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Observations from the archives, 2004: Firefighters rappelled 138 feet down a building

1914, 100 years ago: About 40 farmers met at Rose Corners in Spruce Hill and organized themselves as members of the Douglas County Home Rule Protective Association. … Hjalmer Johnson of Spruce Hill, who is building a new house and barn, has the barn nearly completed. Johnson’s modern buildings will be lighted by electricity and have other up-to-date conveniences. … The Cozy Theatre experienced a fire scare when the film it was showing caught fire. About 3,000 feet of the film was destroyed and the machine was also damaged.

1964, 50 years ago: A petition asking for fluoridation of city water was signed by virtually every dentist and doctor in the community and presented to the city council, which voted 4-1 in favor of the petition. George P. Lord, a member of the board of public works, said the necessary equipment for fluoridation would cost approximately $4,800, about 14 cents per person per year, and is designed to reduce the incidence of cavities, especially in children. … Manager Ray Vonderhaar of the Andria Theatre has invited all graduating seniors of the area to view the movie PT 109 without cost on any of the three days it will be shown, and also offers area youngsters in grades six and lower, half-price admission. John F. Kennedy half-dollars will be given as change as long as the supply lasts. … Governor Karl Rolvaag fished on Lake Mary near Alexandria for the opener. WCCO personalities broadcasting from the Lake Darling Ranch Resort include Charlie Boone and Roger Erickson, along with Alexandria Chamber of Commerce President Harvey Hammergren.

1989, 25 years ago: Volunteers are manning the newly-opened popcorn wagon in downtown Alexandria. The wagon, which is a fundraiser for Douglas County senior citizens, is located in the city parking lot alongside Diekman’s Jewelry on Lincoln Avenue West. … Tom Akenson, who has taught English for 16 years in Alexandria, wrote a feature article that was published in Classic Boating, a national publication for boating buffs. The article, A New ‘Old Sport’ is a vivid portrait in words and photos about the joys and frustrations of bringing an old boat back to life. His beloved boat is named after the lead character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s immortal novel, The Great Gatsby.

2004, 10 years ago: The holding ponds built to cleanse the water flowing into Lake Winona and Lake Agnes are finished and operational, according to Widseth Smith Nolting Engineer Tim Schoonhoven. The ponds are designed to capture pollutants like oil and heavy metals that attach themselves to gravel from the streets, and to treat the storm-water coming off the city streets before dumping into the lakes. The ponds also lend a scenic touch to the area. … Members of the Alexandria Fire Department’s Tactical Rescue Team practiced rope and high-level rescues during a training exercise at the Viking Towers. Firefighters rappelled 138 feet down the building to simulate a rescue.

Just for fun – 1964, 50 years ago: During Alexandria’s Moonlight Madness, the Agnes and Mildred Shop offered “One fine $17.99 dress to go to a Lucky Winner for only $1.99” and “One box of hose to a Lucky Winner for only 59¢ … and … Tryouts are held for a one-act play to be put on by the Recreation Department in conjunction with a fine arts festival, the first ever tried by the department. The director, Jim Perdue, has selected the play, Lot’s Wife.

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