Thursday, July 27, 2017

Van Marel Reunion, June 16-25, 2017, in state of Minnesota

We were welcomed by the state of Minnesota!!!

Another fantastic Van Marel Reunion was enjoyed with a private bus tour around the state of Minnesota from June 16 to June 25, 2017, the land of 10,000 lakes. Joining us in the fun were 28 family members from 7 states, plus the Netherlands. A BIG thanks goes to Craig and Cheryl Colton who volunteered to show us the highlights of their home state and coordinate this well-planned trip! We all were surprised and pleased with the hidden treasures that we saw around this beautiful state. The best part of the tour was spending time with family. As a bonus, we would like to share some of the other highlights with you.
Elaine and Paul De Jong were our tour guide and driver. They took on the same responsibility during our tour/reunion from Iowa to California and back in 2009.

In 2015, Craig and Cheryl volunteered to put a family reunion/trip together for 2017.  They organized the trip, checked out all of the locations, hosted us at their home, and did lots of behind the scenes things to make this a super trip for our family!!  Hats off to both of you and a big Colton THANK YOU!

Comfrey MN, Jeffer’s Petroglyph’s –An estimated 5,000 American Indian rock carvings that tell stories, spanning more than 7,000 years.  This is a holy site for the various tribes

Harkin’s General Store—Built in 1871; located on the Minnesota River; and still has 40% of its original stock
Hermann the German Monument—it recognizes the great achievements of Germanic-Americans.  It was dedicated in 1897

Glockenspiel—A free-standing clock tower with bells that play 3 times a day as animated polka players come out to dance.  It was dedicated in 1980.
Statute recognizing German Bohemian immigrants who settled in New Ulm area in about 1870.

St. Paul MN—Wabasha Street Cavestechnically they are mines because they are manmade, carved out of sandstone and date back to the 1840s. Throughout history the caves have been used for growing mushrooms, storage of food and belongings, music, dancing and supposedly  frequented by gangsters and ghosts.

Bloomington MN—Mall of America— was the largest mall in the U. S. when it opened in 1992.  In addition to retail stores, its offer many entertainment opportunities, including a large area for rides.

Rides of all kinds grouped together.

Stillwater MN—St. Croix  River Cruise

Stillwater Trolley Tour
The oldest standing courthouse in Minnesota and was built in 1867.

Mansion among many other beautiful homes in this clean city.

Craig and Cheryl Colton hosted our group for a wonderful evening meal at their home in Stillwater.

Lake view from the Colton home.

Duluth MN—Drawbridge up to let boats pass under.  Wisconsin can be seen across the river.

Hotel with water towers on top

Lake Superior Maritime Visitor’s center—various displays and 2 lighthouses.

Glensheen Mansion—built 1905-08 by Chester Congdon who opened iron mining in this area.  The home has 39 rooms on a 12-acre estate.  It was donated to the state as is, so all furnishings are originals.

Chester’s office had a day bed/fainting bed for a quick nap.

Lovely view of Lake Superior from their home.

Sculpture of a Civilian Conservative Corps (CCC) worker.  This program was established by President F. D. Roosevelt in 1933 to provide jobs and conserve resources.  It involved 86,000 men in Minnesota between 1933 and 1945.
Gooseberry Falls

Jaylynn, Bill, Melissa and Twila at the base of the Gooseberry Falls

A November gale that wrecked 29 ships in 1905 prompted this rugged landmark's 
construction. It was completed in 1910.  This is the most dangerous piece of water in the world!  With automation advancements they discontinued its use in 1968.  It is the most photographed site in the state of Minnesota. 

 Beaver Bay MN—Sunrise at Cove Point

Hats made from animal skins in early years of this state

Beautiful wildflowers near a lake, of course!

Grand Portage State Park—Falls with a rainbow!

Ely MN—A wolf at the International Wolf Center

Soudan underground mine—family in mine cars heading to the mine.  Don De Weerd is facing the camera.

Hibbing MN—Hull Rust Mahoning Mine overlook.  Mine opened in 1893.  This iron mine is 8 miles long and is the largest mine in the world.  The black areas are iron ore.

Truck tires were about 12 feet high.(Jaylynn Jeffers & Bill Van Marel)

Front-end loader used to move iron ore. (Ann van der Marel & Mary De Jager)

Lake Itasca overflow through the “walking stones,” is the headwaters/beginning point of the Mississippi River, which flows 2,552 miles before it empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

St. Cloud MN—Clemens’ Gardens was founded by Bill Clemens who lived across the street.  His wife who loved flowers was confined to a wheelchair, so he purchased this land and started these gardens for his wife to enjoy. Below is a sculpture of this couple under the gazebo

In 1918, the first Pan automobile rolled off the assembly line.  Samuel Pandolfo traveled around the country trying to find the best automobile.  He finally decided to make cars himself.  He sold stock and solicited funds through newspapers and many other means.  He collected about $9 million.  He built 747 cars and sold them for $1250 each.  He had many fine features on his first 1919 Pan Model A Passenger Touring Car, such as: the front and back seats could fold down to make a bed and there was 14” clearance under the car for snow and deep roots in the road.  His car was the first car to the top of Pikes Peak.  Unfortunately he ended up spending time in prison for a mail fraud lawsuit, which was totally a scam against him. Sadly, Pan Motor Car Company was only in existence from 1917 to 1919!!

The Sterns History Museum had an area where you could dress up in clothes of the 1970’s.  The ladies look pretty “Chick!”  (Melissa Bradley, Bonnie Ter Keurst and Jaylynn Jeffers)

Redwood Falls MN  Ramsey Falls

Walnut Grove MN  Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum--a mud house

Instructions on how to milk a cow on the country school wall.

Pipestone MN—Pipestone National Monument. 
Walking trail to Pipestone mine.  Only Indians are allowed to extract stone from this mine.

“End of the Trail” sculpture made from pipestone.


The sun set as we closed another chapter of our 2017 family reunion/tour!

PS:  Keith and Mary De Jager have volunteered to host and organize our next family reunion/tour through the states of South Dakota and Wyoming.  Mark your calendars to join us during mid-June  2019!  You won’t want to miss another celebration!!