‘This Old House’ torn down on Highway 71

By Sarah A century-old house in Park Rapids went under the wrecking ball Friday morning to make room for progress that pleased no one. The old house was too expensive to purchase and prohibitive to move, said ...

Tearing down the house
The house on South Park Avenue came down in a half hour. It has been pretty well salvaged by interested parties. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

By Sarah Smith

A century-old house in Park Rapids went under the wrecking ball Friday morning to make room for progress that pleased no one.
The old house was too expensive to purchase and prohibitive to move, said demolition expert Todd Sanquist. He said it was a shame.
A massive salvage operation took place in the days before the demolition. Sanquist generously opened the home to salvagers for two days. They took the hardwood floors, wainscoting, light fixtures and cabinets.
The home at 413 South Park Avenue (Highway 71) was built in 1920. It will live on all over the county in various forms, due to the numerous salvagers and scrappers that went through it.
Hugo’s has bought the block to

build a strip mall.
Chief business development officer Leon Merck said the company is looking at a strip mall with condominiums above it.
Sanquist was interrupted every few minutes Wednesday by passersby asking if they could salvage anything in the house. He eventually gave in.
Because it has struck a chord with many folks in Park Rapids and Sanquist’s liability insurer won’t allow public access to the house, the salvaged parts were stacked curbside starting Thursday afternoon for the public to take as people wish, Sanquist said.
Trucks filled with windows, woodwork and other items made trips to and from the house.
Workers on Wednesday removed asbestos siding from the exterior walls.
“It’s a shame,” said a subcontractor.
He and another sub found a written history upstairs in the three-story house they salvaged. Sanquist had photographed it and was showing it on his smart phone. The workers left it on a counter, where Shari Sandquist picked it up. She, too, had it on her phone.
The home was originally built in 1920 by Frederick Long, a partner in the Wilson Logging Company. He later managed the Park Rapids Mill and Elevator Co. in Park Rapids.
Long, an active politician, served on local school boards and in the Minnesota House in 1923-25 and in the Senate from 1927-29 as a delegate from the 63rd District, according to the history.
The building contractor was Fred Hauber, who was given permission to use the best materials available in the structure. Long and wife Ellen raised their three children, Ted, Mildred and Evelyn in the house until Ellen’s death in the early 1930s, the history of “THIS OLD HOUSE” continued.
Long and his second wife, Jennie, continued to live in the house.
A smaller house was moved two lots north to 407 So. Park Ave., which eventually was turned into an antique store.
The main house became rental property until 1945, when it was sold to Palmer and Sadie Sunde.
“Dick” Sunde, as he was known, was a foreman at Minnesota Power and Light Co. until 1964, the history indicated, the house was rented by floors, the main floor to the Sundes and the second floor to Mabel Wagner and her son, Earl.
The Sundes raised their two children, Richard and Renee, along with a niece and nephew in the home.
It remained in the Sunde family until Sadie’s death in October 1989 and Dick in 1991.
The estate then owned the home.
“It will be a multi-use facility,” Merck said, “probably a strip mall with condos above.”
Merck said “it was an old beautiful house” but there were “issues with the moving costs.”
Since no offers were made to take the home as a whole, demolition was a regrettable step, Merck acknowledged.
Tom Koch, a rental property owner, was salvaging as much of the woodwork as he could. It easily came off the walls with a pry bar.
For Sanquist the demolition was a sad event. He, his parents and son Will, all participated. Ralph Sanquist handled the wrecking machine.
Todd’s mother, Shari, recalled the song, “Paved Paradise, Put Up a Parking Lot” as sheets of the home fell to the ground.
“It’s sad,” she said of the historic home being torn down.
“He’s like a kid in a candy store,” said one of Sanquist’s employees of owner Ralph Sanquist, who was operating the backhoe.
It took a half hour for the home to be demolished, a sad day for Park Rapids.

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