The Telander Sawmill and Farm, located in Knife Lake Township, was recognized at the Kanabec County Fair before the 4-H Livestock Auction on Saturday, July 27 as a Minnesota Century Farm. The sawmill and farm which is currently owned by the third Telander generation, Paul and Colleen Telander, has a long and interesting history. 

The 120-acre farm was purchased by Paul’s grandfather, John Peter Telander, an immigrant from Sweden, in 1899 for $5 per acre from the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad Company. So, it is actually a 120-year old sawmill and farm. A home was built in 1899. That home is still standing today. There has been a sawmill on the property throughout time, and there is an operating mill there today. The current sawmill was built by John’s son, Clayton, in the 1970s.  

The farm is located southeast of the Highway 65 and County Road 19 west intersection. Several landmarks in that area became known by the Telander name. There was a country school that was called the Telander School, and the lake on the east side of Highway 65 is called Telander Lake.  

“Grandfather was quite the entrepreneur,” said Paul. “He was involved in logging, had a sawmill and planing mill, lumber sales, manure spreader sales, cream separator sales, car sales and even had a general store on the site. Besides that, he was a farmer and raised oats, hay and corn.”  

John married Ingeborg Christina and later Ruth Evelyn and lived on the farm for 60 years. His sons Clayton and Wyman and wife Anna owned the sawmill and farm for the next 35 years. Paul and Colleen purchased the sawmill and farm in 1994 and have owned it for the last 25 years. In recent decades, 40 acres have been rented out for corn, soybeans and hay. The rest of the acreage is in permanent cover for wildlife habitat.

Paul retired on July 15, 2019, from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources where he was wildlife chief for the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

The Century Farm Award is sponsored by the Minnesota State Fair and the Minnesota Farm Bureau. Recipients are recognized at the State Fair. At the Kanabec County Fair Eli Berry, Kanabec/Isanti County Farm Bureau and John Angstman, Kanabec County Fair presented the Telanders with their award.

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