About the city of Albertville, MN
Located about ½ mile northwest of what is now known as Albertville was a town site called “Hamburg”. It was named and platted as such, in 1881, by Joseph and Josephine Vetsch. On August 23 of the same year, the Minneapolis and Northwestern Railroad Company paid Joseph Vetsch $125 for a strip of land, 100 feet wide that ran through his property. There, railroad tracks were laid in the summer of 1881, and extended to the Clearwater area. By 1882, more tracks were laid, which connected them to the St. Cloud vicinity, as well.
John Zachman was at that time a prominent businessman in nearby St. Michael. He owned the land from the present Albertville Main Avenue NE, all the way over to County Road 19. John’s youngest brother Albert, was the only family member with a college education, and hence, was hired by John as a bookkeeper. In return for his services, he was given the land where Albertville now lies. The Zachman’s were very church-oriented people, and thus when Albert received the deed to the property; it was with the stipulation that some of the land would be donated for a church site. In 1902, the village of St. Michael’s Station (as Albertville was originally called) came into existence and within, the promise of a Catholic Church in the near future.
A petition to incorporate the township was presented by J.P. Eull, Anthony Vetsch and Theodore Adyt on June 17, 1902. The village population was already 190 people at that time.Their first council meeting was held in the office of P.F. Hecklemann (the Justice of the Peace) on September 8, 1902, at which time they elected the town officials. A few days later (September 24) another meeting was called, for the purpose of adopting the ordinances and bylaws for St. Michael’s Station. It was also decided by the council that all males between the ages of 20 and 50 years of age would contribute one day’s labor – working on the village streets.
On March 10, 1903, the first town election was held. It was determined by a vote of 20-18 to construct a village hall, with the total cost of lumber and labor being $531.95. Meanwhile, money-raising efforts were underway for the building of the Catholic Church. By late 1903, sufficient funds had been procured to build the basement. Father Blum conducted the first Mass in that structure on December 25, 1903, making it a particularly joyous Christmas for the town residents. The completed church building featured a wood frame with a brick veneer. Among those instrumental in the construction of the building were Phil Schirmers, Ed Tiernan and Mike Haas. They also made their own bricks used in the church. The church was named the “Church of St. Albert”, in honor of Albert Zachman (who as earlier stated, had donated the land). Previous to the erection of the church building, Mass was said by Father Blum in Pete Eull’s shed.
In April 1906, oil lamps were installed along village streets. At first, the responsibility of lighting lamps was given to the resident living nearest to the lamp. Later, two men were hired to fulfill that duty. Another addition to the town was the construction of a baseball field in June 1907. This was a community effort with the residents again being asked to donate one day’s labor towards the project. The decision to build a village jail (a $175 expenditure) was made in 1908. The jailhouse was built of brick, and measured 16’ x 16’ x 8’ high.
In 1909, Father Duhr proposed changing the name of the village to “Albertville” (again in honor of Albert Zachman). His suggestion met with high approval and enthusiasm from the local residents. Within a year’s time the name Albertville appeared exclusively in the village council meeting minutes. However, it wasn’t until September 24, 1919, that legal documents were filed, making the name-change official.