BACKGROUND HISTORY OF THE
DEUTSCHE STRASSE BED AND BREAKFAST
404 SOUTH GERMAN STREET
NEW ULM, MINNESOTA
As recollected by James W. Beecher
February 22, 1990
Continued from page one.
About the time my parents moved into the home at 404 S. German in 1905, my father, H.L. Beecher was offered the position as Traffic Manager and Secretary at the Eagle Roller Mill Co. His starting job paid $100 a month, the same as he received as depot agent. He changed jobs because he thought this offered a better opportunity for his future. Dad was a tireless worker. His regular hours were 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. six days a week. Unless he had a civic or social function, he usually worked evenings too.
The mill was the leading industry in town and was the largest interior flour mill in America. By 1921, Dad was both President and General Manager. He worked there until his death in 1933 at the age of 63. He was twice President of the Millers National Federation and spent much time in travel to Chicago, New York, and to other Eastern cities visiting large bakery accounts. During World War I and after, there was an urgent need for flour to feed the starving in Europe. The mill ran endlessly.
During 1918 and 1919, Dad was Chairman of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Brown County Liberty Loan Drives. He had the know how to round up capable workers so that during those drives the quotas were exceeded by 23%.
There was a lot of activity at the Beecher home those evenings and my mother was a gracious hostess. During the war, the name German Street was changed to Liberty Street.
Following the war, many mill visitors and others were guests at the Beecher home. There were sometimes two full-time maids and a cook (who lived in). Others included a yardman and a weekly laundry lady, sometimes two. Mrs. Beecher managed in every way to make the home comfortable because in those years good hotel accommodations were not available. Mom took care of all household purchases and instructed the help.
St. Mary’s Catholic Church purchased the property in 1939. Mrs. Beecher moved to Minneapolis to live with the family of her third son, James. The property was sold to the church for $10,000.00, $3,000 down payment and 3% interest on the balance. In 1940, the loan was fully paid.
I have written this report as a means of answering questions posed to me by some priests who have lived in the rectory as well as many members and friends of St. Mary’s Parish. A copy will also go to the Brown County Historical Society.
(The St. Mary’s Rectory was purchased by Gary and Ramona Sonnenberg on October 31, 1997, with the intent of opening a Bed and Breakfast to serve the New Ulm area They have hosted thousands of guests since their opening on Valentine’s weekend, 1998. These travelers have been from New Ulm, Minnesota, many states of the union, as well as from Europe, Asia, and Africa).
Please note that this was a recollection. The cost of the renovation would more likely be $10,000 when comparing building costs of that time.
Also, we learned through a guest that she knew the original owner was Pahl and that he was an accountant.
We also learned from a historian that the original house was built in 1884.