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Soderville

             Gust Johnson said they were crazy!  That is what William (Bill) Soderquist, first resident of Soderville remembers Mr. Johnson as saying when he found out that Bill and Gunnard Soderquist were starting a garage on a two-acre tract of land practically in the middle of nowhere.  That was from a business point of view as Mr. Johnson ran a store at Cedar where the Great Northern Railroad ran.  He couldn't see putting up a garage in a spot where two dusty country roads crossed each other.  There was no bus service, no railroad and Central Avenue (Hwy #65) was only a wagon trail through a lot of swamp land.  Yet, the result was the community of Soderville, named for the four Soderquist brothers which developed into the leading business center of the Township of Ham Lake.

 

                It was in 1922 that Bill decided to leave the rented farm of August Gustafson he had been working in Bethel Township and venture into a new business.  He bought two acres of land from his brother in law, Freedolph Vanstrom.  Next he bought a small four room house from Don Taylor for $125.  It had been built by Per August Gustafson and they moved it from Coon Lake during the winter using skids pulled by teams of horses.  This was the very first building.

 

                Bill, who had come with his parents and brothers from Vamland, Sweden, was adept at welding and repairing farm equipment.  He acquired a small tool shed and set about making necessary machinery repairs for farmers of the area.  He also began to sharpen mower blades, saw wood and grind feed for them.  He and his brother Gunnard built "Central Garage" in 1922.  Gunnard took a course at Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis studying Practical Repair Work and specializing in Automotive and Gas Tractor work.

 

                In 1932 a new garage twice the size of the first was built directly behind the old one.  They trucked in all the material for the garage themselves from Anoka.  They installed a set of gas pumps and were a dealer for Pure Oil and Gasoline.  Their business was growing and expanding, selling motor vehicle licenses and Chevrolet cars and trucks for which they had a franchise.

 

                The garage also became a First Aid Station and a Depot for the Greyhound Bus Company when it began running through in 1929.

 

                The second home in Soderville was a small tile house to which the Soderquist brothers moved their aging parents, Johannes and Anna Soderquist in 1925. Three businesses came in the 1920's. A cafe and confectionery was built north of the general Store by Julius Jacobson and a hamburger and root beer stand was built south of the store by Mr. Matthews from Anoka.  A tavern was built on the Ado Olson property.

 

                Dwellings were built by Gunnard Soderquist, Albert Soderquist, Ray Dahlman and Donald Steinke.  Iver Soderquist built a home on the north edge of town and the apartment above the store which he and his wife Marie occupied was rented to various and also used as a barber shop.  The Charles Livgard family moved to the Johannes (John) Soderquist home.

 

                A new school for District #42 was built on County Road #18 east of Soderville in 1941 as a WPA Project.  It replaced the out dated school which had been built in the early 1900's.  The new school was a one room structure with a full basement and bell tower.