A Sense of Community… That’s Bowlus
Bowlus is a town of 279 people that was settled in the early 1900s, platted in 1907 and became incorporated in 1910. Bowlus has an operating post office since 1907, a lumberyard, meat market, hair salon, restaurant, gas station, liquor store, boutique, fire department, park with bike trail going through it, Legion, and Catholic Church.
Many of the early settlers of Bowlus came from the Silesia, Poland. Bowlus separated from the Two Rivers Township in 1919. Heavy amounts of oak, maple, elm, and white pine trees made Bowlus a logical location for lumber. Bowlus still has a lumberyard and used to have a saw mill. Bowlus has an area of 1.25 square miles. Morrison County Roads 24 and 26 and State Highway 238 are common routes to Bowlus.
To help tell the story of Bowlus I was joined by longtime residents Jordie Stay, the owner of Jordie's Trailside Cafe and Clarence "Butch" Psyck, the owner of Psyck's Super Market. Jordie has lived in Bowlus since 1990. She bought the "Longtime Saloon" and operated that until 2007. When the Soo Line bike trail opened in 2007 Jordie and her daughter Sonja partnered to open Jordie's Trailside Cafe a year later in 2008. The building Jordie's Trailside Cafe is in was built in 1907.
Jordie also purchased the building next to Jordie's Trailside Cafe, which they use as a pavilion. It was known as the Bowlus Hotel in the early years. The building was called Schwintech Hall at one point after that, which had a ballroom upstairs with the bar downstairs. Jordie says women weren't allowed downstairs in the bar but could go up the stairs outside into the ballroom. She explains the ballroom/bar closed in the late 1950s early 1960s. Jordie says it was boarded up and vacant when she bought it. She explains she lives in the upstairs of the building now after remodeling the interior but the outside of the building looks similar to what it looked like when it was built.
Both Jordie and Butch indicate Bowlus continues to offer the businesses it does due to local commitment, support and service. Jordie credits the Soo Line bike trail as big benefit to her business bringing people to town. The trail is also used by snowmobilers in the winter months. Both Jordie and Butch say Bowlus Days brings around 1,000 people to town and is a great celebration that includes a parade, the day in the park and fireworks. Butch says many view Bowlus Days and town reunion.
Butch Psyck has lived in Bowlus his whole life besides the time he spent in the service. He says what makes Bowlus unique is all of what they have to offer, service, volunteerism and sense of community. Psyck says the community supports each other. He says Psyck's Market specializes in head cheese and people come from all over to get it. Butch explains their head cheese is different because they use real meat and not fillers.
Psyck says years ago Bowlus had a creamery, and bank in town. He explains to keep a small town alive you have to bend over backwards for people and Bowlus does that.
If you'd like to listen to my conversations with Jordie Stay and Butch Psyck they are available below.