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Artesian Wells and Pranks in Minnesota--Cecil Ballard

As told by Cecil Ballard
Detroit Lakes, Minnesota

Story Narrative:

“Good afternoon. I'm Cecil Ballard. I am president of the Historical Society board. Retired teacher, having taught in the Waubun school district for well over 38 years.

My story has to concern artesian wells. I grew up on a farm that was a little bit south and west of Ogema, Minnesota. I always thought it was very natural for us to go out and play in the water tanks, and things like that, as a kid, because we didn't have any pumps on those tanks. The water just naturally flowed in from artesian wells.

One of the coolest stories that I had is ... When the grocery store in Ogema decided to build a new grocery store, they didn't talk to anybody about the artesian wells. When they built their well, and so forth, the water came out like ... Let's say something close to Old Faithful. The water came gushing out, that ran over Highway 59. It was in March of that particular year, so it all froze, and they had a huge problem with accidents and things like that. They should've talked to somebody, because they have old pictures of Ogema with artesian wells.

Great place to probably have a brewery, because we have all of the barley grown to the west, and a great supply of water. We always bragged about ... The water was cold. It was clean, and we had more fun bringing our old city cousins out to the water tanks under the premise of seeing turtles in the tank, and then pushing them into the cold water. It was a good time.”

This story was collected by Shanai Matteson in conjunction with the Be Here: Main Street project from the MuseWeb Foundation, intended to capture Americans' stories about their neighborhoods, their waterways, and their towns.

Asset ID #3888

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