National Geographic : 2000 Dec
Gary Thelen leans against the bran finisher in the Swany White Flour Mill, Freeport (below), which has been in the Thelen family since 1903. The round bin at center is for finished flour. Gary: "More than 50 percent of my production today is organic. I do organic white, soy, buckwheat, whole wheat, and barley flours. If it wasn't for the natural foods market, staying in business would be a struggle." The Corpus Christi procession on a May day at St. Mary's Church, Holdingford (right). In the middle, Cindy Scepaniak follows her altar boy sons, Bobby and Adam, and leads girls in their First Communion dresses, carrying baskets of flowers. The two-hour event has a sermon at beginning and end. Main Street, Freeport (below right). Resident Arnold Hoeschen says his family helped build the town: "We pronounce it Hessian, not Hoeshen, but we accept it both ways. The family name is in stone up over the Corner Store, built by Joe Hoeschen, who also built the Pioneer Inn. I'm descended from Joe's brother Louie. My brother still farms Louie's place. My great-grandpa Anton was mayor of Altenbeken, Germany. He came over in 1876 with his wife, eight sons, two daughters, his brother, and his dad, my great-great-grandpa. Four of Anton's boys became businessmen and four became farmers. I'm 72 and retired now from the bank. I wanted to be a farmer, but I knew the bank wouldn't lend me the money to buy one, so I went to work there and stayed at the bank for 38 years."