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Iltis Indian

     The City of International Falls is proud to welcome back the "Iltis Indian" statue which graced the front of the Iltis Drug Store on the N.W. corner of 3rd Street and 4th Avenue in downtown International Falls for many years beginning in 1949. The "Iltis Indian" statue, carved by Custer Thydean, was named "Chief Win-De-Do", after an Indian of the Ottertail Lake and Ottertail River Reserve, Bears Pass, Ontario. The Iltis Drug Store is now gone and the statue had been sold and was located out of state for many years.
     A collaborative effort of Koochiching County and the City of International Falls resulted in the return of the statue to International Falls. Koochiching County has donated its interest in the statue to the city and the city is requesting public input on a location for permanent display of this significant historic icon. A suggestion box is available at the library for your suggestions about where the statue should be displayed and for your memories of the statue when it was downtown.
     The statue represents an important time in Borderland's history that should not be forgotten. It stood in front of the Iltis Drug store in downtown International Falls until it went missing in the 1970s. It was located by local resident Len Millard in Bayfield, WI, in 1997, and purchased in a joint agreement between Koochiching County and International Falls. The statue, carved by Custer Thydean in the 1940s, was brought home in 2005. Since then, officials have been considering how to handle the historic statue and where to permanently site it.
     After recovery, the statue was temporary located in the Koochiching County Historical Museum. Len Millard, who located the statue in Bayfield, WI, agreed that the statue should not be restored. The broken feathers are part of the history of the statue ... He suggested it be placed downtown on the corner of Third Street and Third Avenue, which is now a vacant lot. The area around the statue could be called Iltis Park, where people could stop to take pictures with the statue. To prevent deterioration and vandalism, he suggested it be enclosed in glass case. Mayor Shawn Mason said she thought having the statue in the city would be a celebration of northern Minnesota culture ... the Native American culture is a big piece of our culture. Local historian Ed Oerichbauer indicates it's an icon of International Falls ... it stood right downtown for 20 years so generations of people came and visited and saw it.

(Compiled from sources in the Daily Journal.)

A Bit of Iltis History
     The Iltis name can be seen at the top of an old building downtown in International Falls. It's a sturdy remnant from the pioneer estate of Beverlee's father-in-law Robert.
     The Iltis family owned a lot of real estate in the Falls including the bank building in which the present-day Sports Shop is operated as well as a Packard dealership that was located in the building which houses Ballan Furniture today.
     The Iltis Drugstore on the corner of main and Fourth spotlighted the now-legendary, cigar-store Indian in front and was ran by Beverlee and her husband Russell. The carved mascot was in Wisconsin in 2002 when The Daily Journal featured a story about Beverlee's 95th birthday. The statue has since been requisitioned for the community.
     In that story, Beverlee reminisced about growing up in Coleraine, Minn. She talked about the original corduroy roads of International Falls and the buildings that were moved in from the abandoned Rainy Lake City. She told about meeting her husband-to-be during a visit to Borderland with her mother. It all started when she went into the drugstore which had been given to Russell by his father, to buy stationery. Beverlee ran the drugstore alone for a time while her husband served for the U.S. Navy's pharmacy during World War II.
     ... more ...
Beverlee Iltis is 100

Easy rider

December 14, 2006 - 1:16pm

     A crew with the city of International Falls moved the Iltis Indian statue Wednesday from the Koochiching County Historical Museum to Falls Public Library. The statue rested on a mattress during the ride between the two buildings. Brad Hopke, utility man, secured the top of the statue to the wall with a chain.

See also:
Council Talks
Let the people decide
Iltis Family

Beverlee Iltis is 100

Vote: Should the Iltis Indian stay at Falls Public Library?

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(Installed 19 Jan 2007)

This page uploaded on Saturday, 10-Feb-2007 14:48:19 EST