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Home Care In Scandia, MN

Home Care Scandia, MN

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, completing daily tasks like showering and enjoying activities such as visiting the historic Gammelgården Museum of Scandia gets harder without someone by their side. Unfortunately, many older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live far away from long-term, institutionalized facilities and closer to the place where they feel most comfortable - their home. Home care in Scandia, MN is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

 In-Home Care Scandia, MN

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The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they get older. We are proud to have helped more than 25,000 seniors maintain higher levels of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of in-home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs. That way, they may provide care accordingly without compromising their wellbeing.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home services, Always Best Care is here to help.


“Words cannot express how grateful we are for your companies services. We know it can be difficult to schedule around changing situations. We appreciate your flexibility and the care and compassion shown for my mother. A special thanks to your team.”


What is Non-Medical Senior Care in Scandia, MN?


Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it is especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.


When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.


The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.


At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one gets older, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 Senior Care Scandia, MN

Types of Elderly Care in Scandia, MN

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

Personal Care

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming

Respite Care Scandia, MN
Home Helper

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading
 Caregivers Scandia, MN
Companionship Services

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite local activities, such as visiting Bone Lake Park with friends while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community
  • Events and Social Outings
Home Care Scandia, MN
Respite Care

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy nearby activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress reduces the risk of caregiver burnout. So, if you've always wanted to eat at the local Meister's Bar & Grill or visit Swedish Settler's Monument, don't feel bad. Doing so is great for both you and your loved one.

At the end of the day, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible.

If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

 In-Home Care Scandia, MN

Benefits of Home Care in Scandia, MN

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for patients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

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Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit - something that is unavailable to many older people today.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a strange nursing home, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, then, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old.

With the help of elderly care in Scandia, MN, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors.

Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like a nursing home. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier and more affordable to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, seniors who age in the comfort of their homes can save thousands of dollars per month.

In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, are often less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

 Elderly Care Scandia, MN

Affordable Care

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

If your loved one qualifies, Medicaid may help reduce in-home care costs. Review your MN's Medicaid program laws and benefits, and make sure your senior's financial and medical needs meet Medicaid eligibility requirements.
Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.
 Senior Care Scandia, MN

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers.

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Scandia, MN understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Assisted Living Referral Services

While it's true that many seniors prefer to age at home, sometimes in-home care isn't the best fit. For those seniors and their families, choosing an assisted living facility makes more sense. Unfortunately, finding the optimal care facility is easier said than done in today's day and age. That's when Always Best Care's assisted living referral services begin to make a lot of sense.

Assisted living is a form of housing intended for seniors who require varying degrees of medical and personal attention. Accommodations may include single rooms, apartments, or shared living arrangements. Assisted living communities are typically designed to resemble a home-like environment and are physically constructed to encourage the independence of residents.

Respite Care Scandia, MN

At assisted living communities, seniors receive help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They may also benefit from coordination of services with outside healthcare providers, and monitoring of resident activities to ensure their health, safety, and well-being. Caregivers who work at assisted living communities can also provide medication administration and personal care services for older adults.

Other services offered within assisted living communities can include some or all of the following:

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Recreational Activities
  • Social Outings
  • Emergency Medical Response
  • Medication Monitoring
  • Family Visitation
  • Personal Care
 Caregivers Scandia, MN

At Always Best Care, our representatives can match your senior's emotional, physical, and financial needs with viable assisted living communities nearby. Results are based on comparative data, so you can select the best choice for you or your loved one.

Always Best Care works closely with local senior living communities to gain valuable knowledge that we then use to help seniors and their loved ones make informed decisions. This information can include basic care and rent, resident availability, and services provided. Because Always Best Care is compensated by these communities, we provide senior living referral services at no extra cost to you.

Some of the most popular assisted living communities to consider in our area include the following:

  • Scandia Elder Care
  • Justin S. AFC Home - September Cottage Eldercare
Home Care Scandia, MN

For many seniors, moving into a senior living community revolves around how and when they want to make a transition to more involved care. Some seniors are more proactive about transitioning to independent living. Others choose to remain home until their care needs or other requirements are satisfied. Remember - our staff is here to help. Contact our office today to learn more about assisted living communities and how we can find a facility that exceeds your expectations.

