Downtown Crookston: Majestic tree gets some love

Mike Christopherson
Crookston Times

    Tana Hultgren has worked on South Main in downtown Crookston for years, and has seen the tree day after day as she’s gone to and from work at Widseth Smith Nolting & Associates (now Widseth).

    Recently, she took a picture of the majestic conifer standing tall at the site of the former Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home near the South Main bridge. (The funeral home, after moving to a new location, was renovated into apartments.)

    Hultgren then sent the photo to the Times, with a request. “I wanted to ask about putting a little bleep in the paper someday about the tree on the corner of the old Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home corner,” she wrote in an email. “It looks old and I’m surprised it’s held up with all the wind and weather. It’s really quite majestic, I think.”

    She emailed Jim Bredman, who owned the funeral home downtown and at its new location along Highway 75 and Minnesota Street.

    Bredman, who purchased the funeral home in 1975, said that the tree was there when he came to Crookston in 1972, and was pretty much the same size then as it is now. He estimates it’s at least 80 years old.

    “I’m sure it was planted by Emma Stenshoel, the owner of the funeral home back then, which was founded by her father, Nels Stenshoel, in 1906,” Bredman said in his email. “The pine was flanked on the other side of the sidewalk by the most gorgeous white birch, which was equally as high. A few wedding parties even had photos taken with the tree as a background. It gold old and diseased and had to be taken down, according to a UMC arborist. A sad day, believe me.”

    Meanwhile, the conifer still stands.

Tana Hultgren took this photo of the tree at the former Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home location downtown. She then checked into the tree’s history.