The Commercial Hotel (on the National Register of Historic Places, now repurposed as the Commercial Apartments), is a three-story Queen Anne Style, late Victorian brick building on South Jefferson St. in Wadena, Minnesota, that served as an anchor for the Askew family, especially the women of the Askew family, for decades. I’m still trying to understand this aspect of the Askew family, so this post will serve as a place to gather my notes and sources about the Askews at the Commercial Hotel. I have a lot to learn about this subject, so please do leave comments if you can further illuminate the subject.
In the Spring of 1901, Joseph Askew and his wife Jane leased a three-story brick hotel called the Wadena Hotel. They soon renamed the hotel the Commercial Hotel, as their target customers were travelling salesmen who came by train and needed a place to eat, sleep, and display their goods. After a time, Joseph purchased the Hotel for an estimated $10,000 (the equivalent of about $275,000 in today’s dollars).
The death of my great-great-grandmother Harriet S. “Hattie” (Eddy) Askew, young wife of Wilfred L. Askew, was a bit of a mystery at the time she died, and it’s been a big mystery to me for years, given that the evidence I had (mainly family stories until recently) was scant and often contradictory. I had reported in previous posts (here and here) that Hattie died of pneumonia while on a trip to Cripple Creek, Colorado, and that she was buried in Cripple Creek. I had also heard that she died on a train while travelling between Cripple Creek and Wadena, Minnesota. More recently, I heard another version, that “Hattie’s death was in childbirth, the baby died too. It was in a snowstorm and they could not get the doctor there in time.” Continue reading →
I introduced the Prettyman barbershop in yesterday’s last post. The four Prettyman brothers—Roy, Irvin, Charles, and Clarence—appear to have worked in and managed a barbershop in Wadena, Minnesota, from the 1910s through at least the early 1920s. Yesterday I presented what I thought were the only two photos I had of the barbershop, asking my readers to help me identify the men in the photographs and to discover what other details could be learned about the barbershop, including its location.
Since that post, I’ve discovered that I actually have a scan of another photo of the barbershop, plus scans of the back of these photos, which contain helpful information recorded by the Wadena Area Historical Society. As a result, I now know where the barbershop was located—110 Jefferson Street South in Wadena.
My great-grandfather, Charles Austin Prettyman, and his three brothers ran a barbershop in Wadena, Minnesota in the 1910s through at least the early 1920s. All four Prettyman boys were involved with the barbershop—Roy, Irvin, Charles, and Clarence. In fact, when my grandfather, William Prettyman, was born in 1919, his father’s profession was listed on the birth certificate as “barber.”
I’ve found two photos of the barbershop, but because I don’t know who is who in these photos, I’m hoping my Prettyman relations out there can help me sort that out.
My grandmother, Harriet (Askew) Prettyman, attended Wadena, MN, public schools from kindergarten through her high school graduation. While organizing some of her old photos, I came across her Wadena High School yearbook from 1941. She had apparently taken it with her to her 40th high school reunion, as there are photos and other materials from that reunion, and she had written “deceased” next to the yearbook photos of all of her class members who had passed away. Other than that and some scotch tape to fasten several of the photos, the yearbook appears to be in pretty much the same condition that it was in when she first received it.