Delano, Minnesota

Delano, Minnesota
Delano, Minnesota
—  City  —
Motto: The Spirit of Community
Location of Delano, Minnesota
Coordinates: 45°2′28″N 93°47′9″W / 45.04111°N 93.78583°W / 45.04111; -93.78583Coordinates: 45°2′28″N 93°47′9″W / 45.04111°N 93.78583°W / 45.04111; -93.78583
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Wright
 – Type Mayor-Council
 – Mayor Dale J. Graunke
 – Total 2.6 sq mi (6.7 km2)
 – Land 2.6 sq mi (6.7 km2)
 – Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 922 ft (281 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 – Total 5,464
 – Density 1,492.8/sq mi (576.4/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 – Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 55328
Area code(s) 763
FIPS code 27-15454[2]
GNIS feature ID 0642749[3]

Delano is a city in Wright County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 5,464 at the 2010 census.[1] It is part of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Statistical Area.



Delano is located at 45.04 degrees north, 93.78 degrees west, along the South Fork of the Crow River. The ZIP code is 55328.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.7 km2), all of it land. U.S. Route 12 serves as a main route in the community.


Delano has three public schools, Delano Elementary, Delano Middle and Delano High schools. Delano also has parochial schools.


The current mayor of Delano is Dale Graunke. The city council members are Holly Schrupp, Betsy Stolfa, Dan Vick and Derek Schansberg.

Notable residents and natives


Delano was incorporated as a village in 1876.

It seems appropriate to begin this brief history of Delano and its surrounding community of Franklin Township with a glimpse at prehistory - with some idea of what was here before man came to view this area to record his observations.

Back before the Big Woods stood, ice covered the Crow Valley. Twenty-five thousand years ago, great continental ice sheets flowed out from a center near Hudson Bay covering most of North America down to the valleys of the Missouri and Ohio rivers. The glaciers slowly spread out pushing soil and rock ahead of them; forming mounds call moraines. The Grantburg lobe of the Keewatin icefield pushed up the several moraines that cross Wright County. Melt water from the glaciers drained into the Mississippi from the moraines on the northeast side of this large finger of ice. Glacial drainage once flowed over the small plains of sandy gravel that lie along the Crow River Valley. Large mammals such as the woolly mammoth and arctic musk oxen driven down by the icecaps ranged as far south as Minnesota.

The first human beings to enter this locality were probably American Indian hunters who came into the region when plans and animals began to thrive after the glaciers retreated. The earliest date of man's migration to Minnesota is not known, but state archaeologist Elden Johnson is certain that - "descendants of earlier migrants from Asia - who had entered the New World via the Bering Strait region - gradually made their way to Minnesota from the west and south probably after 8000 B.C." Much of the history of these people who lived before the dawn of written records is a mystery. Their only records lie buried in the earth. Numerous mounds exist in Minnesota - some near Delano and throughout Wright County. They are found mostly on the banks of streams or lakes. The mounds vary in size. They may be round or elongated. The early theory that the mounds were constructed by people called "Mound Builders" who were unrelated to the Indians of the region has been debunked. Archaeologists now say that such mounds were erected by Woodland and later groups of prehistoric Indians; that later they were used by recent tribes such as the Sioux. Some of the mounds which have been opened near Delano do not appear to contain human remains. But State Archaeologist, Eldon Johnson says of Minnesota mounds in general - "There is no doubt about the purpose they served; they were graves." Unfortunately, many of the 10,000 burial mounds which did exist in Minnesota have been destroyed. Important archaeology resources have been lost.

Just when the Dakota or Sioux reached Minnesota is not known. Only future archaeology can answer that question. When the first whit men came to this region in the 17th century, most of what is now Minnesota was held by the Sioux. In the mid 18th century the Chippewa, moving westward from Lake Superior, drove the Sioux to the country west of the Mississippi and south of the Crow Wing River. War followed, as the Sioux continued to be pushed south. In 1772 and 1773, battles were fought near the mouth of Elk River, a few miles from what is now Wright County. In 1825, the Chippewa and the Sioux established a boundary line between their hunting grounds. The agreement was not well observed.

