Monday, April 18, 2011


I may have written something about this man before, but there are some things that jogged my memory about him that I may not have mentioned before.

One of the first people that I met in Cold Spring after moving here in 1968, was Lee Theisen, the town's Barber. I believe Lee's Father was a Barber before him and so the rich treasure of Cold Spring History was "handed down." Lee was an easy going, laid back sort of man and loved to visit as he clipped your hair. At one time Lee had another Barber assist him and that man also barbered at the Vet's Hospital in St. Cloud. His name was Al Symalla. Lee's history stories plus Al's jokes made a trip to the Barber a treat, to say the least. Back then, you always got the back of your neck shaved with foam and a straight edge razor. At the end of your haircut you always got dusted with a fluffy brush that was loaded with nice smelling talcum powder.

The old Opera House, which later became Otto's and now houses McDonald's was a subject Lee loved to talk about. It was available for local plays, concerts, talent shows and was the only facility big enough to hold large gatherings, as Rocori High School was yet to become a reality for many years. In our many conversations, Lee was always on top of most everthing going on around town, but he was never one to repeat local gossip. Actually, most of the local talk was done by many of Lee's customers waiting to get their haircut.

Lee's Barber Shop had the traditional Barber's Pole on the outside and his shop was located where the Movies and More store is today. During my haircut days, Lee was the only barber in town. After Lee's passing, the only barber in town was relocated in the new;y built addition to the Cold Spring Bakery. The new location then became known as the"Barber On Main." For a while the new Barber cut hair and had been a Barber in Avon, I believe. A tragic lake related accident took his life, and in due time he was replaced by Cold Spring's first woman barber by the name of Angella Maile.

Barber's come and go over the course of time, but the like's of Lee Theisen will never be duplicated.

One additional personal note about Lee Theisen, the Barber, was the fact that he was an accomplished violin player. He never mentioned it, but one time, when I attended a concert put on by the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra, I spotted Lee playing his "cherished violin." I feel honored that I got to know Lee as a good man, a good Barber, and last, but not least, a dedicated lover of the arts. Think about that the next time you get a haircut and in keeping with today's standards, the Spirit of Lee Theisen will be checking out your haircut and your love of the arts...

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