 In-Home Care Scandia, MN

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Always Best Care Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

A discussion of your needs and how our trained caregivers can offer assistance in the most effective way


A draft of your care plan, which includes highly detailed notes and a framework for the care that you or your senior will receive


Discuss payment options and help coordinate billing with your insurance provider


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

At the end of the day, we only hire the best of the best at Always Best Care. Whether you need home care in Scandia, MN 24-hours a day or only need a respite for a couple of hours, we are here to serve you.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

 Elderly Care Scandia, MN

Latest News in Scandia, MN

Little Scandia celebrates big legislative success in trail extension and heritage center

For a city with a population of fewer than 4,000 and an annual budget of just $2 million, Scandia is a lobbying powerhouse.The community in north Washington County recently got a major boost – $2 million – from the state bonding bill for its Water Tower Barn Arts & Heritage Center.In addition, the city will receive $2.68 million through the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources to build an extension of the Gateway Trail through Scandia.The efforts of city residents involved in the two proj...

For a city with a population of fewer than 4,000 and an annual budget of just $2 million, Scandia is a lobbying powerhouse.

The community in north Washington County recently got a major boost – $2 million – from the state bonding bill for its Water Tower Barn Arts & Heritage Center.

In addition, the city will receive $2.68 million through the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources to build an extension of the Gateway Trail through Scandia.

The efforts of city residents involved in the two projects have been extraordinary, said Mayor Christine Maefsky.

“We have very committed people, very smart people, people who are willing to work hard,” she said. “We tapped into the strengths of the various members of the community that we’ve got.”

Both efforts are textbook examples of how to lobby for projects at the Capitol.

Water Tower Barn Arts & Heritage Center

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An architect's rendering of the future Water Tower Barn Arts and Heritage Center in Scandia. The Minnesota Legislature included $2 million for the project in its bonding bill during the 2023 session. The renderings were created by architect Peter Hilger, with assistance from CAD designer Vicki Heschke. (Courtesy of Scandia Heritage Alliance)

Members of the Scandia Heritage Alliance gave their first presentation to the House Capital Investment Committee in March 2021 via Zoom. Longtime lobbyist Bill Strusinski, who moved to Scandia four years ago, and retired Rep. Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, secured the group’s “place at the table,” said Sue Rodsjo, chairwoman of the Scandia Heritage Alliance board.

Then the Capital Investment Committee came to Scandia on their bonding tour in November 2021, and the group presented the plans for the project during an information session at the Gammelgarden Museum, Rodsjo said.

“Little towns don’t have the revenue to do big projects, so we need funding to make things happen,” Rodsjo said. “We have tapped into a network of amazing Scandia volunteers – you wouldn’t believe the talent in this community. Never underestimate what a group of passionate individuals can accomplish.”

The Water Tower Barn Arts & Heritage Center will be located just south of the Scandia Community Center and east of the Gammelgarden Museum. The city is having its historic Hilltop Water Co. barn – complete with working windmill – reassembled on the site. The center will include a museum on the history of Scandia, an outdoor amphitheater, an indoor stage, a splash pad play area for kids, and a wetland overlook and trails.

The board owes a “debt of thanks” to Strusinski and attorney John Herman, who live in Scandia and “just happen to be experts on legislative funding opportunities,” Rodsjo said.

Strusinski said he and his wife, Kirsten Libby, were looking for “a space out in the country” when they decided to leave St. Paul’s Crocus Hill neighborhood four years ago. In Scandia, they “found a beautiful community with very friendly and accommodating folks, and we fit right in,” he said. “They’re progressive minded on a lot of things.”

Regional significance, local commitment

The Legislature is interested in participating in projects if they have regional or statewide significance – projects like the Gateway Trail extension and the Water Tower Barn Arts & Heritage Center, Strusinski said.

Communities that can raise some money locally to help match the state dollars have an even better chance of getting their projects funded, he said.

“In the case of Scandia, we have people here from a philanthropic outlook, happy to step up to the plate to help finance these projects,” Strusinski said. “They have loyalty and commitment to the community, and it demonstrates why it’s a good place to live and recreate. That let the state dollars get spread to many other local communities.”

To date, Scandia Heritage Alliance has raised about $600,000 in cash and donated professional services, materials and park land provided by the city, Rodsjo said.

Alliance members plan to launch a capital campaign this fall to raise additional foundation grants and individual contributions.

In addition, the alliance is working with MacDonald and Mack Architects to coordinate an effort to have the Water Tower Barn added to the National Register of Historic Places, which opens the opportunity for historic preservation grants from the Minnesota Historical Society, she said.

