Mike Worcester, "Lost Cokato: The Cokato Winter Ice Carnivals." In The Midst Of, Cokato Historical Society (Winter, 1998) vol. 18 no. 1.
Cokato Winter Carnival Speed Skating Competition in Peterson Park.
When most people think of Cokato festivals, the Corn Carnival usually comes to mind. But in Minnesota, as the St. Paul Winter Carnival has shown, those cold months of December through February can be fertile ground for some fun times. So in December 1939, when members of the Cokato Association for Public Affairs (a forerunner of the Cokato Chamber of Commerce) proposed some sort of winter festival for Cokato, nobody found it an odd idea.
Museum Staff, "Country Schools," In The Midst Of, Cokato Historical Society (November, 2019) vol. 39 no. 4.
From the late 1890s and early 1900s, approximately 21 country schools dotted Stockholm, French Lake, and Cokato townships. Built during an era with no bus service, country schools were constructed to be within a mile or so walking distance for students. Primarily a one-room school house filled with grades 1-7, each grade had to take turns at lessons with the teacher. After completing country school, students either went right to work, or commuted to Cokato Public School for high school. Although relatively similar in concept, each country school experience was a little different.
Museum Staff, "The Fire Chief's Worst Fire," Firefighters to the Rescue A Century of Fires in Cokato, 1896-1996 (Cokato Historical Society, 1996) 39-40.
Cokato Hotel Fire, June 8, 1977.
Being a volunteer fireman for 31 years is quite a record. Lyle Severson became a fireman at the age of 23 at the urging of his father-in-law, Eldon Wessman, who was a fireman. He served as chief from 1976 to 1981. As long as he is able to pass the yearly physical, he wants to continue on the department, especially since he and Alvie Cole are vying for a friendly record of service.
His biggest challenge was the Cokato Hotel fire. The alarm came in about 2:30 a.m. on June 8, 1977. By noon the structure was ready to collapse. Firefighters were on the scene until that afternoon when the scene was turned over to investigation by the state fire marshal's office. It was a traumatic time since five lives were lost. He knew the victims as good old guys who lived in the only affordable housing for single people at the time.