Book:  "By The Shores of Ki-Chi-Saga"   by Moira F. Harris    $15.95

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193-page softcover book, by Moira Harris

The Chisago City Heritage Association is pleased to offer the book they commissioned that documents Chisago City's history.  "By the Shores of Ki-Chi-Saga" is written by Moira Harris traces the events surrounding the 1850's creation of the new city and continues its account through 2006.

The purpose of the book was to expand on the historical data presented in "Building Chisago City", written by Vernon Shoquist in 1981.  Mr. Shoquist's publication served as the framework and place from which additional research began.  As a result, facts and photos have been brought together from hundreds of sources and are readily availale only in this new book. 

Author Moira Harris writes in her forward:      See Index of Contents

"Several years before he died, John T. Flanagan, my father, asked me what should be done with his diaries. I felt they should be preserved as I was sure they would include family history and ideas unknown to me and my sisters, as we had never read them. Last year a small book based on extracts from the diaries was published. I realized, in assembling the materials for Summers by Lake Chisago, that his account differed from anything previously published on the town as, although he had a very long acquaintance with the community, it had always been a seasonal one. He was a summer visitor, not a year­ round resident.

     I discovered  as well that Chisago City had benefited  from the interest of a number of other writers. County histories had been  published by Folsom; Hackl, Porter and Freeman; and Bergquist. For the Writers' Project of the Works Project Administration in the 1930s, Paul Bergquist interviewed several men who had lived in Chisago City for many years. Their experiences and involvement in community affairs provide interesting source materials. The Bergquist interviews were with Charles Wallmark, John Robert Glyer, Charles Swenson, H. A. Doll, Alfred Glyer, Herbert Peterson, Alex Smith and Carl E. Strand. Where quoted, they are cited in the text as “Bergquist WPA interviews." Articles and books have appeared by scholars such as George Stephenson, Nils Hasselmo, Robert Ostergren, Helge Nelson and John T. Flanagan, all of whom have been interested in the town's Swedish background. There were histories already  in print for other county towns and an earlier history of Chisago City compiled for its 75th anniversary (Shoquist). Thus an extensive bibliography already existed.

     Various families (Lind, Glyer, Bloom, Johnson) with strong ties to Chisago City have assembled their own genealogies and histories. Earl Leaf has assembled volumes  of biographical and genealogical reference materials on the Swedish settlers. Publications appeared for the centennials of the Parmly Residence in 2004 and of the Zion Lutheran Church in 1974. And most important of all, there had already been a long effort to collect materials dealing with Chisago City history.

     That effort was begun by Vernon Shoquist who shepherded the earlier volume,  Building Chisago City, into print.  Shoquist collected photographs, postcards, printed ephemera, and articles of all sorts about his hometown. He once said that his collection began with postcards given to him by Elvice Bloom and Esther Johnson. After his death his son, Vernon Scott Shoquist, donated the many boxes to the Chisago City Heritage Association,  an organization spearheaded  by Donna Colberg.

     In compiling this book I have used the Shoquist Collection and the materials supplementing it collected by Donna Colberg, Marilyn Mays, and especially Charles Gramling. I have also interviewed a number of residents who remembered facts and stories that filled out printed  records. My thanks for their time and insights go to Anita Rylander, George Kissinger, Margaret Olson; Betty Fischer, Val Fredell, Doris Lindahl,  Grace Peterson, Carol Beecher,  Paul and Herb Johnson, Margaret J. Bast, Dr. Robert Bjornson,  Richard Thompson, Herb Letourneau, Kevin and Cheri Peterson, Frank Dusenka,  Ann Marie Alford, Dick and Mary Ann Koch, Mark Karnowski, Nora Holt, Marian Leaf Kent, Bonnie Christophersen, Carolyn Drude, and Fred Myers. My husband John served as the invaluable photo editor of the project. His skills are deeply appreciated.

     Chisago City never had a newspaper that lasted more than a year or two, unlike Lindstrom, Taylors Falls, Rush City, or North Branch. Thus mention of developments and  accomplishments in Chisago City has always been relegated to columns in other  daily or weekly journals. St. Paul newspapers carried many stories about Chisago City over the years. Gareth Hiebert,  the fondly remembered Oliver Towne columnist for the St. Paul newspapers, devoted many articles to Chisago County and for a time was a guide on bus tours of the St. Croix Valley.

     My special thanks go to Donna, Chuck, and Marilyn who shared the information which made this book possible."

Moira E Harris       St. Paul, Minnesota      January 7, 2007