Highway 81 North

We will travel from Freedom Corner to the north end of Freeman stopping at each business along the way.

Freeman streets didn't expand much past Wipf St from the 1930's to 1950's.  It took until the 1970's to develop a business community on Highway 81.
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Kaufman Feed > Central Farmers Feed Mill

Kaufman Feed Mill was founded here in 1956.  There was one portable feed mill and a second was purchased in 1959.  In 1965 a warehouse was built on Highway 81.  In 1969 a feed mil and grain storage was built on the south side of the warehouse.  Today Central Farmers Feed Mill "FreMar" is here.
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Mehlhaf Manufacturing > Wildcat
Mehlhaf Machine & Manufacturing Co. started out on the Eugene Mehlhaf farm in 1973.  In 1974 Charles Mehlhaf moved the business to Freeman on Highway 81.  In 1978 a 75 x 210 foot warehouse was built.  Wildcat-Viper bought the company in 2002 and Vermeer purchased Wildcat in 2009.  Wildcat-Vermeer manufactures compost turners and trammel screens operating on Highway 81 today.
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Airport Inn/ Covered Wagon
Located to the North of Freedom Garage (Casey's gas station) was a bar/restaurant called the Airport Inn, which opened in the 1940's. Like Freedom Lunch, the Airport Inn was known for the beer.  Albert Krueger had purchased the barracks-style structures from the U.S. Army after World War II.   The Airport Inn ran east west with its front entrance facing the south and accessible from Highway 81.  Krueger later sold it to Ernie Stoebner, who also owned The City Cafe, and Stoebner ran it until 1961. In 1961 Barney and Marie Wrenn bought the Airport Inn and began The Covered Wagon steakhouse.  They remodeled in 1966.  The original barracks building eventually came down and the Wrenn's rebuilt across the street on the east side of Highway 81 in 1978, where "The Covered Wagon" was in business until 1999.

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Bert Tiesen Chiropractor

In 1928 Andrew Schafer and Dr. Emil Tiesen built Freedom Corner.  When Freedom Corner began there was a small stucco house in this area and to the north there were 10 tourist cabins, the forerunners of the motels.  Emil Tiesen started his chiropractor office here in 1928.  He operated here until 1935 when he moved his office to Doland, SD.  In 1939 he returned and operated until 1966.  His son Bert Tiesen joined Emil in 1954 took over the practice in 1966.  In 1979 Dr. Mark Werning joined the practice. 

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Dollar General

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Fensels Electric

In 1931 Wilmer Fensel started Fensel's Hatchery.  In 1949 Wilmer purchased the land where Fensel's is now located on Highway 81.  He built a house in 1950 and planted lots of trees.  The Hatchery moved out into the country in 1964 and there was a fire at the Electric Supply that destroyed the building on Cherry street.  Fensel's moved to Highway 81, was rebuilt, and is still in business today. 
In 1952 a 12 unit motel was built on Highway 81 called Fensel's Motel.  In 1954 a greenhouse was built and a year later a 50 x 24 foot greenhouse was added.  There was a fire that destroyed the greenhouse in 1979 and 1982 another fire but the business survived.  In 1981 a new florist building was constructed and the greenhouse continues to operate on Highway 81 today.
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Triple T
In the 1970's Paul Tiesen ran a Standard Gas Station across from Fensel's.  In 1977 Triple T Inc. was organized by Gary, Orville, and Bert Tiesen and operated here.  This is now the Grand Lab building.
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Fred Haar Co.
In 1882 Fred Haar began a partnership with his brother in the hardware and implement business until 1901.  They bought the Guenthner business on the corner of Third and Main street and moved south on Main street in 1913.  In 1938 Fred retired and in 1972 the business moved to Highway 81.  Fred Haar Co. was incorporated in 1978.   In 2011 Fred Haar Company was sold to C&B Operations. 
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Freeman Coop

The Freeman Coop Gas & Oil Company was organized in 1935 with Henry Miller as manager.  There were financial struggles in the early years and the Coop could barely afford to buy gas, but they survived.  (In 1943 the bulk plant burned down and two tanks exploded, these were located on Railway street NW of Tote).  The Coop began renting the City Service Bulk Plant but two years later the building was condemned.   In 1949 they built a new brick building in place of the Ford Garage on Main street and put in hand gas pumps.  In 1957 there was a Skelly gas station on Main street with full service gas pumps.  In the 1970's the fertilizer plant moved to Highway 81.  In 1971 the LP Gas business started and in 1976 the Coop purchased the Mobile bulk plant.  In 2004 the office moved to Highway 81 and is still open today.


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Rural Manufacturing
Rural Manufacturing was started in 1968 by Vernon Hofer and Joe D. Hofer on a farm west of Freeman.  In 1976 the Rural Manufaturing building was constructed on Highway 81 which is still in operation today.