Jim Block and Iver
Fransten pour water on a blaze the burned the last remaining
building at Krem.
Last Building in Krem Burns
"Last Building in Krem Burns." Hazen Star, 26 August 2004, 3.
A slice of Mercer County history went up in smoke last week as
the last remaining building on the Krem town site burned.
The Hazen Fire Department responded to the call last week Thursday
about mid-morning. What was left of a building with walls constructed
mostly of field rock was destroyed.
Krem, located roughly seven miles northeast of Hazen, was one of
Mercer County's first settlements. The town site sits on land now
owned by Art Mueller of Hazen.
Mueller grew up a half-mile north of Krem and said the building
was a house owned by Emil Richter, a relative of his family.
The fire destroyed the roof and was confined to the interior of
what remained of the structure. Hazen Fire Chief Tom Beery said
the cause of the fire is undetermined.
The building, which sits nestled in a a grove of trees, is the
only remaining structure of what was once a thriving settlement
that sprang up on the prairie before the turn of the century.
Mueller said he is not too familiar with the history of Krem, but
said it once boasted two churches that were located across the road
to the west.
St. Paul's and St. James', both Lutheran churches, were destroyed
by twisters; one in 1920 and one in 1933. St. Paul's was rebuilt
and now only the foundation of that church remains.
Today, the only thing that draws people to Krem are two cemeteries
down the road from the town site, the occasional hunter walking
the trees for upland game and local youths who gather there for
the occasional party.
Beery said he does not believe the fire was set intentionally,
but likely began the night before and was kicked up by winds that
Reprinted with permission of the Hazen Star.