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Observations from the archives, 1964: Ben Franklin variety store to open

1914, 100 years ago: Several men, who had subscribed sums toward securing an agricultural agent for Douglas County, organized themselves into what they termed a Douglas County Farm Bureau. … For sale: A Pedigreed Guernsey bull, good quality and noted ancestors. Can furnish pedigree, if desired. Carl J. Newhouse, Brandon. … Divorce yourself from dirt, dust and drudgery by using a Duntley Combination Pneumatic Sweeper. You may try a Duntley in your own home for 10 days free of charge.

1964, 50 years ago: Tri-County Probation and Parole Officer Richard Papenfus is seeking support for a proposal to establish a Youth Development Camp for up to 200 16-to-21-year-old youths at Carlos Sate Park. Art Beth, park superintendent, assisted in a presentation by showing what natural resource development projects such a camp could accomplish. … A Ben Franklin variety store will open in a new building to be constructed on the lot once occupied by the burned-out Hakes variety store in Alexandria. The one-story, brick-faced, two-door building will be completed in 60 days.

1989, 25 years ago: APV Douglas Machine officials and Alexandria representatives broke ground for the company’s new office building. The $1.5 million project is a two-story structure of 24,000 square feet that will be located just east of the company’s present building in Alexandria’s Industrial Park. Company employees looked on as Vern Anderson, CEO, Paul Anderson, executive vice-president, John Wosepka and Herman Felt of First American Bank and Trust, Joe Egge, Alexandria Area Chamber of Commerce director and Dorothy Kobs, Alexandria mayor, each took a turn with the shovel. APV Douglas Machine specializes in making automated packaging machinery. … The A & W Restaurant will celebrate 25 years of service. The original root beer stand that Carl Johnson and his family opened in 1964 was open only May-September and a mug of root beer was sold for a dime. The old stand was torn down in 1973, making the present structure a year-round stand. Founders Carl and Agnes Johnson retired in 1985 and sold the business to their son, James, and wife, Barbara.

2004, 10 years ago: More than $443,000 was raised locally during the 2003-04 Heart of Lakes Campaign. Co-chairs Theresa Moberg and Rose Virnig headed the record-breaking campaign that increased $31,000 for a 7.5 percent increase over last year. … Hotly debated for months, the rates for a new storm water utility fee were officially established by the Alexandria City Council. … It’s official. Kevin Kopischke is the new president of the Alexandria Technical College. … The intersection of County Road 23 and Nokomis Street, near Easton Place, is now a four-way stop. Two new stop signs were installed on County Road 23, also known as 22nd Avenue, by the Alexandria Street Department. The signs were put in place after the Safe Communities Coalition deemed the crossing as one of the five most dangerous intersections in Douglas County.

Just for fun – 1964, 50 years ago: Alexandria’s Viking Queen Jill Ann Hultman, 18-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hultman of Viking Trail Resort on Lake Darling, will represent this area in the District I Miss Minnesota Pageant to be held in Little Falls. … Legendary Minnesota Vikings Coach Bud Grant will be among the guests at the grand opening of the “Mega” Menards store in Alexandria.

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Rachel Barduson of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist to the Echo Press Opinion page.

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