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Muni celebrates 85 years in 


by Trinity Gruenberg

The Verndale Municipal Liquor Store, or the Muni as it is affectionately called, celebrated 85 years in business in April. The location has been a billiard hall, restaurant, barbershop and has been the town’s long-standing local watering hole.

In June of 1878, the Farwell family purchased 40 acres of land. As Verndale grew, the Farwells sold off individual lots.

The lot that houses the Muni was sold to Elisabeth L. Thomas on July 6, 1882. She died a year later and the property was conveyed to Cecelia Thomas. In 1886, she sold the property to David and Lettie Stevenson. David “Doc” Stevenson was the town’s first barber. In 1889, the Stevensons sold the lot to Mary and James Hendrickson who sold it to Ben and Clara (Hendrickson) LaLone in 1891. It was transferred into Clara’s name solely after Ben died in 1933.

In 1939, the village of Verndale purchased the lot for $2000 and made $25 payments to Clara’s son Guy LaLone. The balance of $597 was paid in 1943 and Clara conveyed the title to the village.

The Pages of History (a book about Verndale’s history) revealed that in 1903 William “Billy” Davidson had the Cozy Nook Saloon with wines, liquors and cigars on the Dickinson Block. He came to Verndale in 1901 to start a business and was “a very affable gentleman to meet.” Young Garnder was hired on as a bartender in 1902.

The liquor store also had an attached billiard hall owned by John Weber which  is where the Muni resides today.

On June 14, 1915, Aldrich Township voted to go dry. The saloons in Verndale were the last in Wadena County to close on December 15, just a few years before the official beginning of prohibition. The last two saloons to close were owned by Andy LaLone and Mr. Peterson. . . .

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