When Wright County and much joining territory west and south of the Mississippi was ceded to the United States by treaties of Mendota and Traverse des Sioux finalized in 1853, Wright County was open to white settlement. As trappers, traders, farmers, and shopkeepers moved into the Big Woods, a culture centuries old began a rapid decline. In a few years, it would face extinction. Where are they now - those hunters who intermittently ranged the Big Woods? Shortly before he signed the treaty in 1851 Wabasha, head chief of the Medawakantons rose and said - "You have requested us to sign the papers and you have told these people standing around that it is for their benefit; but I do not think so. In the treaty you have said a lot about farmers, schools, physicians, traders, and half-breeds who are to be paid out of our money. You have named a place for our home, but it is a prairie country. I am a man used to the woods and do not like the prairie; perhaps some of those who are here will name a place we will all like better."

Sadly, most of the Indians never found other places or ways of life that suited them so well as those they gave up forever with the signing of the treaty in 1851.

Compiled by Sandra Horeis. Based on material found in The Prehistoric People of Minnesota by Eldon Johnson, Published by the Minnesota Historical Society, 1969 World Book, Vol. 10, Field Enterprises, 1967, pp. 6–7. "Wright County Historical Sketch" taken from "inventory of Archives of Minn." No. 86, prepared by the Minn. Historical Records Surveey Project Division on Professional and Service Projects, Work Projects Admin. September, 1940.

Early Settlement

Once the Big Woods was no longer the undisputed hunting ground of the Indians, it became inviting to settlers. By 1850, a trading post had been established by Edmund Brissett at the west end of Lake Pulaski for the purpose of obtaining pelts from the Winnebago who then ranged over that area. Brissett and his associates cut a crude road from Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun to Buffalo. The post was abandoned in 1855, but the road remained to serve the early settlers. According to the account recorded in The History of the Upper Mississippi published in 1881, the first people to settle in the area which was to become Delano, traveled to Greenwood and from there followed the Crow River to the place where their claim was selected. They might have used the road cut by Brissett to arrive at Greenwood.

James P. Lyle, a Nova Scotian, was the first settler to claim land lying partly within what is now the City of Delano. Accompanied by James Patten, he arrived on June 15, 1855. In July, Patten and Lyle were joined by J. C. Ellis and S. Patten who were also from Nova Scotia. The Ellis claim consisted of most of the land Delano was to accompany later. David White arrived in December 1855 and lived for the remainder of that winter with Lyle in his small, but comfortable claim shanty. White was later to build a claim shanty adjoining Ellis. One half of this duplex shanty was situated on each man's claim, and it was this unique structure that the first school sessions where held in 1858. It was among the earliest schools in Wright County and probably came into being because the natural route of travel along the Crow brought children in claims nearby. Mr. Ellis, the teacher, was paid by subscription.

Among the very early settlers (1856) were Luther V. Walter from Maine, Riley Sturman, and John and Luther Cunningham, who took claims along the Crow. Settlers cam in yet greater numbers in 1857.

On August 7, 1856, the first child, Ida May Patten, was born in the little settlement. Riley Sturman and Louise Murphy were the first couple to be married in the community (December 25, 1857), and the first death was that of Mary Lyle, wife of Delano's first settler (December 1, 1858).

Life for the early settlers, even under the best of circumstances, was exhausting and rugged. There were ordeals of cutting timber, building houses of logs, and sharing work at the crude sawing operation that was carried out at Lyle's place. Take turns, the settlers were sometimes able to cut as much as 200 feet (61 m) of rough lumber a day manning system that had one man standing in a pit beneath a log and one above to operate a cross-cut saw. Roads were poor. The settlers traveled to Watertown and Rockford in Indian canoes or dugouts, but navigating a loaded canoe was difficult. Roads went through to Watertown and Rockford in 1858, making it possible to bring some lumber in from mills in those towns.

Beyond the struggle to build houses, to hack small fields out of the woods, and to secure provisions - other problems beset the settlers. Grasshoppers plagued Franklin Township in 1856 and 1857. A financial crash occurred in the fall of 1857. Most of the settlers had no money to pay for their claims at the time of the land sale in 1859. They were battered by rain, hailstorms, heat and drought. An Indian outbreak swept the state in August 1862, causing the settlers to flee to the stockades at Rockford, Greenwood and Minneapolis. They fled again in 1863 and farming suffered in their absence.

