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'We had pride in our work' | Former employees hold reunion at site of historic Fridley plant

Through the many years, the plant went through several changes. It was once home to the Northern Pump Company, which manufactured pumps from 1929 to 1941.

FRIDLEY, Minn. — At the Forgotten Star Brewery in Fridley, there's a growing crowd. It's a work reunion like no other.

"There's a lot of folks here who haven't seen each other in 30 to 40 years," said Daniel Lovstad, who helped organize the event.

With old colleagues driving in from near and far, reminiscing over a beer or two.

"I worked there for 45 years and six months to be exact," said one former employee and union leader, Larry McCollom. "I worked as a machinist."

Through the many years, the plant went through 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 operations all the way up until its relocation in the early 2000's.

"This was a major defense plant for the U.S. Navy," said Lovstad. "A lot of people in the Twin Cities don't know that this existed."

For this reunion, the brewery was the perfect spot.

"It's right on the plant grounds, people just have wonderful memories here, wonderful place to work, very patriotic," said Lovstad. "We heard the boiler room they turned into a brewery last year, and we met here for a beer and we thought what a great place for a reunion."

In its heyday, the plant was one of the most efficient and excellent manufacturers throughout the war.

"If you look at the huge smokestack, there are five stars I believe on there, which was good, because the defense department gave the manufacturer these ratings," said Lovstad. "They actually earned another star but it was never put on the smokestack, so that's why they call it 'The Forgotten Star.'"

While some things remain the same, people here are remembering the history and excellence that reverberated throughout this location, and the memories that will never be forgotten.

"We had pride in our work," said former employee, Tom Brandl. "Because you had to cut it to be there, because your dad and your uncle's life depended on it," he said.

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