Well, lucky reader, one thing that makes a family blog interesting is the writers' obsession with "relative" trivia (get it? Relative/family..lol...ok) ONE comment is all it takes for me to post the other stuff I found on the subject of Rice, Minnesota. (Thanks, Boof!) Here's a current Google Earth view of the area west of Rice. It's Langola township, with the Rice's Hotel site circled. While you have it enlarged, you can see where the easiest path for the old oxcart road would be: following the river, but above the bluff and beyond the tree line, on the open prairie.
Yeah, Langola is also where Aunt Fronie and Uncle Leo lived along the river. However, that triangular bit (off the top left corner) isn't included cuz it'd make this part too small even after you click it. What I want you to see on the plat map here is who owned the hotel in 1903--(they spelled Gottwalt two different ways on one map--no wonder it's a hard name to trace). We know grandpa's sister Rose and her husband Louie Gottwalt lived NE of town. I assume 'Theodore Gottwald' was related; and look, they lived in the hotel.
That farm--the land there--is pure sand, as you can see in the top pic. I suppose the prairie here would have been a little easier to break since sand doesn't hold roots as well as loam does. 'Course, sand isn't great for crops, but it would have taken a few years for the green manure of plowed-under prairie grasses to dissolve. In the 1930s drought, farmers planted thousands of pine tree wind breaks around fields here. Those windrows were a feature of the area when we were kids, remember? But now...hmm, they've ripped almost all of the pines out, to accommodate irrigation systems. That worries me.
Another interesting thing about the plat map is the town of Rice itself. If you zoom in, you'll see "D. Janson" on the west edge of the village. He was related on mom's side of the family.
You're welcome ☺