The First Diary Entry

January 1, 1918 – Full diary entry:

“Home all of am. Dode + I had Dinner at Heidelberg. Berth to Barnesville. 

I have resolved to save more money this year. Also to get more sleep. 

Am certified in Army today by conscription.”

Lots for me to unpack here – “Dode” was Dorothy Thomas, to whom Robert was engaged at the start of 1918. Robert was living with his parents in St. Paul and may have been working in Sauk Centre.

I don’t know where Dorothy lived, of course. But after originally thinking Robert meant Heidelberg Minnesota, a small town southwest of Minneapolis, I then assumed he meant the Heidelberg Dining Lounge, formerly located at 66th and Lyndale in Richfield, MN. Then the Richfield Historical Society informed me that the Dining Lounge did not open until 1955.

Then I found it. The Old Heidelberg Restaurant, located in the Grand Opera House Building at 379 St. Peter Street in St. Paul. This restaurant was involved in a legal case that made it all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1911:


Here it is in the 1917 St. Paul City Directory; I think it moved across the street after this whole gas delivery thing:


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