The plentiful ginseng root probably saved a number of the pioneers from despair and financial ruin. In 1859, a Mr. Blaine from Virginia arrived in the area to promote the ginseng trade. The story has it that the enterprising Mr. Baine at first paid the settlers four cents a pound for a product he in turn sold for eighty cents a pound. Ultimately, he agreed to raise the price to eight cents a pound. Local revenue increase in 1861, when Mr. Baine left the area, and the business was taken over by local merchants. It flourished until well into this century. Some well known ginseng growers were a Mr. Kaiser, who raised it near what used to be the Elmer Johnson farm, Philip Martin, who raised it on the property now owned by Mrs. Oscar Leiter, and John Kritzeck, who raised it in the woods across from the present school.

Wright County was divided into townships in 1858. Township 118, range 25 was designated as Newport. Since there was a town named Newport in Washington County, residents petitioned to have the name changed. The commissioners named it Franklin. The first town meeting was held at the White home, May 11, 1858. The following officers where elected: Supervisors, C. A. Wright (chairman), William McKinley and Fred Adickes; town clerk, J. J. Wright; assessor, J. B. White; treasurer and collector, J. P. Lyle; justice of the peace, Samuel Sturman; constable, Philip Martin; overseer of the poor, David White.

Although Franklin contributed a number of volunteers during the early Civil War years, the quota was not reached and the draft was imposed. It was decided that a bounty would be paid to encourage enlistment. New officials, who refused to pay the bonds issued for bounty, came into power. Bondholder H. L. Gordon brought suit against Franklin town and was awarded $2,287.75. Officials voted to take an appeal to the Supreme Court, but that never happened. The debt was paid in installments.

Smallpox broke out in 1872. Stricken households were quarantined and the roads closed. The house of F. J. Bauman became a hospital. The only death was that of Bauman who sacrificed his life as the result of being a good neighbor.

The first bridge over the south fork of the Crow River in Franklin Township was built in 1859 near William McKinley's. The McKinley bridge of today is about 40 rods below the site of the original bridge. The present bridge was built in 1873.

The first store-saloon in the township, located on the Waverly road, was opened in 1866 by John Marth. In 1871, Mr. Marth moved his store to Delano.

The Village of Delano

By 1868 steel rails extended west from Minneapolis to reach the present site of Delano. A new influx of settlers arrived in railroad coaches - coaches fitted with unpadded wooden seats and devoid of heat in winter. Some new settlers probably stepped on the platform at the end of the line cold and sodden from water that seeped into the coaches during wet spells. This early mass transit, crude as it was, offered the ultimate in refinement to settlers used to ox carts and dugouts and long trips to the city on foot.

The railroad increased the rate of settlement and changed the lives of those already established on farmsteads cleared from the woods in southeast Wright County. When the mainline, First Division, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad reached the claimsites clustered beside the Crow River, Mr. Ellis sold twenty acres of his claim to Breed, Atwater, and Payte who were connected with the railroad. He sold seventeen acres to Lyle and donated six acres to the railroad to be used as depot grounds. The land was platted. A little later the remainder of Mr. Ellis's claim was purchased by W. B. Litchfield. The handful of rude claims by the river became a village called Crow River, and a post office called Crow River Station was established in a small store kept by F. B. Hopkins. The local population was not happy with the name Crow River. After much discussion, they decided to rename the village for a railroad town in California known as Delano, which played a vital role in the expansion of the west and was in turn named after Columbus Delano. The legislature of 1870 acted to legalize the name change. Six years later, on February 11, 1876, the village was incorporated.

The railroad brought large numbers of German and Polish people into the Big Woods Country. Some were workers on the road earning $1.75 a day. Some came looking for adventure or a new place to set down roots. Seeing the lush timber as evidence of rich soil, many decided to stay on and take up farming. Whereas Colonial Americans and Scandinavians predominated in most areas of Wright County, settlers in Delano and Franklin Township were mostly of German or Polish origin.

The advent of rail service and the growing population brought businessmen and tradesmen who began fledging commercial ventures in the newly established village. About the time that the railroad was being built, William Wesson began keeping on of the first small stocks of goods for sale. Miner Ball had a hand in several early businesses one of which was a general store he built which was managed by Frank Nichols. Warren Ames built one of the earliest saloons.

