‘We felt Rogers’ history needs to be out there’

by Aaron Brom

Adams Publishing Group of East Central Minnesota

Former residents Bob and Jean McFarlane don’t live in Rogers anymore, but they certainly kept their hearts there.

The couple recently finished a mural, spearheaded by artist Jean, on the 101 Antiques building honoring Rogers’ early 20th century history. They painted an homage to the original Main Street businesses that helped found the town.

The McFarlanes currently live down the road in Maple Grove but remain active in Rogers. Jean teaches art for Rogers seniors, and Bob is a volunteer at the nearby Otsego Elementary School.

“They call me Grandpa Bob,” McFarlane said of his 24 hours weekly volunteering at Otsego.

Jean became interested in Rogers history and used Paulie Skaja-Bell’s book “Rogers, Hassan Township and Fletcher Remembered” as a reference for sketching the mural. She even painted a scene from 1920s Main Street as her road map for the mural.

The scene includes all the Main Street buildings that comprised the original “downtown” Rogers. Most of these buildings remain standing today. They include the Rogers meat locker (present All State building); Scharber grocery (present USA Antiques); Otto Scharber building and Mercantile Company (presently an antique mall); Heinen’s Offices (present Wayzata Bay Spices, no longer the original building); Rogers Muni (present DiMagio Pizza); St. Charles (Heinen) Hotel; a pool hall (present Lilly Bee’s pet store); and a cafe (present Glazed on Main).

The mural also recognizes the railroad and farming community.

Jean said she and Bob made friends with 101 Antiques owners Mary Lee Rugimer and Rod Keller and decided on that building as the site for the mural.

Jean said there were about five years of planning leading up to the mural’s recent completion. She, Bob and Jan Cartwright did the painting.

“I did a lot of Rogers history research and now (the mural) happened,” she said. “We like the history here and felt it needs to be put out there.”

While several families were a part of Rogers history, she said two families were especially prominent: the Scharbers and Heinens, two names with many descendants still in the area today.

“The Heinens were on one side of the street, and the Scharbers were on the other,” Jean McFarlane said. “Our pioneers went through quite a bit of work trying to establish this town.”

She said Otto Scharber was a legendary mercantilist.

“He delivered nuts and bolts to moonshine,” she said.

Otto’s son, Doug, is nearing 99 years old. Doug is father to former Rogers Mayor Steve Scharber and grandfather to Mike and Dan.

The McFarlanes thanked the Rogers Lions and Rotary clubs for sponsoring the mural and buying the paint. All the rest was volunteered, including about 100 hours each from the McFarlanes and 80 hours from Cartwright.

“We’re trying to bring extra attention to this side of town,” Bob McFarlane said.

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