Sarsten Motor Company

In 1924 Art Sarsten came to Cooperstown and started an auto repair shop in what is now the Lende Apartment building at Tenth and Roberts.  This building had originally been built by Chet Piatt and used for a light plant.  Later it was used as a mission meeting place, still later as a garage, and today, it is an apartment building.

Mr. Sarsten was born and raised on a farm at Litchville, North Dakota, and was the oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. P. G. Sarsten, pioneer settlers in Barnes County.  Before coming to Cooperstown, he had worked three years in the mail department of the Union Railway passenger depot in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Shortly after starting in business here he formed a partnership with Christ Haaland, and it became known as the Haaland-Sarsten Garage.  Three years later he sold his interest to Haaland.  After that he worked for King Bruns Auto Company (the Ford dealer at that time) in the Main Motor Company building, now occupied by the Melroe Company.

In 1932 he started working for Farmers Oil Company.  While there he and Ted Stone secured the Chrysler-Plymouth agency.  In 1935 he purchased Mr. Stone's interest and moved to the old Mobil service station.  Later he bought lots on what was then Highway 7, built a building there and had the Chrysler- Plymouth agency for 27 years.  He also had the Allis Chalmers farm machinery dealership for 24 years.

At one time Sarsten Motor Company was known as the largest Briggs and Stratton engine dealership in North Dakota, having sold over $10, 000 worth of small gasoline engines in one year.  In 1942 he was one of seven candidates for sheriff of Griggs County.

In 1960 Mr. Sarsten sold his business to Ted Vigesaa and Gene Wuflestad, retaining ownership of the building.  They established the V-W Motor Company, which is still located in the same place at 10th St. and Rollin Ave.

In 1964 the frame part of the building burned down, including four new cars and a good inventory of parts.  Mr. Sarsten then sold his interest to Ted Vigesaa, present owner.

Source: Griggs County History 1879 - 1976 Page 48

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