Weather Forecast


Observations from the archives: leaders and meetings

1913, 100 years ago: Another Booster meeting was advertised by the Commercial Club of Alexandria. Several speakers occupied time at Browns Opera, following which lunch was served at the Commercial Clubrooms over Hanson's Furniture Store. Mr. Briebler, president of the club, said the object of this meeting is to get together with the country people and work for the good of the county and the city of Alexandria. County Commissioner Theo Walstad of Lund and Fred Peterson and Peter Engstrom of Ida were among those who attended. John Nelson of Garfield and Chas. Rosengren of Brandon were also there.

1963, 50 years ago: Walter F. Mondale, attorney general for the state of Minnesota, is to be the featured speaker at the Douglas County Democratic-Farmer-Labor convention in Alexandria, announced county chairman Willard Olson. The convention was to get under way at St. Mary's School auditorium. The 1963 State Republican Convention, the first off-year convention to be held by the GOP since 1959 and only the second in its long history, was to be held in Alexandria in June. Dwight Wagenius, Carleton College junior from Holmes City, has been elected president of the Men's League, a campus organization for the purpose of looking after the welfare of the men, aid in the election of proctors, and arrange for the facilities in the dining halls. Wagenius, son of the Reuben E. Wageniuses of Holmes City and graduate of Jefferson High School in Alexandria, has also participated in college athletics. And 50 years ago, the unnamed Alexandria area press club elected Ercel Aga, news director of KXRA-Radio, president, Jon Haaven, news director of KCMT-TV, vice-president and Anita Stone of the Park Region Echo as secretary/treasurer. Headquarters for the newly-formed club is the Viking Motel lounge. The organization will invite full and part-time news people from newspapers, radio and television in the west central part of the state to join the club.

1988, 25 years ago: The request for a bigger library has become an annual lament from library personnel, according to Alexandria head librarian Trish Conroy. The Carnegie Library wood floor creaks, the patrons are crowded, shelves are crammed. Conroy said, "Libraries are so different than in Carnegie's day. The information explosion is going on stronger than ever and there is a need for information of all kinds. That information comes in all kinds of new technological forms and media, and we do our best to provide it." The library seemed spacious in 1905, two years after it was built.

2003, 10 years ago: Jeff Bosek of Alexandria wrote a book, Desert Scopes, based on his experiences as a U.S. Marine sniper. The 108-page book is told from the perspective of a fictitious character named Sergeant Stazak, a sniper during the Gulf War. Bosek had a tour of duty in Iraq in 1993 during the Gulf War. Although the copyright date of the book was 1995, the book "eerily reflects some of the perils that are unfolding in Iraq today," said Bosek.

Just for fun: Back in 1903, Carnegie frowned momentarily and the Alexandria Library almost didn't get built. The famous benefactor had offered $10,000 to build the facility. Alexandria citizens were delighted, but they tried to have their cake and eat it, too. According to a 1903 newspaper, Alexandrians wanted a library AND a gymnasium. "The building should be so arranged," stated the newspaper writer, "as to have a first-class gymnasium in the basement. At this writing, there is no place in Alexandria where boys and young men can congregate and enjoy themselves in a way that should be acceptable to their parents or to themselves." Carnegie nixed the library-gymnasium plan. His money, he replied, would be used for the advancement of brains only, not for the pursuit of brawn.

• • •

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