FALL-DER-ALL in Froelich, Iowa

| April/May 1998

  • Ken David with his Oil City engine
    Ken David with his Oil City engine.
  • The general store in Froelich
    The general store in Froelich.

  • Ken David with his Oil City engine
  • The general store in Froelich

PO Box 432 Eitzen, Minnesota 55931-0432

The plaque on the monument beside the flag pole says:

In this village John Froelich built the first gasoline tractor that propelled itself backward as well as forward. Far-reaching in its effect on modern agricultural history, it moved out of this village and into the world in 1892.

Later that year Mr. Froelich joined with others in organizing The Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Company which later became the John Deere Tractor Company.

The brochure put out by the Froelich Foundation states that the village was settled in the early 1870s at the point where the narrow gauge railroad crossed the old military road that ran from Fort Crawford to Fort Atkinson. The first building was a creamery. There is a windmill at the site now. It could be over the old creamery well. The Creamery was short lived. The building was moved to where the monument now stands and became a grocery store. One story has it that it became the blacksmith shop when the Froelichs built the present store building now called Burlingame's.

Apparently, because of the railroad, the village prospered with the store, blacksmith shop and other businesses and homes. At one time, Froelich had a population of fifty or more. According to the Foundation's brochure, it was Froelich's traction engine invention in 1892 that gave the village its 'claim to fame.' Storekeeper Lon Burlingame, and the archives at the John Deere tractor Company in Waterloo, have helped verify the facts of local history.


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