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.
Ernie Lantto in front of Lantto's Store, circa 1963. Photograph is from the Cokato Enterprise Collection.
For 112 years the Lanttos store has been a fixture in French Lake. The store legacy began when Finnish immigrant Abraham Lantto purchased Bergstrom Store in 1908 for $800. The store stocked a variety of items including dry goods, clothing, shoes, landscaping tools, and poultry. The store even sold ice, most of which came from French Lake itself. Initially, dairy products were not sold in the store as most of the French Lake residents were dairy farmers. Over the years the store became a social hub, a place where people gathered together to share the latest news.