The town of St. Ansgar organized a town band in 1880. For the next 50 years, the town continued to support a band with only a few periods of hiatus. Photographs in St. Ansgar's historical museum spanning the years 1885-1923 suggest that, for the last 30 years at least, the band enjoyed high levels of participation and financial support. (One counts at least five different types of uniform in the pictures.) Perhaps the bands period of greatest success came in the early 1920s when it hired Dr. O. E. VanDoren of the State University to serve as a guest conductor in the summers of 1922 and 1923. In 1923, the band took second place at a competition inMason City sponsored by the legion, beating out much larger cities such as Ames, Cedar Falls, and Davenport and losing only to Clear Lake whose band was "made up of professionals." By 1929, however, the group had dissolved. In 1930, their instruments and music library were donated to the newly formed band in the public school.
Sources: St. Ansgar Heritage Association and Museum; St. Angar Centennial History 1853-1953, "Entertainment-Lyceum"
The band in the first photograph above is posed in front of the City Hotel, later known as the Klindt Hotel. The building was completed in 1904. St. Ansgar's Seminary orchestra provided music for the grand opening in March of 1905. The hotel continued in operation until at least 1953 when the city's centennial was written. It has subsequently been razed, however. Its site is now occupied by the city fire department.