Former employees gather at the historic site of the Fridley factory
Over the years, the plant has undergone several changes. It was once home to the Northern Pump Company, which manufactured pumps from 1929 to 1941.
FRIDLEY, Minnesota — At the Forgotten Star Brewery in Fridley, there is a growing crowd. It’s a work meeting like no other.
“There are a lot of people here who haven’t seen each other in 30 to 40 years,” said Daniel Lovstad, who helped organize the event.
With former colleagues arriving from near and far, reminiscing over a beer or two.
“I worked there for 45 years and six months to be exact,” said former employee and union leader Larry McCollom. “I worked as a machinist.”
Over the years, the plant has undergone several changes. It was once home to the Northern Pump Company, which manufactured pumps from 1929 to 1941. When the country joined World War II, the facility shifted its operations until relocated in the early 2000s.
“It was a major defense plant for the US Navy, Lovstad said. “A lot of people in the Twin Cities didn’t know it existed.”
For this meeting, the brasserie was the ideal place.
“It’s right on the factory grounds, people just have wonderful memories here, a wonderful place to work, very patriotic,” Lovstad said. “We heard about the Boiler Room which they turned into a brewery last year, and we met here for a beer and thought what a great place for a meeting.”
At its peak, the factory was one of the most efficient and excellent manufacturers of the entire war.
“If you look at the huge chimney, I believe it’s got five stars, which was good because the MoD gave those ratings to the manufacturer,” Lovstad said. “They actually won another star, but it was never put on the mantel, which is why they call it ‘The Forgotten Star’.
Although some things remain the same, people here remember the history and excellence that has rippled through this place, and memories that will never be forgotten.
“We took pride in our work,” said former employee Tom Brandl. “Because you had to cut it to be there, because your father’s and your uncle’s life depended on it,” he said.
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