On the Porch

Burchard was a grain buying point on the Dakota Central division of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, not far from the crossing of the Great Northern Railroad. It is on the southwest quarter of section 11, Shelburne Township, and is about six miles west of Balaton. The photograph featured this week was taken near Burchard (the name is misspelled on the photograph) on Feb. 12, 1912. On the back of the photograph, a man named Earl wrote, “Here is where I worked in 24 hours with two meals.”

In August of 1879, Shelburne Township was organized. In that year, an elevator was built and the place became known as Redwood Station. A town site of two blocks was platted by the railroad company on Sept. 15, 1885, and soon thereafter the little village of Redwood Station began. During the winter of 1885-1886, a hotel building was constructed and opened by William Shafer and a general store was established by P.C. McCann.

A petition for a post office was circulated early in 1886. In April, the post office was named Burchard. It was named in honor of H.M. Burchard, who was the railroad agent in Marshall at the time. The station was changed to Burchard to correspond with the post office. P.C. McCann was the first postmaster. The village did not grow like other towns in Lyon County, but Burchard served as a distribution center for grain for many years.

School District 49 was established in 1879, and a small school house was built in 1881 in the country near Burchard. The school was moved in 1889 to Burchard, and the building was added on to. After the school closed in 1957, the building and its contents were auctioned off and bought by Mark Schwanebeck’s grandfather, Elmer Benson, who used the building to store grain. In 1979, Mark’s parents moved the schoolhouse to Tyler. Today, the school house is located on the grounds of the Balaton Area Historical Society.

The photograph featured this week is a scan of a token in the Lyon County Museum’s collection. The token was distributed by the Ben L. Reinke General Merchandise store in Burchard. This token was good for 50 cents in merchandise purchased at the store.

The Lyon County Historical Society (LCHS) is a nonprofit, member-supported organization. LCHS operates the Lyon County Museum at 301 West Lyon Street in Marshall. The Lyon County Museum is open year-round to visitors. To contact us, visit our website: www.lyoncomuseum.org, call: 507-537-6580, email: director@lyoncomuseum.org, or on our Facebook page.


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