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Avoca Veteran's Memorial in the works

submitted photo Avoca City Council member Phil Olson uses a skid steer to pry Kasota stone out of the ground during the road construction in August 2010, while Jon Frisk stands by to help. The stone, which has been buried in the ground since it was installed as crosswalk in 1895, will be used to build a veteran's memorial in Avoca.

AVOCA -- An October 1895 edition of the Murray County Independent heralds the news.

"The large Kasota stones for street crossings have arrived (in Avoca) and are being hauled to the crossings."

According to Avoca City Clerk Karen Frisk, who is also the town's unofficial city historian, there is no other mention of the stones before or after that tidbit of information. She has scoured newspapers and city minutes to no avail. She did learn, however, that Avoca and other area towns added the stones, found along the Minnesota River Valley, both to beautify and to construct stone crosswalks.

"The streets got pretty muddy, so the stone crosswalks were installed," Frisk explained. "It helped keep all of those long dresses out of the mud when they crossed the street."

According to Doug Smith, the marketing and business development coordinator at Mankato Kasota Stone, Inc., the Kasota limestone used for the crosswalks and eventually buried were likely from that company, which was the only quarry operating in the area at that time.

In August 2010, road crews working on Murray County 6 -- Avoca's main street -- uncovered some of the stones, which had been buried under the sidewalks and some lawns. Others were found on the west side of the business district intersection.

On a Friday morning, Frisk waited, phone in hand, for a call from the construction crew telling her she could move in and try to save some of the stones uncovered as the crew shaved layers off the old street. With help from Avoca Mayor Roger Lindmeier, city council member Phil Olson and her son Jon, Frisk was able to salvage pieces of the stone, both large and small.

And that's when the idea came back.

In 2008, Frisk's mother passed away. At the time, the city of Fulda was selling pavers to raise money for their memorial, so Frisk and her brothers decided to purchase a paver in their father's name.

"I remember thinking at the time that Avoca really needed a way to acknowledge veterans," Frisk said. "But I don't want to leave anyone out, so I didn't want it to only name the people who had a purchased paver."

She started compiling a list of names, talking to members of the American Legion in Avoca, walking the cemeteries and asking questions of anyone she thought could help. Over the last several years, she has compiled a list of approximately 150 names -- people who served in the military who were born in, died in or ever lived in Avoca. The list of names is broken down into the five branches of the United States military forces and by when the person served.

With the discovery of the Kasota stones, Frisk decided it was time to take action. She had received permission from the Avoca City Council several years earlier to use a piece of city-owned land to construct a veteran memorial. Now, she is asking for help to get the memorial built.

"To begin with, I had all these big ideas," she said with a laugh. "But I think some of them would be impossible."

The list of names would be printed on two 4 foot by 8 foot signs -- the names in gold, the background black. The signs would sit at a slight angle from each other on the west side of the Avoca Community Hall, near the monument that holds the old Avoca School bell and visible from the street. Behind the signs would be seven flag poles to fly a flag for each of the five military branches, a U.S. flag, a Minnesota flag and a POW/MIA flag.

The Kasota stone could be used in a variety of ways -- as a walkway, as a base for the signs or for engraving military seals or commemorative phrases.

"Plans are kind of evolving based on what kind of donations can be gathered," Frisk admitted. "I have someone who volunteered to make the flag poles, and there are a few people I want to consult about brickwork and other things."

Anyone who would like to donate funds toward the memorial can send it to the city of Avoca's mailing address, PO Box 156, Avoca, Minn., 56114. In a perfect world, Frisk would like to have money raised and construction start in time to dedicate the memorial on Memorial Day 2012, but she knows that might not happen.

"It's going to depend on how fast donations come in, who is willing to help build and what the weather is like this spring," she said.

Frisk is also asking for the public's help with the list of names.

"I want to make sure I get everybody. I'm pleading with people to go over the list and let me know if I'm missing someone," she said.

An email address, has been set up for people to make suggestions, add to the list or ask questions. Frisk can also be reached at 507-335-7878.


Civil War 1861-1865

William McCormick

John McNamara

Spanish American War 1898

Edward Hanson

Alois Kirchner

John Trapp

World War I 1917-1918

Lauritz G. Anderson

Herman Bergman

Michael Betz

John Eichler

Ernest Hagen

Frederick Hagen

Carl Hanson Sr.

