Boyhood memories include historic houseWhen retired U.S. Foreign Service employee Ronald Flack, now living in Paris, read the story about the historic Weyerhaeuser house on the Pine Journal Web site last week, it elicited some happy memories of his life growing up in that same Cloquet neighborhood as a boy.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
When retired U.S. Foreign Service employee Ronald Flack, now living in Paris, read the story about the historic Weyerhaeuser house on the Pine Journal Web site last week, it elicited some happy memories of his life growing up in that same Cloquet neighborhood as a boy. Likewise, his brother Douglas, now living in Washington, D.C., also read the story and reminisced about some of his own special recollections of the house at One Park Place.
“I was born and raised in Cloquet (Cloquet High School Class of 1952) and lived at 318 Avenue C (just down the street a few blocks from your offices),” Ronald wrote in an e-mail this week to the Pine Journal.
“In my youth we went to Park Place very, very often,” he continued. “It was just a few steps from our house. We played football on the big lawn of One Park Place and from time to time saw old Mr. Weyerhaeuser. I remember his black 1939 Packard limousine and he once let me sit in the back seat. I also remember his two huge Mastiff dogs, and the driver/gardener who took care of them. There was a large doghouse behind the garage of the big house and when the dogs were not there, we used to play in the dog house. It was two rooms and big enough for us to fit uncomfortably inside.....One of the mastiff dogs was buried in the front lawn, close to the tennis court. I am sure that all vestiges of that strange, small grave are long gone.”
“The guard shack at the top of the hill was the ‘hang-out’ of my group of friends from the neighborhood. I do not remember any security guards at all. In the summer we used to take our sleeping bags and spend the night there. I recall an afternoon in August 1945 when we all were there and one of our mothers came up to tell us that President Roosevelt had died.
“We rarely went into the Weyerhaeuser house. It was closed most of the time, but I remember a birthday party there for one of the Driscoll daughters. I was impressed by the size of the house. My home on Avenue C was very nice but much more modest in size. My father bought the house new in 1939 from Tim Redfeld for $6,000. I have very fond memories of that house and of the neighborhood. Above the Weyerhaeuser house was a small pine forest we called simply ‘The Pines.’ It was a great place for us to play. Those small pine trees must now be very big.
“Cloquet was, and I suppose still is, a wonderful town,” Flack concluded. “Having lived all over the world in my diplomatic career, I remembered it well as a sort of fairy tale place that was almost to good to be true.”
His brother Douglas, 10 years Ron’s senior, also shared some of his early memories.
“I graduated from Cloquet High School with the Class of 1941,” Ronald said. “I remember the driver-gardener [at the Weyerhaeuser house] was a big, strong, friendly fellow along with the big dogs. About 1940, I had a Model T Ford. He would grab the front wheel and lift it off the ground! Later on he showed me how to do it. It was easy for him but really difficult for me.
“I remember my growing up years in Cloquet with pleasure,” he concluded. “Life was simple and uncomplicated.”
Anyone with additional anecdotes or memories of the historic Weyerhaeuser house is invited to pass them along to the Pine Journal by e-mailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact owners Tom and Beth Collins at 218-878-1327. For a photo “tour” of the historic house, visit cloquetoneparkplace.com.