Popcorn wagon turns 100

NEW ULM-The New Ulm Popcorn Wagon turned a century old this weekend in style with a postal cancellation at the Brown County Historical Society (BCHS) Museum and by doing what it does best, pop and sell popcorn.

If not for a failed attempt at a business license, a popcorn wagon would’ve graced New Ulm street corners in February 1913, but C.D. Roof’s application for permission to operate a popcorn wagon was denied by the New Ulm City Council by a vote of four to two, according to the Feb. 12, 1913 edition of the New Ulm Review.

Myers Jorgenson of Rochester invested $1,500 on a popcorn wagon and set it up at the corner of Center and Minnesota Street, according to a story written by Jerry Gulden of the BCHS. The wagon included two pop corn poppers with four blades each plus a revolving peanut roaster powered by a one and one-half horsepower steam engine.

The heat for corn popping and peanut roasting and powering wagon lights comes from gasoline generators. The bright red popcorn wagon with rubber tires and pulled by horeses was built by Cretors & Co. of Chicago. The wagon was later rebuilt by the BCHS and is used to sell popcorn from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays when the weather is agreeable.

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