In December 1868 the Great Northern Hotel appeared just west of where the Delano State Bank now stands. It wasn't built there. It appeared when Miner Ball moved one of the old Greenwood buildings in and furnished it as a hotel. An addition was added in the spring. Col. James D. Young purchased the hotel and made it into one of the finest on the railroad line known for its excellent food and ample accommodations. By 1879 the Great Northern had been expanded to include forty rooms. It was a popular rest for salesmen and travelers who arrived by rail and rented livery rigs from the management to make their calls at Watertown, Mayer, New Germany, Lester Prairie and Winsted, towns not served by the railroads. Much later the old Great Northern became the Pfeiffer Hotel, and lastly it became an apartment dwelling. In 1975 it was demolished to make room for the new State Bank of Delano. Some local historians lament the passing of this fine old structure which was allowed to lapse into a state of ruin. The Great Northern offered bed and board and friendship to newcomers from the time of the town's founding and throughout early history.

In 1869, the Epple Brothers arrived in town and built a large general store just west of the Great Northern Hotel on the corner of Railroad Avenue and River Street. Railroad Avenue was to serve as Delano's chief commercial area until the turn of the century. The Epple partnership was dissolved in 1871. Valentine continued in the original business until 1875. Charles moved a building from the south side of the railroad to the corner of Bridge and River Streets and engaged in one of the most successful businesses in the village. Lundeen's operated their clothing store 1950-1970's. Today (2010) Linnies Ice Cream owns and occupies the building all this from the building Charles Epple moved to that corner a century ago. .

John Haffner managed the first hardware business in the village for the Lucas Brothers supplying necessary implements to hardy settlers who came to clear, then break the land. The wares were crude - shovels, picks, axes. At first, saws were not to be had. Haffner later purchased the Lucas stock, and in 1879 he built a large store on River Street.

On July 4, 1869, the frame for Delano's first gristmill was raised on a spot by the river near where the Libby house now stands. Miner Ball and E. D. Barnett were the proprietors. How the settlers must have welcomed the convenience of having their grain ground locally at the fine new mill with two run of stone. For early day farmers, a trip to the mill was a festive occasion. Wagons laden with the precious grain harvest clustered at the mill to deposit the raw grain and await the return of freshly ground flour that could keep a family from starving until the harvest of next year's crop. Sometimes entire families traveled to the mill to picnic and socialize with neighbors while the grain was being ground. A saw mill adjoined the grist mill providing a reay supply of planks for flooring and walls. One power team operated both mills. Two steam engines were used, one of twenty-five horsepower and another of forty-five. Much later (1895), Delano's first electrical power plant was located near the site of the mill in a little red brick building behind the Libby house. Older residents recall how the power was turned off promptly at eleven o'clock each evening. A later flour mill was run by Les and Everett Bartlett on the site now occupied by the granite works.

In 1872 a newspaper called the Big Woods Citizen began to lend an influence to the community. For many settlers this paper brought the only news of the state, national and international events. It contained local news, serialized fiction, and a healthy dose of editorial opinion. In 1881, the name of the paper was changed to the Delano Eagle. This paper has served the community continuously since its inception in 1872.

Among early businesses which began on Railroad Avenue was the general store of Louis Raush, established in 1873. Several attractive and functional brick buildings were erected along Railroad Avenue during the 1880s. In 1883 the Delano Eagle moved from a little frame building on Third Street into the brick building on Railroad Avenue; and in 1885 Mr. J. W. Lindsley moved his hardware business into the new brick building across Third Street from the Eagle building. Later it was converted into a hotel. Today it is an apartment dwelling. The brick building on the corner of Railroad Avenue and Second Street dates from the same period. It housed the Wright County Bank founded by the C. M. Dittmann and C. G. Roosen in 1880. Roosen bought out Dittmann in 1882 and continued the business as a private bank until 1884 when the Wright County Bank was incorporated under state banking law with the State Bank of Delano. Most of these early brick buildings were built from bricks made near Delano.