“We are confident in our ability to raise the remaining funds, and we hope to begin construction in 2025,” she said.

SHA board member Dan Willius said the city’s Water Tower Barn is historically significant because it was the “first appearance of commerce in the community.”

“If you look at Gammelgarden’s focus it’s really on the first settlers who came here to get settled and once they were settled, the next chapter happens, and that’s what we want to start with,” he said. “The fact that this was the first site of commerce in the community was important, but the Water Tower Barn was also all about clean water. Farmers would come with their tank trucks because it was a lot less expensive to get water here than to build a well. It fed the neighborhood with clean water.”

Gateway Trail extension

Bicyclists and walkers in the Scandia area also were big winners this legislative session. Backers of a three-mile extension of the Gateway Trail received $2.68 million in LCCMR funding. The Gateway Trail currently runs 19 miles — from St. Paul to Pine Point Park in Stillwater Township — and attracts an estimated 125,000 users a year.

The $2.6 million will cover one mile of trail from downtown Scandia – the trailhead will be located behind Meister’s Bar and Grill – to Oakhill Road, where there will be a tunnel going under Oakhill, said Lisa Philippi, president of Friends of Scandia Parks and Trails, who helped lead the effort.

The money also will cover a realignment of Oakhill Road to accommodate the new tunnel, Philippi said; the trail extension will be built by December 2026.

Friends of Scandia Parks and Trails will be working to raise additional funds to cover the mile of trail that would take bicyclists from the Oakhill tunnel to William O’Brien State Park and another mile of trail within the park, she said.

“While Scandia is a popular road-bicycling destination, there is strong community support and a need for off-road trails so families and children can use and access William O’Brien to and from Scandia,” Philippi said. “This will be great for families. There’s currently not a safe off-road place for families to bike.”

Eventually, the Gateway Trail will connect Pine Point Park and William O’Brien State Park, Philippi said. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources can’t do that section yet “because they haven’t purchased the land yet,” she said. “But that will happen someday.”

Both projects will help put Scandia on the map, Mayor Maefsky said.

“They are going to encourage the kind of growth that we want to have here, which is people who care about the history, who care about the arts, who care about the environment and recognize that that’s what the city is committed to and want to be a part of it,” she said.

Dinner cruise to celebrate Walter Mondale’s love of Scandia and the St. Croix

Wherever you go in Scandia – or up and down the St. Croix River Valley, for that matter – you can’t help but come across the legacy of Walter Mondale.He ate here. He slept here. He relaxed here. And through the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, he made sure that the St. Croix would remain unspoiled so that future generations could enjoy it as much as he did.America’s 42nd vice president is as much a part of Scandia’s heritage as the immigrants who made it Minnesota’s first Swedis...

Wherever you go in Scandia – or up and down the St. Croix River Valley, for that matter – you can’t help but come across the legacy of Walter Mondale.

He ate here. He slept here. He relaxed here. And through the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, he made sure that the St. Croix would remain unspoiled so that future generations could enjoy it as much as he did.

America’s 42nd vice president is as much a part of Scandia’s heritage as the immigrants who made it Minnesota’s first Swedish settlement. To celebrate Mondale’s connection to Scandia and his love of the river, Scandia Heritage Alliance is sponsoring a dinner cruise June 8 featuring stories, history, photos – and the food that Mondale loved.

Longtime friend Peter Gove, who will present that history, notes that Mondale’s first date with his future wife, Joan, was on the St. Croix. They owned a cabin in Scandia for 26 years that was a summer gathering place for generations of their family. Mondale may have been one of the most powerful men in the world, but he also was a member of the Scandia community, patronizing its festivals, local restaurants and shops.

Joan told reporters during Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign that he loved to cook because it was an all-consuming contrast to his public life. He wrote down recipes on scraps of paper or the backs of envelopes, and then stuffed them into a card file.

The casual buffet on board the river cruise will include recipes from the Mondale family recipe book, including Fettucine a la Pimento Mondale, wild rice casserole, a salad and a selection of Mondale family favorite sweets. Chicken will be served on the side.

Proceeds from the evening will support Scandia Heritage Alliance, which strives to preserve and celebrate Scandia’s history, culture, arts, and rural character. Its projects include the Water Tower Barn arts and heritage center, Scandia Heritage Trail and Scandia History Series.

