A Brief History About the Founding of Wrenshall and How it Was Named – Our Town
The ‘Our Town‘ series continues this week with the focus on Wrenshall. Located about 30 minutes south-west of Duluth, Wrenshall was officially incorporated as a village in 1926 and it can thank its founding to two men, one a railroad man, the other, a brick maker.
The town’s namesake is Charles Christopher Wrenshall, a Northern Pacific Railroad engineer who in the late 1800’s supervised the construction of the railroad between Carlton and Superior. At the time it was customary to name train depot’s after such men, so that is where the town name came from, but what about everything around the depot? How did that happen?
The city itself was actually started by a Switzerland born immigrant, Frederick Jacob Habhegger. Habhegger, a brick maker with nine children, needed some good clay to make his bricks so he headed north and bought 160 acres of land where Wrenshall is now located.
Shortly after the move Habhegger built his brick factory and continued to build his business over the next 20 years, at its peak the brickyard employed 35 men and was making 1 million bricks per year that were shipping across the quickly expanding America.
The last bricks were made in 1954, but the bricks remain in the First Presbyterian Church and the Brickyard Restaurant, as both buildings are made from Habhegger bricks.