Living in the rural area of Godahl Minnesota means that the nearest towns would be Hanska, St. James, and New Ulm. Nowadays this small distance of 10 to 15 miles can be covered in around 15 minutes, in 1894 that same trip lasted three to four hours by horse and buggy. With many of the residents of this area being farmers, they were in need of supplies quite often and got sick of wasting the day to travel to the nearest town, they needed something closer.
On April 20, 1894 area farmers held a mass meeting, as a result of the meeting the Nelson & Albin Cooperative Mercantile Association. The original trading post was located in the house of Maurice Grotto until the Godahl store was built by volunteers in 1895.
The store has been running continuously since that day and is currently the oldest operating Co-Op in Minnesota and one of the oldest in the entire country. Losing the store will be a massive loss for the small community of Godahl. More than just a general store, the Godahl Store is a gathering place for community members.
Plans for the building after the store stops selling merchandise are still unknown. There are a number of different possibilities, anything from a bar and grill to a museum. The Godahl Store Board will hold a meeting at the end of January to decide the fate of the building.
For the complete story please see the January 5th print edition of the St. James Plaindealer.