The year 1881 brought small but noticeable surge of business expansion. John Lohmiller, the jeweler, came to town and by 1884 his business had grown enough to warrant a new building on a corner of Railroad AVenue. A company of citizens united in 1881 to build a circular elevator that could store 32,000 bushels of grain and was powered by a 15 horsepower engine. It was also in 1881 that Whittman and Johnson arrived from Wayzata to open a drug store on Railroad Avenue between Second and Third Streets. A year later A. W. Whittman bought out his partner. Long time resident Margaret Hills is the daughter of this early day druggist. The neighboring Peters' General Store also began in 1881. The second story of Peters' store served as a hall for the Odd Fellows and the Masons. The Keplinger home is the rear portion of the old Peters' addition.

Prior to 1882 Delano had no harness shop. J.C. Hitz established a business dealing in tack and harness. In 1883 R. M. Walters, a gentleman from Nebraska, bought out the existing Chance Drug Store; and William Bentz acquired the town's only furniture store and coffin warerooms from Andrew Hansemann.

A new round roller skating pavilion stood as proof that Delano was not a place of all work and no play in 1884. The 4,000-square-foot (370 m2) structure with a floor of hard maple was considered one of the finest buildings of its kind to be found outside a large city. It was in nearly constant use for skating, theatrical amusements, dancing and parties. Part of the structure now houses the office of Lundsten Lumber Co.

The fact that ten or more saloons found business to sustain them during the 19th century and well into the present century tells something of another local form of rest and relaxation. Most of the saloons outlived the roller rink by many years. But they too became past history in the early 1950s when they were superseded by municipal liquor sales.

Not many people remember the cooper shop that stood where Art Gallus's house stands now. Younger folks might even ask, "Just what is a cooper shop?". A cooper was a man who manufactured barrels, and barrels where essential in those days gone by. Barrels held salted meat and pickled foods, crackers and dry goods, and rainwater. Everybody had a rain barrel to catch soft water for washing special things.

It has been a long time since Andrew Reider and August Sieloff manufactured wagons and repaired buggies and sleighs at their place on North River Street. And how lang has it been since someone rushed into a tonsorial parlor to make quick end of a bad toothache?

Quite a few people remember the pickle factory. Charles Brunkow started it in 1899 after having success with a local farmers' market. Among other things, he traded in ginseng. His business developed into a general store, a grocery store, then pickles. In 1919 three sons Reynold, Frank and Herbert took over the plant; and in 1926 Herbert became sole owner operating the plant until it closed in 1938. While the plant was in operation, cucumbers were a popular local crop; and the three varieties of pickles processed locally found their way to stores as far away as Kansas City.

The first lumber yard in Delano was established in 1882 by Adam Horsch. His yards and sheds stood on the site now occupied by the Delano Municipal Power Plant. The home Horsch built on River Street is a classic example of Victorian architecture. In 1909 Horsch sold his business to Midland Lumber and Coat and devoted his energy to other business and community endeavors.

The millinery shop is another form of livelihood that has passed from the scene. Delano had its millinery shops as early at 1878, and the popularity of ladies' hats did not wane until sometime in the 1950s. Indeed up until that time, women regarded hats as essential to a well groomed public appearance. Mildred Sawatzke recalls her mother's millinery store which started as a sewing shop in 1900. Three sewing machine operators made custom dresses for the local ladies. The business branched into hats made of buckrum or hat wire shaped to the customer's wishes. Velvet, satin, fur, chiffon, silk, or strawbraid covered the frames. Genuine ostrich plumes, feathers, jewels, buckles, flowers, and ribbons provided the ultimate in decoration. The store known as "Rosies" was located near the current site of Rieder's Meat Market and provided local ladies with stylish clothing for over fifty years.

Old ways of life have disappeared, but tales remain and memories of buggy rides and quilting bees, of steamy prancing horses harnessed to a sleigh and the merry sounds of sleigh bells in the air. Its been a long while since small boys rolled hoops along the walks and town folk gathered after supper on the lawn to listen to the band play from the banshell near St. Peter's Church.

Delano Village Hall

The need for a Village Hall in Delano was felt early in the history of the town. On September 8, 1887, the Delano Eagle reported; "It has been said that Mr. S. S. Breed offered to donate two lots on Second Street to the village as a site for a town hall." A comment by the editor followed: "If the citizens should desire to build a town hall, it is sincerely hoped a room sufficiently large for theatrical entertainment will be made that acoustic properties will not be overlooked."

