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Observations from the archives, 1963: Jill Hultman is crowned Viking Queen

1913, 100 years ago: The big event toward which you have been looking begins! Alexandria Chautauqua "brings a bundle of joy to the people," including a magnificent singing orchestra. "Get away from the daily grind of work. Take a change from the same old thing. The arch enemy of human progress is the rut. The Chautauqua is a great advertisement for the town. The Chautauqua affords a real vacation and does it at very small cost." $2 buys a season ticket good for entire assembly (four days). If you buy in advance from local committee, only $1.50.

1963, 50 years ago: Jill Hultman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hultman, was crowned Alexandria's new Viking Queen during the pageant held at the Algon Ballroom. The Hultmans own and operate the Viking Trail Resort on Lake Darling and Jill was sponsored by the Park Region Press. The 18-year-old queen will make an appearance on WCCO-TV in Minneapolis to publicize the upcoming Runestone Days and Runestone Pageant. Her princesses include Carol Franzen and Susan Larson. Lee Johnson was crowned the new King Magnus IV, who will reign with Queen Jill.

1988, 25 years ago: More than 40 colorful watercraft took part in the first Independence Day Boat Parade on Brandon's Lake Chippewa. The parade started small from the Stanley and Phyllis Ramsdell residence on the southeast side of "Big Chip." Organizers for the parade, Jody and Steve Hanson, looked discouraged at first as they scanned the lake for boats. "It's the first parade we've had out here," said Jody. "Maybe people just haven't heard that it's on for today." As the Hansons' pontoon plowed through gentle waves, John Phillip Sousa marching tunes blared from a boom box in the back of the pontoon. Within minutes, watercraft of all sorts could be seen across the lake, ready to join the parade. As boat after boat fell into line, groups of people stood on beaches and docks and waved and smiled and yelled their good wishes.

2003, 10 years ago: Flood damage to the Douglas County Hospital prompted a visit from U.S. Senator Norm Coleman. The senator met with Bill Flaig, hospital administrator, and toured the facility's hardest hit area, the boiler room. During a downpour that overwhelmed the city's sewer system, water poured in through the service door and flooded the boiler room with more than three feet of water. The hospital also sustained roof and ceiling damage and a hospital vehicle was totaled. Although still assessing damage and figuring out which electrical components would need to be replaced, Flaig expects the total damage could exceed $250,000. Fortunately, the hospital has flood insurance that covers up to $500,000 in loss per occurrence.

Just for fun - 50 years ago, 1963: Postmaster Allan E. Rogers announced a five-digit ZIP code for Nelson, Minnesota, saying, "Everyone in Nelson will use this ZIP code (56355) on all their correspondence to speed mail deliveries and reduce the chance of mis-sent mail." ZIP codes, the Post Office Department's revolutionary new system of improved mail dispatch and delivery, goes into effect nationally July 1. Postmaster Rogers stressed the importance of all citizens of Nelson learning this city's ZIP code and using it in their return address on all correspondence. In answering mail, he said, ZIP codes taken from return addresses on incoming mail should be used.

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