The event will launch from Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours at Interstate Park at 6 p.m. on June 8. Tickets are $70 per person, and available at through May 31. You can also contact Susan Rodsjo at 651-233-0267 to reserve your space and send a check to Scandia Heritage Alliance, PO Box 159, Scandia, MN 55073.

Scandia softball players head to Hall of Fame

Three former Scandia softball players will be inducted to the 2022 Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame at the 32nd annual Minnesota Sports Federation’s Softball Hall of Fame banquet on Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Grand Casino in Hinckley.According to the press release from the Minnesota Sports Federation, there are 22 individuals in this hall of fame class, including former players, coaches, managers, umpires, organizers and promoters.The press release also states that the Hall of Fame “biennially recognizes individuals w...

Three former Scandia softball players will be inducted to the 2022 Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame at the 32nd annual Minnesota Sports Federation’s Softball Hall of Fame banquet on Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Grand Casino in Hinckley.

According to the press release from the Minnesota Sports Federation, there are 22 individuals in this hall of fame class, including former players, coaches, managers, umpires, organizers and promoters.

The press release also states that the Hall of Fame “biennially recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of softball.”

Among them are Scandia’s Doniver Ahlm, Jim Lindberg and Phil Anderson.

“I was very emotional when I found out,” Ahlm said. “I really was because it isn’t something you expect, and it is quite an honor.”

Lindberg said he was “very happy and excited” and Phil’s son David Anderson said it is “pretty cool” to see that his late father will be inducted this weekend.

Phil was a catcher for Wayne Erickson, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame back in 1984. And Lindberg was also excited to see Phil get in.

“He was part of a group of people that organized and got a lighted ball field built in Scandia,” Lindberg said.

David and his brother were actually the ball boys for the team at one point, and he ended up playing about 20 years himself, including some time with Ahlm and Lindberg. Ahlm played shortstop, his favorite position, outfielder and catcher.

As David put it, “He could do it all.”

“Doniver was an unbelievable good defensive player just about anywhere. ... I played with a lot of world class ballplayers in fastpitch softball, and I don’t know of one that I would say is more valuable than he is,” Lindberg said.

Reflecting on the memories, Ahlm said he most appreciates his wife’s support during his softball playing days.

“My wife followed me through all the games. She was just a trooper,” Ahlm said.

As for Lindberg, he was a highly regarded pitcher.

“Jim Lindberg was probably one of the next best pitchers in the state,” David said.

When Lindberg’s catcher retired, Ahlm was the guy on deck, because he warmed Lindberg up before games.

“I didn’t like it. He beat me up pretty bad because Lindberg threw really hard,” Ahlm said.

Both graduates of Forest Lake Area High School, the two still remain close friends today.

Their favorite memory was a quarterfinal game in a regional tournament against Mankato, who Lindberg said was the top team in the state at that point after being fourth in the nation a year prior.

The game lasted 25 innings with the final scoring being 2-1. Lindberg pitched every single one of them.

“So we really screwed up that whole tournament,” Ahlm said.

Lindberg got to relive his glory days at a tournament in Scandia two years ago. He thought he was throwing the opening pitch but he was told to stay out there and finish the inning. Lindberg allowed a home run, but he finished the inning.

Scandia Draws on Its Roots with Reconstruction of Water Tower Barn

Heritage Alliance Looks to Develop Water-Focused CenterFrom the Fall 2023Waterline A complete list of feature stories can be found on the Waterline webpage.Frank Lake's mercantile from the 1890s lives on as the Scandia Market & Mercantile.Transplanting Dakota and Ojibwe people in the area, Swedish immigrants sett...

Heritage Alliance Looks to Develop Water-Focused Center

From the Fall 2023Waterline

A complete list of feature stories can be found on the Waterline webpage.

Frank Lake's mercantile from the 1890s lives on as the Scandia Market & Mercantile.

Transplanting Dakota and Ojibwe people in the area, Swedish immigrants settled in a region 35 miles northeast of the Twin Cities beginning in the 1850s. With a name reflective of its Scandinavian heritage, New Scandia Township eventually became the city of Scandia, the status change because of concerns of annexation by Forest Lake, its neighbor to the west. According to a historical marker in town, by 1920 nearly a quarter of Minnesota’s foreign-born residents were from Sweden, making it the home of more Swedes than any other state.

