1920: Five hours of speeches draw 2K to fairgrounds

This week in history in Douglas County.

Rachel Barduson
Rachel Barduson

1920, 100 years ago: Rain and muddy roads have no terror for Douglas County farmers. In spite of all the rain the night before, which put the mud roads of our country districts in an almost impassable condition, the farmers came in for the Non-partisan League picnic to hear “Governor” Shipstead at the Alexandria Fair Grounds. It is estimated that about 2,000 people took in the speaking program, which commenced at noon and kept up without a break until about 5 p.m.

1970, 50 years ago: A total of 330 Jefferson High School seniors plus two foreign exchange students will receive their diplomas June 4. Due to crowd pressure at commencement exercises in the past and because of increase in class size, admission to the gymnasium will be by ticket only. Each senior will receive two tickets for his parents and six tickets for other relatives and friends.

School District 449 (Old #9) Lake Louise will close its doors at the end of this school year. The school has been in operation for 89 years. On March 9, 1881 the building site for the school was purchased from James Dickens for the sum of one dollar and the new building was erected. The school was partly remodeled and a front enclosed entrance was built in the early ‘40s by the WPA.

Shop at Stella’s newly remodeled Fashionette for the big “Festival of Fashion.” At Stella’s, 518 Broadway, salesladies will be ready to explain the intricacies of correct fit for individual figures. Stella will have a fabric seminar three times daily during the festival, so you, too, may learn about the new fabrics and fabric combinations on today’s market and how to care for them.

1995, 25 years ago: Due to the consolidation of area school districts and the construction of a new facility at Barrett, the Hoffman school closed at the end of this school year. A grand finale school day will be held on June 10 and individual classes will hold reunions. On June 11, area churches will have worship services. An auction of school items will be held in the afternoon.


Two full-time patrol officers, aided by sheriff’s posse members, will keep a watchful eye on boaters this summer on Douglas County lakes. The purpose is to promote water safety, said Douglas County Sheriff Deputy Dave Ahlquist, coordinator of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Water Patrol. Part of this summer’s enforcement effort will be a “Sea-Doo” (Jet Ski), known generically as a personal watercraft. Thanks to a “loaner program” through Ollie’s Service in Alexandria, the brand-new Sea-Doo is being loaned to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department courtesy of the Sea-Doo Corporation.

2010, 10 years ago: Knute Nelson’s plan to build a 139-unit senior living campus rolled smoothly ahead at the Alexandria City Council meeting. The new campus – a planned unit development known as Grand Arbor – will be located along Pioneer Road (County Road 106) and 50th Avenue. It will consist of 73 independent living units, 30 general assisted living units, 18 enhanced assisted living units and 18 memory care units.

Just for fun – School Trivia: In the early days of the Lake Louise school there was a three month session in the fall and a three month session in the spring with a different teacher for each session. The salaries of the teachers in the 1930s were anywhere from $25 to $50 a month. In 1941 the salary was $72.50. In 1946 the salary was $160 a month. School was wired for electricity in 1945. The power was then obtained from Douglas County Light and Power (now REA). Bus service started in the fall of 1954. The Hoffman School District #42 was formed in 1887 and the first school house was built of wood in 1888 on the same spot that the present school stands. In 1894-95 a larger wood school was built and in 1907 a new brick school was built, in 1930 an addition was built. In the 1950s, with consolidation of rural school districts, six new classrooms, an auditorium, home economics, vocational agriculture and shop departments were added. By the late ‘70s pairing of Hoffman and Kensington began and with the 1995 consolidation of Hoffman, Kensington, Barrett and Elbow Lake-Wendell school districts, the newly constructed school in Barrett will open for grades 7-12 in the fall and the Hoffman school will be closed.

Sports trivia 1970 – 50 years ago: All Alexandria bicycle owners are reminded that the Kiwanis Club and the VFW will scotch-lite your bike free after purchase of a 1970 bicycle license from the police department. Safety information will also be handed out. Licenses cost 25 cents.

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

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