At a special election held on September 12, 1887, it was decided to spend $3,500 for a town hall. The vote was 53 to 13. The property was purchased from Mrs. Mary Bentz for $500. A contract for a stove was given to the Kelsey brothers. On October 17, it was voted to purchase brick from Ed Ziebarth. (Mr. Ziebarth's brick factory was on the property now owned by Eugene and Phyllis Grunklee. Mr. Ziebarth made the brick for many of the buildings in Delano.) On March 13, 1888, the contract for erecting the hall was let to E. J. Swedebalk and Swan Erickson for $3,524.

During the Fourth of July celebration, a dance was held in the unfinished Village Hall. On August 24, 1888, the Council accepted the building and the first meeting of the Village Council was held in the building on September 25, 1888.

After completion, the hall became the center of activities. The fire department had a home downstairs. The council offices were also downstairs. Upstairs was the place for meetings, dances and entertainment. Church dinners, school graduation, basketball games, wedding dances and even a funeral was held in the hall upstairs. One Delano resident reported that sometimes wedding dances lasted two to three days. In the morning, after a long night of dancing, farmers would go home to do their chores, the townspeople did their work and in the evening they went back to dancing. The Delano Eagle, in the November 15, 1888 edition, gives this report on the first inhabitant of the new jail: "The new jail was formerly opened and occupied by a drunken Swede Saturday night who was conducted to the handsome structure by several distinguished officers and citizens of the village. He indulged in a song and dance for short time and, after cooling off a little and declaring the house of correction a 'howling success' was liberated."

In September, 1890, work began to build a stage upstairs in the hall so theatrical performances could be held. The next year the village purchased stage scenery to equip the stage. A year later dressing rooms were added on each side of the stage. Also, in 1890 the Delano Dramatic Company offered to pay $100 toward $250 needed for a piano, but the remained could not be raised, so no piano was obtained.

In 1896 the Council voted to build a tower on the building and put a bell in it for fires. In 1905 two jail cells were installed.

The building continued to hold most community functions. Village business offices remained downstairs. In 1940 a library was incorporated into the office. Later the Library was moved. Village elections are always held in the offices downstairs. Franklin Tonship held elections upstairs.

The building was modernized. The two-story outhouse was removed and two bathrooms were put in where the dressing rooms originally were. The stage was removed and a kitchen was put in. A shower and rest room was also installed in the fire hall. The hall upstairs was used often for dances and meetings.

As more buildings were built the Hall was used less and less. Franklin Township stopped using the hall for elections. In 1972 the Delano Recreation Committee held a Mello-Drama as part of their summer program. The Mello-Drama was a great success; it played to 700 people for three summers.

In 1972 the village passed a bond issue to build a new fire station. The Crow River Federated Woman's Club renovated the part of the building that was used by the fire department to be made into a library. The new library was dedicated in April 1974. The village remodeled their offices in 1974 and 1975 and the upstairs remodeled.

The city was both the setting and the primary filming location of the 1998 film A Simple Plan.

Delano Athletics Baseball

Delano was incorporated as a village in 1876, and baseball has been a part of the town ever since. The first team was known as the Delano Millers, and they were known as the “Terrors of the ‘90s.”

Traveling to games was not easy, for there were not as many teams around, and traveling was done by horse and buggy or by train.

As more teams popped up around the state, leagues needed to be formed for better organization. One of the first leagues in the state was the Old Wright County League in 1923. Delano became a member of this league and was sponsored by the American Legion.

The Millers participated in two state tournaments, in 1930 and 1932, before being sponsored by the Delano Fire Department in 1935 to 1939. Delano then switched leagues to the Crow River Valley League with teams from Chaska, Mayer, St. Boni, Watertown, and Young America. During this period, the Millers made it to the state tournament in 1935.

In 1939, Delano went back to the Wright County League, which was one of the strongest leagues in the state. They changed their name to the Delano Colts, and joined Cokato, Darwin, Howard Lake, Kingston, Maple Lake, Waverly, and Watertown in the league.

