Oscar Ludwick Solie

1872 - 1930

“As President of the Cataract Book and Stationery Company Oscar Ludwick Solie is at the head of one of the leading commercial enterprises of Sioux Falls. He is a man of marked enterprise and progressiveness, who throughout his business career has brooked no obstacles that could be overcome by persistent, earnest and honorable effort. Sioux Falls is proud to number him among her native sons.  His birth here occurred August 10, 1872, his parents being Christian and Thina (Ovren) Solie. The father was born in Holmstrom, Norway, and in early manhood came to the United States, being at that time about eighteen or nineteen years of age. He first settled at Sioux City, Iowa, where he was engaged in the grocery business but later he removed by wagon to Sioux Falls, where he again established a grocery store which he conducted for several years. Subsequently he was engaged in the grain business until burned out. For an extended period he was classed among the representative business men of the city, being among those whose efforts were an important element in the upbuilding of the northwest. He died in November, 1895.

In the public schools of Sioux Falls Oscar Ludwick Solie pursued his education and later spent a year in school at Yankton, South Dakota, after which he became a student in the Sioux Falls Business College. Throughout his business career he has been connected with the book and stationery business, his initial step being made as clerk in a stationery and book business in Sioux Falls. In 1892 he went to Aspen, Colorado and became manager of the Ovren Book and Stationery Company at that place, the senior partner of the firm being his maternal uncle. He was there employed for six years and in 1899 returned to Sioux Falls where he took charge of the stationery department of Brown & Saenger, with whom he continued for sixteen months. On the expiration of that period he purchased the Cataract Book Store and formed a corporation under the name of the Cataract Book and Stationery Company, of which he was the secretary and treasurer during the first three years, while since 1912 he has been the president. The company conducts a retail business in books and stationery, office supplies, filing cabinets and loose leaf ledgers and binders. Mr. Solie’s first partner was I. H. Dokken and the business was incorporated for eight thousand dollars, but the capital has since increased to fifteen thousand dollars, indicating something of the rapid and substantial growth of the business. In 1908 the company purchased the Sioux Falls Trunk Factory, whereby larger and more commodious quarters were secured at No. 121 North Phillips Avenue. Here they have one of the largest single store rooms in the city, but it was soon found necessary to build an addition to take care of the growing business in the trunk factory. This department supplies everything necessary for the traveler in up-to-date luggage and theirs is the only trunk factory in the state. In 1910 a wholesale school department was added which occupies the entire second floor. This school department is one of the most complete in the northwest and handles everything for the schoolroom. The Cataract Book & Stationery Company is also interested in the rebuilding and repairing of typewriters and supplies all makes of typewriters. The business today is one of the most important commercial enterprises, not only of Sioux Falls, but of the state and at its head are men of marked enterprise and keen discernment, who keep in close touch with every phase of the business and conduct their interests along most progressive lines.

Mr. Solie has an interesting military record, inasmuch as he served for three years as a member of Company B, of the South Dakota National Guard. In politics he is a republican and in religious faith a Lutheran. He has attained high rank in Masonry, being a member of the Consistory and of the Shrine, and he is also prominent and popular in club circles, holding membership with the Elks Club, the Sioux Athletic Club and the City Temple Club. What he has accomplished has been the result of the utilization of the opportunities which have come to him and the innate talents which are his.  He has steadily worked his way upward step by step and while his life has not been actuated by any vaulting ambition, he has never failed to follow the lead of his opportunities which have carried him into important relations.”

George W. Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory, Vol. 4 (Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1915) pp. 369 – 370.

Oscar Solie died at the age of 57 years and was buried on April 11, 1930, in Block 47, Lot 9 of the cemetery along with other members of his family.