As for those who ended up in Scandia, the city’s web site says, “Many of these settlers came by way of New York City, making their way to the St. Croix River and finally Log House Landing, where they [were] greeted [by] a landscape reminiscent of their homelands – land that had been ceded by Dakota tribes in the Treaty of 1837.”

With its eastern boundary extending to the St. Croix River between Taylors Falls and Stillwater (see map below), Scandia covers an area of nearly 40 square miles. Most of its 4,000 residents are clustered in a section around Olinda Trail and Minn. Hwy 97.

Rather than a municipal water system, Scandia is served by individual wells and a number of private enterprises, Scandia Water Company and Hilltop Water Company being the primary ones. Drinking water from these two systems comes from a pair of wells approximately 300 feet deep into the Jordan and Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifers. The roots of the city’s private water supplies can be traced to the early years of the Swedish influx.

History Out of the early dairy farmers who helped one another to survive, set up a church, and generate a few businesses, it was the second-generation immigrants who promoted area commerce. The most notable was Frank Lake, who opened the Scandia Farmers Store (later called the Scandia Mercantile) on the northeast corner of Two Church and Boney Lake roads (now Olinda Trail and Oakhill Road, respectively). Lake’s store sold everything from fashions to farm equipment.

The mercantile still exists on this spot. Behind it is a replica of a barn and tankhouse built by Lake on the site. The replica houses pipes and pressure tanks, and it has a well outside it. The original structure was dismantled nearly 10 years ago with the logs photographed and cataloged. The Scandia Heritage Alliance hopes to reconstruct the building a couple of blocks to the south and have it as the highlight of a regional arts and heritage center. Alliance board chair Sue Rodsjo says the center will have a water theme with historical displays and educational activities. “It will demonstrate to the public the 19th century ingenuity and engineering that was used.”

The ingenuity refers to the barn and tankhouse Lake built to serve local businesses and the community. Tankhouses were typically built by railroads and municipalities, but Scandia’s was built by a local entrepreneur. “Before local farmers had the means to dig their own wells, they often had cisterns that could be filled with water from the tankhouse,” Rodsjo explained, adding, “It was unique that it was run by a local resident.”

The Aermotor Windmill Lake built the barn to stable his delivery horses and added a windmill to pull water into the elevated tankhouse. He used wooden pipes for supplying water to his store and to his neighbors. A horse-drawn wagon delivered water to outlying homes and farms, allowing the burgeoning community to flourish.

The Aermotor windmill was becoming a familiar sight through the Midwest and achieved even greater prominence at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Lake purchased the Aermotor all-metal wind-powered pump for his water supply. The well on the site was partially under and adjacent to the barn, and the windmill powered a long rod to bring water to the tower. The heritage alliance still has that rod, which will be used in the rebuilt barn and tankhouse along with the original clapboard siding, barn doors, and the post-and-beam structure.

The windmill was gone by the end of the 1930s, made obsolete by rural electrification, but water still flows from the barn’s well to local customers. In addition, the barn’s distinctive cupula – built to support the windmill – remained part of the gable-roofed structure. Different windmills were used through the decades, and one will be included on the rebuilt barn and tankhouse. Rodsjo said they are looking at replicating the windmill from the 1920s, which was during the self-oiling era.

Current Project At the time that the structure was taken down in 2014, the Hilltop Water Company had underground pressure tanks. A source water protection grant from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) helped the utility to dig up the tanks and fill in the ground. Above-ground tanks were installed on the same site and housed within a replica of the original bank and tankhouse, constructed at about one-quarter the scale of the original. The well is just outside the replica building.

With the dismantling of the original Water Tower Barn, the Scandia Heritage Alliance received a $10,000 grant from the Minnesota Historical Society to research the history, engineering, and design of the tankhouse, pump, and windmill construction. The tankhouse is believed to be the only one remaining in the state, and the alliance is seeking to have it placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The city recently was awarded $2.2 million from the state bonding bill for the arts and heritage center as well $2.68 million through the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources for an extension of the Gateway Trail through Scandia.

According to the alliance, “The restored barn will showcase 19th-century craftsmanship, including hand-hewn logs in a post-and-beam structure, and an operational tankhouse. An elevated wooden water tank will occupy the tower, and a windmill will sit atop the barn’s cupola.”

The Water Tower Barn Arts & Heritage Center will include an indoor stage and outdoor amphitheater, a water play area, trails, and a wetland overlook. The center’s water focus will educate visitors with interpretative displays on the importance of its wetlands, lakes, streams, aquifers, and the St. Croix River.

