After five years, restored jukebox returns to bakery

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Toby Johannessen, owner of the Benson Bakery, holds up the jackets of two records that were on the Seeburg jukebox when it was shutdown in the 1980s: “Islands in the Stream,” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, released in 1983, and Willie Nelson’s “City of New Orleans,” released in 1985. This photo was taken in 2013, when Kenny Amundson was talking with Johannessen about taking on the Seeburg’s restoration.

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher

 

This story starts with a quarter at the Benson Bakery, an old jukebox, and a child’s memory of great times growing up in the city.

“When I was a kid here in Benson more than just a few of us would go the bakery like big shots and order something and turn the jukebox on,” Kenny Amundson recalls. “You didn’t see the jukebox because it was in the basement. But we could put a quarter in the slot (of the player) on the wall and get three songs. I really remember that.”

Born at the Swift County-Benson Hospital in 1945, Amundson lived on a farm between Clontarf and Hancock. When he was five the family moved to Benson and when he was 14 years old, the Amundsons moved to the Twin Cities.

“I lived here and enjoyed life here until 1959 when my parents moved to the Minneapolis - St. Paul area,” he told the Monitor-News for a story on the opening of Amundson Violin on main street Benson in 2013. Leaving Benson was difficult. “My heart was torn right out of my chest when we moved because I had a lot of great and fun friends, and there were so many things to do here.”

Benson’s special place in his heart brought him back here when he “retired” from his violin restoration and sales business in the Twin Cities.

“When I came back to my hometown five years ago the depot was gone; the Paris Hotel was gone; the Southside School was gone; both pool halls were gone and most of the restaurants,” Amundson said. “And there sat the Benson Bakery, just like when I had left. I went inside and ordered a chocolate glazed donut and started putting a quarter in the (jukebox)...”

 

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Pictured: Toby Johannessen, owner of the Benson Bakery, holds up the jackets of two records that were on the Seeburg jukebox when it was shutdown in the 1980s: “Islands in the Stream,” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, released in 1983, and Willie Nelson’s “City of New Orleans,” released in 1985. This photo was taken in 2013, when Kenny Amundson was talking with Johannessen about taking on the Seeburg’s restoration.

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