Herald JournalHerald Journal, Feb. 21, 2005

Alfred Mohring: Montrose used to be, still is ‘good little town,’

By Liz Hellmann

Alfred Mohring remembers when Montrose had no city water or sewer system.

He is now part of the planning and zoning committee that is planning to build over twice the number of houses as there were people in Montrose when Mohring was born.

Mohring was born to parents Oggie and Elsie Mohring in 1923, on a farm a half a mile out of town, and has been involved in the community ever since.

“In my lifetime, it’s changed a lot,” Mohring said of the community. Mohring remembers attending first through 12th grade at a one-building schoolhouse on the northeast corner of Highway 12 and Buffalo Ave S.

Since then a new elementary school has been built, and the junior high and high school moved to Buffalo.

Mohring has been part of the fire department, Montrose school board, creamery board, and served as a lay leader in the Montrose Methodist church for more than 30 years.

“I joined the fire department in 1951, and retired from the whole works just last year,” Mohring said.

Throughout his 50-plus years in the fire department, he watched as the department grew from having no protective gear and one truck, to having two modern pumpers, three water trucks, and first responders training.

“In 50 years our equipment went from you might say nothing to full equipment gear for the 28 or 30 people we have now,” Mohring said.

Mohring also enjoyed his work on the school board and creamery board during the ‘50s and ‘60s. “Those were both real good jobs, the pay was next to nothing, but it was interesting and you felt like you were doing something,” Mohring said.

Mohring’s wife Lucille has also been active in the Montrose community.

She is an active member of the Federated Women’s Club, choir director in church, and worked as a housewife, raising their three children, Allan, Paul, and Linda.

“It’s a different community than it was when I was young.” Mohring said.

“When I was young I knew everyone in town by name, first and last.”

Mohring remembers when the population hovered around 300 to 375. “There was nothing much to attract people to Montrose, except retired farmers who wanted to buy a house in town,” Mohring said.

Now, there are plans to build new homes, businesses, and maybe even an industrial park on an excess of 700 acres of land around the town.

The areas to the north and west of town have already been built up with new homes.

“The town is growing very, very, fast, almost too fast,” Mohring said. “It’s going to be hard to keep up with the water and sewer, and schools. Even the roads are going to suffer.”

Mohring remembers when the town had only a few stores, Fred’s Grocery, and a grocery store and meat packing plant owned by Gilbert Yaeger.

Those businesses were sold and eventually closed.

During the 30s there were several fires in town that actually destroyed a lot of buildings.

“After World War II, Montrose enjoyed a little building boom with a dozen or so new homes constructed, and then things stayed pretty much on a level track,” Mohring said.

He is excited about the current growth in Montrose, and hopes it brings in more industry. “My hope is in the next 10 years there will be some of this commercial and industrial growth so there’ll be jobs, and it won’t just be bedroom people,” Mohring said.

One of the highlights for Mohring as a member of the Montrose community, is the part he played in the birth of the celebration now known as Montrose Days.

He remembers working with Ed Onstott and several other people to pull together Montrose’s 100-year celebration in 1981.

“Everybody pulled it down together and worked real hard,” Mohring said. “People even came from Alaska for that celebration.” Since then it has become an annual affair.

Mohring has seen Montrose without a single water tower, and now is helping to plan the building of hundreds of new homes around town.

But no matter how much it’s changed, Mohring still thinks “it’s a good little town.”

Whether Montrose grows by hundreds, or goes back down to under a thousand, Mohring will keep doing what he’s always done.

“My wife and I are just living here, making the best of life, getting older every day,” he said.

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