In the morning on Friday, April 13, Greenway Environmental moved the Karlstad Depot building, an old red schoolhouse, and the bottom half of the Pauli Church from their former home at the Pelan Pioneer Park along Highway 11 between Greenbush and Karlstad down the highway to Wagon Wheel Ridge, home of the country music festival Kick’n Up Kountry, less than a mile west of Karlstad.
Saddened by the move of these buildings, Vern Langaas, who has lived right next to Pelan Park since 1997, watched as the buildings were being moved on to the highway and a local man Rhett Haugen stopped by to see this sight and asked Vern how this could be happening. Vern talked to another neighbor about this move, also upset by it, and after some conversation, they again questioned how this could be happening. This neighbor then said something that struck Vern.
“He (the neighbor) said that, ‘We still have the steeple.’ And I started thinking about it, ‘Yeah, we do.’ Hmm, maybe we could kind of make a little statement that if we just went and parked some equipment around the steeple.”
Vern and several others helped do that by placing five pieces of equipment at Pelan Pioneer Park on Wednesday, April 18 as part of a peaceful demonstration. Around the Pauli Church steeple, the individuals placed a John Deere tractor with a grain auger and several semitrucks, and in front of the trapper cabin a Case tractor.
“I thought this would be a good way for me to relay my feelings, that I was no part of this decision and that’s kind of why I did it,” Langaas said, “… not to cause anybody any problems with the moving or anything, but it would be a statement that I and a few neighbors were not happy with the decision and some of them knew nothing about it until it was too late.”
Glen Brazier, CEO of Mattracks and the owner of Wagon Wheel Ridge Event Center property, officially acquired the depot, school, church and outbuildings from Pelan Pioneer Park at the Dewey Township annual meeting on March 13, 2018.
Controlling Pioneer Park since July 2010, Dewey Township decided to do this due to these buildings not getting used and in turn deteriorating, as previously reported in The Tribune.
To see the full story, read the April 25 issue of The Tribune in print or online.