ST. STEPHEN - This week on "Your Town Tuesday" we are in St. Stephen getting ready to celebrate the towns centennial celebration.

It all started when the earliest Slovenian settlers moved to the area, and after getting their homesteads off the ground the people decided they wanted to build a church.

St. Stephen Parish
Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON News

Father Robert Harren has been with the St. Stephen Parrish for 12 years. The church was established in 1871. The church that still stands today was built in 1903. St. Stephen Parish acted as a community meeting place as well as the church. Even today, the church continues to act as the centerpiece for the St. Stephen community.


There are still many ties to the Slovenians that settled in the area. One of those ties is Jim Schumer, who still lives on the land that his great grandfather built his house on.

Schumer's Dairy Farm
Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON News

My great grandfather left the old Slovenia in 1867. He came up with his wife and his two children, and he got here in August of that year, and they built a one room log house up here probably thirty feet from us, they built that one room log house, and they didn’t even get that one room done that year, enough that they ended up with a quilt over the door.

Dairy Cows on the Schumer Farm
Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON News

Over the years the farm was passed down from father to son until it reached Schumer. He started full time farming in 1982 milking cows. Schumer and his wife are up at 5 in the morning, milking cows by 5:30, doing chores throughout the day, and after a short break for dinner and supper they are back milking and doing chores until 10 at night. But it is where this dairy farm is located that makes it unique.

When we started 32 years ago in 1982, we started milking, at that time there were seven other operating dairy farms in the city.

When the town incorporated 100 years ago they had to draw the city boundaries big enough to make sure there was enough people to be incorporated into a village.

This caused many farms to be with in the city limits, Schumer's dairy farm being one of them. The north 80 acres, which is where the farm house sits, of Schumer's 160 acre farm are with in the city limits.

With Schumer being a fourth generation farmer and the family being on the land for 150 years, Schumer and his wife say they are happy to be milking, and that they hope the farm remains in the family name.

Trobec's Bus Service School Bus
Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON News
Patty Schuneman
Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON News

St. Stephen is a small community where the children still need a ride to school. That job falls to Trobec's Bus Service and for 45 years of Trobec's 76 year history, Patty Schuneman has transported the children of St. Stephen back and forth to school.

In Schuneman's 45 years of driving school bus she has never had an accident. Her accident free driving record prompted a Transportation Specialist Award from the Minnesota School Bus Operators' Association. Trobec's Director of Sales and Marketing Bethany Schubert says Schuneman deserved the award and she will be greatly missed.

She is the type of person that when she comes to work she always has a smile on her face.

Schuneman says it's been a great career with plenty of good stories.

Well at Christmas and Easter,  I always got little gifts from the children, and one little girl she didn't have anything to give me. So she came up and she said 'I have this sugar cookie for you Patty.' It was a big sugar cookie with a big bite out of it. She just wanted to give me something, and that was kind of special. I kept it for a long time.

Be sure to check back as "Your Town Tuesday continues to feature the unique people, places, and things that each community has to offer.

We have already been to Foley, Rice, Holdingford, Avon, and Albany. Let us know what makes your town special to Central Minnesota and it might end up on "Your Town Tuesday."