The Colts continued their winning ways by going to the state tournament in 1940, 1941, and 1942, finishing as runner-up in 1941 and 1942. In 1945 to 1947, the Colts again changed sponsors, this time to the St. Mary’s Youth Club of Czestochowa. During these three years Delano went to the state tournament twice. In 1948, Father Handzel, Perry Ditty, Dutch Styrbicky and Fred Parsons organized the Delano Athletic Club, which became Delano’s new sponsor, and still remains to this day. The Athletic Club quickly went to work, making their first assignment installing light towers for night baseball games. The dedication game was July 4, 1948 with WCCO radio personality Cedric Adams as master of ceremonies. It was that year that the Athletics, as Delano was known, joined the North Star League, where they currently reside. The league played Class A ball, which meant that each team could have two salaried players. Delano returned to a Class B team in 1953, which meant no players were paid. This was done to create more fan interest.

In January 1951, a new North Star League was formed as a merger of the old North Star and Wright County leagues. However, in February of that year, disagreements surrounding which umpire association to use, how long the season should be, and how many teams should be in the league, split the league. Buffalo, Maple Lake, Monticello, Watertown, and Winsted decided to resign from the North Star League and asked Delano to join them. Delano agreed, and the Wright Star League was formed. All six towns had fields with lights, something that is hard to find even 50 years later. The name was changed back to the North Star League, and Delano is the only team in the league that has been a continuous member.The A’s moved back to Class C in 2011, and joined the North Star League East with Loretto, Maple Plain and Mound.

Delano baseball has been through a lot over the years. The A’s have participated in 18 state tournaments (most recently in 2004), winning the Class C Championship in 1988.

Delano has hosted three state tournaments, in 1975, 1984, and 1997, and is scheduled to host a fourth in 2013, with Maple Lake and Howard Lake serving as the other two sites. In 1975, they set a state tournament attendance record (13,170) until it was broken in 1981, when the dual-site tournament started.

Many talented brother combinations have played for Delano, as well. Three Dainsberg brothers, Bud, Harold (Snooks) and Stan, played on the same team in the early 1940s. Rich, Paul, and Tom Ditty played together for many years in the 1960s. In the late 1980s and 1990s, multiple brother combinations were prevalent. Paul, Tom, Dave and Mike Jaunich shared the field, as well as the Muckenhirn trio of Brian, Todd and Brent, and the Traen brothers, Tom and Todd. When the Athletics went to the state tournament in 1992, it was more like a family reunion than a baseball game.

Many individual honors have been bestowed on Athletics players through the years. Delano has three players who have been elected to the prestigious Minnesota Baseball Hall of Fame. Perry Ditty was elected in 1966, Valentine “Dutch Starbuck” Styrbicky was elected in 1968, and Rich Ditty was elected in 1981. The previous players were also elected to the North Star League Hall of Fame, along with Ralph “Buzz” Bernick, Gene Bouley, Marshall “Bud” Dainsberg, Al Juelke, Jerry Litfin, Van Merriman, Frank Muckenhirn, Dick Shaver, Tom Ditty & Richard “RT” Traen.

In 1988, the year the A’s won the state tournament, Dave Ditty was voted Class C Most Valuable Player. Conference MVPs went to Bob Kosower in 1973, Tim French in 1976, Dave Ditty in 1989, and Tom Traen in 1992. Most Valuable Pitcher awards went to Tom Traen in 1981 and 1988, and Jeff Janzen in 1997, 2003 and 2004. Batting titles went to G. Bouley in 1961, Todd Muckenhirn in 1990, and Jeff Olson in 2000 and 2004.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1880 407
1890 889 118.4%
1900 967 8.8%
1910 1,031 6.6%
1920 924 −10.4%
1930 914 −1.1%
1940 1,094 19.7%
1950 1,386 26.7%
1960 1,612 16.3%
1970 1,851 14.8%
1980 2,480 34.0%
1990 2,709 9.2%
2000 3,836 41.6%
2010 5,464 42.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 3,836 people, 1,368 households, and 986 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,492.8 people per square mile (576.4/km²). There were 1,391 housing units at an average density of 541.2 per square mile (209.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.18% White, 0.34% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.31% from other races, and 0.73% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.91% of the population.

There were 1,368 households out of which 45.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.5% were married couples living together, 8.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.9% were non-families. 22.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.80 and the average family size was 3.37.

In the city the population was spread out with 33.5% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 35.4% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 7.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $52,917, and the median income for a family was $63,011. Males had a median income of $40,902 versus $30,562 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,538. About 1.1% of families and 2.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.0% of those under age 18 and 8.8% of those age 65 or over.


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