After World War II, the Redman Trailer Company of Alma, Mich., began promoting its New Moon series trailers as housing for returning GIs.

In 1951, Carl Laursen bought an empty restaurant building and adjacent lot at 1805 12th St. SE and opened Covered Wagon Trailer Sales, featuring New Moon Trailers. Charles and Wayne Laursen worked as service and repairmen for the company, located across from the Rochester Outdoor Theater.

By 1956, Covered Wagon Trailer Sales was in need of a larger location and moved to southwest Rochester. Ironically, the old sales lot became a mobile home park, still in operation today.

Where did the name Covered Wagon come from? Most likely, it was in connection with the building’s previous owners. Before the Pappas family created Rochester’s iconic Michaels Restaurant in downtown Rochester in November 1951, the family operated the Covered Wagon Restaurant at 1805 12th St. SE.

Lens on History is a weekly photo feature by Lee Hilgendorf, a volunteer at the History Center of Olmsted County.

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