Christian Ilstrup, an immigrant from Norway, was with the government surveyors in Wright County in 1856. When the work was completed, he returned to the Mary Lake area with his brothers, Abraham and Simon, and they took claims in sections 6 and 7. The Ilstrup family eventually provided land for the Carlslund church, cemetery, and a school.
The District 60 one-room schoolhouse adjoined the Carlsund church grounds, and many of the students were also members of the congregation.
The school had no water, and a wood stove for heat through at least the 1940s. The teacher tended the fire, but the students had to fill the wood box. They went to the Ilstrup home to get water, which was about 1/4 mile from the school.
When the Armistice Day Blizzard hit the area on November 11, 1940, four feet of snow fell with little warning, and the all of the students were trapped at the school. During the storm one man, Roy Mainquist, tried to reach them with a sleigh but got lost and had to return home. Myron Krause was a student at the time and remembers that the students went to Mary Ilstrup’s home for the night, laying crossways in the bed, because there were so many of them. They had grapefruit and oatmeal for breakfast at Ilstrup’s. Myron’s father was able to make it to the house the next day with a horse and sleigh to pick up the Krause children.
The school finally closed in 1967, shortly before the Minnesota House and Senate passed a bill that compelled rural school districts like District 60 to consolidate with larger districts capable of operating a full 1-12 program.
Photo: Students of the Ilstrup School in 1923-1924, provided by Joan Henderson