Klossner House becomes history

KLOSSNER – A popular evening hot spot in Klossner for old-time music, dancing and food served crowds last weekend before closing its doors.

Klossner House owner Stanley Lauwagie, 85, of Gibbon served his Wednesday night special – beef commercials for last time last week. An estimated several hundred people shared memories, ate and danced last Saturday night away with the Wendinger Band.

Lauwagie operated a cheese packaging machine at Kraft Foods in New Ulm for nearly eight years before buying the Klossner House. Hours were 5 p.m. until closing, which he said sometimes lasted until 1 a.m., Wednesday through Saturday. The establishment was open at other times for special occasions like private parties.

“The smorgasbord, beef commercials and sauerkraut and dumplings were the most popular food,” Lauwagie said. “We’d have live music playing just about every Friday and Saturday night. People came from all around the area, even as far away as Chaska and Shakopee at times, plus all the area people for anniversaries, weddings, birthdays and Christmas parties.”

Before Lauwagie owned it, the building housed The Golden Rule Ballroom and was used as a roller skating rink.

The closing marks the end of an era for many area musicians and their followers who played and partied at the Klossner House.

Among them is New Ulm musician Scott Sparlin. “Stan” gave “Smiley” Wiltscheck and I our first paying public job at the Klossner House when we played with the Summer’s Eve band in April 1972,” a little less than two years after Lauwagie bought the business.

“It was unbelievable. Cars were lined up for blocks around the place. The food was great, the place was lively. Everybody danced and had a good time,” Sparlin said. “There were four to five cases deep of Schell’s Beer returnable bottles all the way to the ceiling inside. People would completely drink the place out. … Last Saturday, the smorgasbord was sold out, so we ate burgers and fries.”

Sparlin said Stan always ran the show. “He was a character for sure. I used to tease him about being careful not to drop his wallet, trip and fall over it,” Sparlin joked.

Lauwagie said there are a number of parties interested in buying the building from him, but no formal documents have been signed yet. “Some want it for the way it is, others just want the building. I hope to sell it,” he added. “With higher meat and fuel prices now, the restaurant business isn’t what it used to be.”

In the meantime, Lauwagie, who enjoys playing cards in his spare time, plans to spend more time with his family, many of whom worked for him at the business.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com).

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