A long long time ago there was a Railroad Celebration in Park Rapids. The first train from Wadena came through that day. It was a big deal. There was a parade and people came from miles around to celebrate.
Three young fellows; Willie Fox, Will Zimbrick and John Grandy were in charge of the cannon and inbetween volleys apparently they didn’t get it swabbed out clean enough…there must have been a spark left, enough to cause an explosion that day. Willie and Will lost their hands and parts of their arms in that explosion on August 1 1891. After recovering from their injuries they either got jobs at the Courthouse or resumed jobs there, both served as County Treasurers and lived a normal life even with their handicaps. I recall that one article said that they signed papers with a pen in their teeth.
Sometime in the town history a park with a fountain was built across from the High School. That park had a huge fountain…and the cannon…make that cannons…it seems there were two took up residence there until they were sold for scrap during WWII.
Great Aunt Frances leaning against the outer edge of the fountain about 1920-1922. The cannons are in the background. I was excited to see them and the fountain as there are only a few photos that exist.
Friends of Aunt Frances inside the fountain.
In this photo you can see the railroad cars in the background. The fountain was on the same block as the old Roller Skating/ Ford Garage… now Hugos…formerly J and B Foods.