Edwin Hanson

John Iverson

Adolph Magnus

Charley B. Nelson

Emil Nelson

Otto Olson

John Onken

Robert Schaeffer

Fred Schneider

Thomas Somers

Michael Sullivan

John Zanter

World War II 1941-1946

Marvin H. Ackman

Clarence O. Carlson

Raymond Carlson

James Crowley

George Dirks

Donald Ewy DIS

Elwood Ewy

Donald Flynn

Richard Flynn

Leroy Frisk

Leslie "Lolly" Frisk

Robert Frisk

Willard Frisk

George Fuchs

Lawrence Gengler

Jerome Giefer

Robert Giefer

Maynard Grein DIS

Oscar Hagen

Carl H. Hanson Jr

Robert H. Heim

Douglas L. Holden

Robert Holinka

George Isder

Kenneth Johnson

Samuel "Dick" R. Kirlin

Harold Koehn

Oscar Lundblad

James McConnell

Gordon Minehart

Loraine M. Olson

George Opdahl

Ellen Powers

Elgie Rachuy

Frank Schaeffer

Robert Leo Schaeffer

Leland Schmidt

Andrew Sellman

Hiram Showalter

Robert Somers

James Staples

Ralph Thedans

Conrad "Cooney" Theis

Victor Walther

Warner Walther

Ernest Wancenried

Joseph Williams

George Zanter

Korean War 1950-1955

Carl H. Hanson Jr DIS

Richard Hanson

Clayton Isder

Robert Matson

Conrad "Cooney" Theis

Henry "Hinney" Theis

Gordon E. Toner


William Bacon

Delbert Kirlin

Michael Kirlin

Daryl Schneider

Vietnam War 1961-1975

Larry Duncan

Gary Entinger

John Franzen

Gerald Frisk

Dale Galles

Wayne Goering

Paul Guild

Dennis Kirchner

Roger Koehn

Arland Moger

Leander Pick

Mike Paulson

Robert Rachuy

Dale Schaeffer

David Thedans

Gary Thedans

David Webb


Scott Grave

Robert Henning

Darin Larson

Philip Olson

Tom Poss

Tim Webb

Gulf War 1990-

Donna Duis

Matt Larson

Philip Olson


World War II 1941-1946

Wayburne Lilleburg

Irvin Onken

Korean War 1950-1955

Clarence "Snuffy" Cramer

Raymond "Spike" Poss

Vietnam War 1961-1975

Roger Busswitz

Bruce Giefer

Stan Kirlin

Richard "Dick" Peterson

John Stenen

Dennis Thedans

Daniel Voss


Todd Busswitz

Tracy Busswitz

Gulf War 1990-

Todd Busswitz

Richard "Dick" Peterson


World War II 1941-1946

Raymond Dierks

Leo Frisk

Joseph Gorman

James Hanson

John B. Hanson

Wilbert A. Koopman

Arnold Nimerfroh

Donald "Jiggs" Schaeffer

Stanley "Chub" Schaeffer

Denis Schneider

Ernest Sellman

"Swany" Swanson DIS

Ralph Tentinger

Thomas Webb

Korean War 1950-1955

Nicholas Gengler


Dale Tibbets

Vietnam War 1961-1975

Timothy Fuchs

James Holinka

Leslie Kepler

Ronald Koehn

Paul Parenteau

Robert "Bob" Wahl

Steven Webb

Arl Weinrebe


Wayne Erickson

Dave Fuller

Robert "Bob" Wahl

Eric Wettschreck

Gulf War 1990-

Eric Wettschreck

Gina Johnson


Korean War 1950-1955

Herman Gerald Ebbinga

Ray Kirlin

Alvin Kunselman

John "Jimmy" Peter Theis

Vietnam War 1961-1975

Herman Gerald Ebbinga DIS

Ray Kirlin

Alvin Kunselman

Lynn Schaeffer

Paula Schaeffer

Frances "Franci" Theis


Sidney Granum

GULF WAR 1990-

Mike Duncan DIS

Sidney Granum

Neil Isder


Vietnam War 1961-1975

Kevin Gorman 1975-78

DIS - Died In Service

Daily Globe Reporter Justine Wettschreck can be reached at 376-7322