Amateur film of Cologne offers interesting look into history of Minnesota

The view of Cologne, Minnesota, present day. 

As modern-day drone technology sweeps across Cologne, you get the feeling a lot has changed here in the last 100 years. In fact, 83 years ago, on this same stretch of land, a very different camera captured a very different way of life.

It was July of 1939, two months before the start of World War II, and two locals, Ray and Esther Dowidat, decided to document everyday life in this small, German-inspired village. 

"They were here about two years practicing medicine and decided to make a movie about their memories of living here," Roger Storms told FOX 9.

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The result was a 14-minute amateur short film, using Esther's diary entries as a tour guide. They take viewers from life on the farm, to inside the town's economy, centering around the booming flour mill and creamery.

In July of 1939, two months before the start of World War II, two locals, decided to document everyday life in a small, German-inspired village in Minnesota. 

There was a work-hard, play-hard mentality back then... And the saloons were at the heart of it – a place where all the ‘good natured Germans or Hollanders’ could unwind. 

The Esthers’ film was first discovered in 1949, ten years after it was made, in the attic of a family member. 

The original footage was jumpy, almost unwatchable. It eventually landed in the national film archives where it was digitized, and the rest was history.

An amateur film made on a whim ultimately made history for Cologne.