If all that is somehow not enough, Rodsjo said an additional focus on water will be a historic hand pump, which visitors may use to fill their water bottles.

Water Tower Barn Project

Above: The replica of the barn and tankhouse. Below: An artist’s rendition of the rebuilt structure.

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Scandia, Minnesota's big plans to rebuild iconic water tower barn

INTERVIEWER: The town of Scandia in northern Washington County near the Wisconsin border is small. It's about 4,000 people, but it got a big win from the legislature this year. Tucked into the state bonding bill, $2.2 million toward rebuilding Scania's iconic Water Tower Barn and creating an Arts and Cultural Heritage Center in Downtown Scandia.A group of dedicated volunteers have been dreaming and planning about this center for more than 10 years, and the story they want to tell encompasses the first Swedish settlers in Minnesota. Su...

INTERVIEWER: The town of Scandia in northern Washington County near the Wisconsin border is small. It's about 4,000 people, but it got a big win from the legislature this year. Tucked into the state bonding bill, $2.2 million toward rebuilding Scania's iconic Water Tower Barn and creating an Arts and Cultural Heritage Center in Downtown Scandia.

A group of dedicated volunteers have been dreaming and planning about this center for more than 10 years, and the story they want to tell encompasses the first Swedish settlers in Minnesota. Susan Rodsjo is the founding member of the Scandia Heritage Alliance, and she's on the line with us. Hey, Susan.

SUSAN RODSJO: Hello, how are you?

INTERVIEWER: I am fine. Thank you for joining us. I appreciate it. I must tell you, I have never seen the Scandia Water Tower Barn, and I'm pretty familiar with the area. Where is it? What does it look like?

SUSAN RODSJO: Well, right now, it's actually stored inside of a barn, because it was dismantled in 2014. But it was a very iconic building that stood behind the mercantile that's right in the center of our village center, but right now, it's actually dismantled and stored in another barn.

INTERVIEWER: And that whole area in Downtown Scandia is pretty cute. So why is it important? Why do you want to save it? And actually, I guess, it's dismantled, but you want to put it together. And what's important about the architectural details of it?

SUSAN RODSJO: Yeah, so this building really was a very iconic structure. It's pretty unusual to see a barn sitting in the middle of a little downtown area, and it was what's called a tank house. We called it the Scandia Water Tower Barn, and it was built by Frank Lake in about 1895. He was an early entrepreneur who built the mercantile that was sort of the center of anything happening along with the church and town, of course, back in the late 1800s, early 1900s.

A tank house is something that has a tower on it. It held a wood water tank and provided water to the local businesses and communities. We know that there, actually, back in the day, were wood water pipes, if you can believe it, that went underground to the local homes, so like a square, wood pipe with a hole drilled through it. It's very unique in that it wasn't your typical barn.

It was a barn that had a large tower on the top with a curved roof on it. It had sort of a cupola of sorts that would hold that windmill. That then was powered by the wind and pulled water out of the ground to send to these homes and businesses. Now, this is something that was really typical of a railroad, a [INAUDIBLE], or even a large ranch. But this was rather unusual that he created this to help businesses start in Scandia before there was a city to do it.

INTERVIEWER: Hmm, so this is almost like the municipal, an early municipal water system.

SUSAN RODSJO: Yeah, except for that it was run by a local businessman instead, and what's really interesting is that it was a very unique building that many of us thought was kind of-- it was very representative of Scandia. You always saw it when you drove into town, a very unusual looking building, because it had this huge water tower on top of it with a curved roof, very passionate about it. And we're sad when-- it was owned by a-- back in the--


--that was associated with this building. So even into when it was dismantled, these homes were still getting water from this building.

So the Hilltop Water Company had purchased the building back in the 1970s, but it came to a point, where it was hard to continue maintaining it. It was starting to fall apart, so they chose to take it down rather than to continue maintaining it. But there were a number of us that were very passionate about this building and worked very closely with Hilltop Water Company to have it dismantled by a barn restoration company. We did some early research on the building and learned that it is or, I guess, is or was the only remaining tank house in the state of Minnesota, and there's a number of tank houses in California, primarily in the wine district, that are on the National Register of Historic Places. So it's known to be a very historic--


And we are working really closely, Scandia Heritage Alliance is with the State Historic Preservation Office to put it on the National Register of Historic Places once it's rebuilt.

