It came down on Wednesday morning, May 21st, 2014.  The first home built on Main Street became the last home standing on Main Street.  More than 100 years old, it served at least five Victoria families over those years, most recently Ruth Johnson.

According to "Almost Sisters," which was the feature story in the May 2007 issue of the Gazette, Jerry and Ruth Johnson bought the house in 1970 from Florian and Marie Tschimperle, who bought it from Frank and Gertrude Notermann, who bought it from Ben and Louise Diethelm, who bought it from Robert Salter, a descendant of the original homesteader named John Salter.

The above information came from Ruth Johnson who sold the property to the City of Victoria last year for $182,000. 

Ruth had lived there 43 years, which explains why everybody called it the Johnson house.

Ruth's husband Jerry died in his bed in that home in January 1999.  He was 70 years old when colon cancer took its final toll. 

Ruth, who still lives in Victoria, did not come to watch her home go down.  She and Jerry had four children and several grandchildren. 

One of the grandchildren stood by and silently watched the demolition.

 The demolition crew of THN Enterprises dug in at 9 a.m. that Wednesday morning. 

By 9:50 a.m. the house was down.   It took less than an hour for the home to disappear.

City folks stepped outside to watch the activity in back of Victoria City Offices.

Other work, such as asbestos abatement and removal of utilities, occurred prior to demolition. 

Additional work such as excavation and cleanup occurred after demolition. 

According to Ben Diethelm (1898-1981) in the Gazette archives, that house was the first building on the west side of Main Street Victoria. 

The Notermann General Store next to it was the second building.  Behind the store was a barn.

 Ben had stated that he and his wife Louise purchased the home from Robert Salter, a descendant of the Salter brothers. 

According to Oleda Gregory (1905-1999), also from the Gazette archives, the U.S. government sold 149.5 acres to John Salter in 1861 for $120.

The original plat was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.

That acreage included what was to become downtown Victoria, and it extended west to include what is today the Dairy Queen, the Storms Repair Shop, the Dairy Queen, Victoria Circle, and Kirke-Lachen. 

According to Carver County:  Today and Yesterday, a publication celebrating Minnesota's Centennial (1858-1958), the Laketown Post Office was established in 1860 on the John Salter farm near Stieger Lake in Victoria.

Mr. Salter was the first postmaster in 1860 and he served in that position for more than 20 years.

That same publication reported:   "John A. Salter was born in Germany in 1829 . . .

“He came to this township in 1854 and settled west of Victoria in section 14 . . .

“Here he married Sophia  Hartmann in 1859 . . .

“During the Civil War he served one year in Company A, Third Minnesota . . .

“In 1860 the Laketown Post Office was established at his house and he was the first postmaster."

"I guess this is progress," said Victoria City Manager Don Uram.

The now vacant lot was part of a recent city land swap, whereby the city acquired lakeshore property, and is owned by Hartman Brothers of Victoria who plan to construct a large retail and office building that will most likely complement their Clocktower Building across the street.

Parking space to accommodate the new Main Street Building is currently occupied by City Hall, which is proposed to also be on the chopping block.

The End