because it’s like a race. You know how you get
nervous right before a road race? So, it’s kinda like you
want to get yourself going. But I don’t want to go too fast
because it’s more important to have
everything that I want on
board. You know, cause you get a ….I
can’t stop at a store. So hopefully I’ll be an expert
in this canoe in about 30 miles. And hopefully I don’t
tip it in front of you. So…. [laughs] We’ll see. This is a
book that I just finished. It’s about my time in Vietnam.
I am donating some of the proceeds,
I gotta pay for the book. But
besides that I’m donating the proceeds to my
charity 501 C3 American Huey 369. The book is called “Mission of
Honor”. And you know mistakes in life, they
make the best stories. And this about mistakes that I made as a young man. And
meeting my room mate, Tom Shaw, that I mentioned earlier. And a sort of a moral compass that
Tom gave me in life. That I’ve used to
navigate through those forks in the road
that we go through. And it’s
also about my time in Vietnam and it has a
message for America. So…if you’re interested
missionofhonor.org is the website you can buy it
there. You can also buy it on Amazon. And again,
proceeds go to a very, very good cause. So,
appreciate your support there. [drums rolling] These are my snacks…yup. [drums rolling] [drums rolling] [drums rolling] This…is a
good one. [drums rolling] Hey, Bruce? I don’t have enough to
give one to everybody. I’m sorry but I’m gonna give
one to you for the ride. And
I’m giving one to you for coming down here. Maybe you
could pass it around to these
guys. I’m not the hero in this book. Somebody else is. I made a lot
of mistakes in my life. You know, when you’re 20
they’re usually not little mistakes, they’re big
mistakes. And I was 20 and they turned into for me anyway, a
moral kind of a moral dilemma. And I
had…my room mate who was killed in action over
there was a wonderful guy and he shared with me his
moral compass on life. And I don’t mind telling
you what it was. What he said was, “We’re all coming to forks
in the road of life and which fork we choose
determines what our life’s gonna be. And
the easy fork is not always the one we gotta
take. So you gotta have courage to take that fork. You gotta do
the right thing you gotta focus on what’s right, not
what’s wrong. You gotta tell the truth. You gotta be
truthful to yourself and to
other people. You gotta trust in God.” And
that’s his compass. He gave that to me. And I’ve
used it in my life and I used it to solve my own
moral dilemma. But he’s the
hero in that book, not me. But thank
you for coming sir. Thank you, thank you so much. I
appreciate all you guys coming. Thanks Kelly.
Here… [We’re brothers.] That’s true. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ Let me test the water, make
sure it works. ♪ ♪ Works great. ♪ Nice. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ Well, I’m gonna make a
difference in some lives of
some gold star families buddy. Alright, that’s
pretty much it. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ Scott: Thank you so much for watching. Join us
next week on Common Ground. If you have an
idea for Common Ground in north
central Minnesota email us. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ Production funding of Common
Ground was made possible in part by First
National Bank Bemidji. Continuing their 2nd century of
service to the community a partnership for generations,
member FDIC. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪

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