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Observations from the archives, 2003: Lakeside Ballroom total loss in fire

1913, 100 years ago: Peter Peterson is putting the first coat of paint on the Methodist Church and parsonage. The Ladies Aid Society has been cleaning up the interior, oiled the linoleum of the auditorium and will paint the chairs of the lecture room. John Urness, one of the Urness up-to-date farmers, was in Alexandria attending to business matters. He said everything looks favorable for a good crop so far. He has been so busy attending to the work on the farm that he has not been in town since last fall. He also visited his mother, and brother, Andrew Urness, while here.

1963, 50 years ago: Manager Ole Bormes stands before the new Alexandria Municipal Liquor Store, located at the north end of Broadway. The new store is scheduled to be completed by July 17. Jim Chan, ticket chairman of the Satchel Paige baseball exhibition game, a Lions Club promotion for the benefit of the blind, is pictured as he sells the first ticket for that event to Mayor Marvin Hansen. Lending support for the start of the ticket campaign are John Toso, general chairman, and Jim Syrdal, president of the Alexandria Lion's Club.

1988, 25 years ago: Alexandria physician Dr. William Heegaard returned from his third tour of duty to the Thai-Cambodian border area where settlement camps house up to 300,000 Southeast Asian displaced persons. They must live and wait until their own country, or some other country, can decide what to do with them. The displaced persons are victims of war and unstable governments and are not eligible for the same protections given to refugees under international law. Instead, they are under jurisdiction of the country they flee to, and are considered the same as illegal immigrants. Dr. Heegaard works as a consultant in pediatrics and is part of a team of about 30 medical personnel, mostly Americans, from a Minneapolis-based, private and non-profit refugee and displaced-person organization called American Refugee Committee (ARC). It provides medical care and training in two camps in Thailand and two camps in Sudan.

2003, 10 years ago: A huge piece of Glenwood's history went up in smoke on Saturday, June 7 when the historic Lakeside Ballroom burned down. The Glenwood Fire Department was called at 3:25 on Saturday and almost immediately, fire departments from six nearby towns were called for aid, including Starbuck, Villard, Brooten, Lowry, Forada and Alexandria. J.H. McCauley built the Lakeside Pavilion in 1908, salvaging a city-owned pavilion from the same site built in 1890. The ballroom first opened in 1909. Members of the Patty Roquette-Chad Olson wedding party scheduled for its reception and dance on the evening of June 7 had to change plans and were accommodated by Arrowwood in Alexandria.

Just for fun - 100 years ago: For our women readers, here are some ingenious ways in which grandmother disguised stale bread: Cut squares of very hard bread two inches thick. Steam over boiling water for 20 minutes and serve hot with butter and maple sirup [syrup]. Or cut the bread in one-inch squares, put in a colander and dash cold water over them. Then fry the squares in butter until they are a delicate brown. Break two eggs over them, cook three minutes and serve immediately. This is particularly good for breakfast.

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