INTERVIEWER: So I'm wondering. Once this is all rebuilt-- and I mentioned to folks listening that you're hoping this will be an Arts and Cultural Heritage Center. What do you want to see in this center? What's the ultimate goal here?

SUSAN RODSJO: Well, the whole center will focus on the Water Tower Barn. That will be the central element of the Arts and Heritage Center, and it will have multiple purposes. So the Water Tower Barn will be a museum with a plan. We're working with the State Historic Preservation Office to put it on the National Register of Historic Places as an element or as an example of the iconic engineering that was created at the time that it had a windmill on it.

So we still have elements of the windmill and then the pump that was operated by the wind, and we'd like to recreate that, so that the public can come and see how this windmill engineering worked. So it was a very short lived time frame when windmills were big. So they became really, really big when the Chicago World's Fair happened, and Aermotor was the company that they really took the world by storm with this new type of windmill that they came out with in the late 1890s.

And Frank Lake, who operated the building in Scandia, sold these windmills, so we'll bring back that windmill. We'll bring back a hand water pump. People can actually come to the Arts and Heritage Center and pump water by hand kind of like you can do at the Harriet Island Pavilion, but it'll also be a place, where we can remove the museum displays and have art shows.

It'll have a small stage for small productions, music, theater, and then we'll have an amphitheater outside that can seat about 260 people. So it'll be a beautiful garden setting, kind of a splash pad for kids outside. Also, the whole setting is surrounded by rain gardens. We'll have a rain garden, but it's surrounded by wetlands on all three sides.

So we'll have a wetland overlook and some wetland trails, but the whole thing is kind of themed with water to be able to talk about how this windmill provided clean water for the early Swedish families that were in Scandia. And the later immigrants that came helped provide water for businesses, as well as before farmers had the money to drill their own well, they could get water from this tank house, fill their cisterns with it. So we'll celebrate water and clean water throughout this whole facility and be a place, where theater companies and musicians can come and share their talents.

INTERVIEWER: I know you had a chunk of money from the state of Minnesota, but I'm going to assume here, you're going to have to do more fundraising, right?

SUSAN RODSJO: Yeah, the state of Minnesota with the state bond financing requires-- you know, their goal is to pay for half of a project, so that we have to raise the second half. We've already raised about $600,000 towards that, but we will be launching a big capital campaign.

INTERVIEWER: And it's interesting to me. This is a community driven effort. Not every historical preservation project makes it this far. So what do you think it is about the building, the effort, that area of Washington County that has coalesced in your project's made it this far?

SUSAN RODSJO: It's really interesting. What I have discovered is that Scandia is somewhat of a sleepy, agricultural town, but there's so much talent. It's unbelievable, and we've gathered together a group of really passionate individuals who really loved this barn. And I think, I would say, Scandia is kind of like a little engine that could.

I think I can. I think I can, but we were really blessed early on that our Mayor Christine Maefsky knew an attorney John Herrman, who I would imagine a lot of your listeners are probably familiar with his name. He was an attorney at the time that he retired with Faegre Baker Daniels, who worked with cultural and public assistance projects, and a big part of his job was state bond financing projects. And he worked with things, like the Ordway Theater with the Minneapolis Institute of Art and big projects.

So we were blessed from the very beginning to have John as a board member with us, and he kept telling us early on, "I think we can do state financing," and explaining to us how that works--


How does this work? What do we do? He was very patient, and it's a complicated process. But it's something that any community in the state of Minnesota can take advantage of. Next, we're blessed with one of the best lobbyists at the state capitol, moving to Scandia five years ago, Bill Strusinski. So he's been a great partner with us, working with our legislators on promoting the project, also, helping us understand the steps that we need to take to seek state bond financing.

INTERVIEWER: All right, sounds like you've got it all together.

SUSAN RODSJO: So we have these wonderful volunteers, yeah.

INTERVIEWER: And plus, a really cool, little town. Susan, I've got to run. I wish you the best. Thank you so much.

SUSAN RODSJO: Thank you for having us. We really appreciate it.

INTERVIEWER: Susan Rodsjo is the founding member of the Scandia Heritage Alliance, which is a volunteer effort, as you heard, to reconstruct the Scandia Water Tower Barn as a center for an Arts and Cultural Heritage Center in Scandia.

Transcription services provided by 3Play Media.


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