1995: Following explosion, Parkers Prairie vows to rebuild

This week in history in Douglas County.

Rachel Barduson
Rachel Barduson

1920, 100 years ago: Alexandria has a new Nonpartisan League lawyer. His name is H. Zander and he moved to Alexandria a couple of weeks ago. On account of the Echo being crowded for space, we have not had a chance to give this important piece of news before. Mr. Zander was born in Iowa and came here from Lester Prairie, Minnesota.

For Auto-Top repairing go to H.A. Squires at the Leather Store on 6th Avenue.

1970, 50 years ago: A fire at the Stenzel Tire and Recapping next to the parking lot on 5th and Hawthorne completely destroyed Everett Stenzel’s building, but not his business, as he vows to “be back within 30 to 60 days.” Stenzel estimated loss in the fire at $180,000. The 78’ X 138’ wooden structure was well underway toward total destruction when firemen arrived on the scene minutes after it was discovered by police officer Swanson, who turned the alarm in at 9:50 p.m. The building was one of the older structures in town, about 60 years old.

Navy Boilerman Third Class Roger D. Pasche of Hoffman is now serving on-board the guided missile destroyer John Paul Jones making his first tour of the Western Pacific. Pasche will see duty off the coast of Vietnam this tour as well as many Far Eastern ports.

Voters of the Evansville School District 208 will vote on a $125,000 bond issue.


1995, 25 years ago: Since a gas explosion demolished the Parker’s Prairie fire hall and seriously weakened eight other buildings, all but two of those buildings have been torn down, leaving a block in the heart of the city all but empty. Charging only minimal fees, Kamphake Construction of Parker’s razed the buildings and removed the rubble. Several business people have said they will rebuild and there are tentative plans afoot to build a new community center on the rubble of the old fire hall. In demolishing the old 1906 bank building (just east of the fire hall), workmen saved the six-foot-long “State Bank” granite insert plaque, as well as the multi-colored granite archway over the front steps. The archway will somehow be incorporated into new building at the fire hall site.

Douglas County is planning on spending $3 million this year on roads-and-bridges projects. Funding comes from three main sources, federal, state and local taxes and the largest source is the Minnesota Highway User Fund. This money comes from gas taxes and the sale of license plates.

2010, 10 years ago: Ground was broken for the new Accessible Space, Inc. (ASI) apartment complex. Located on 34th Avenue near the Viking Mall, the apartment complex is designed for “very low income” adults who are physically and/or developmentally disabled. ASI is a Minnesota-based non-profit organization whose mission is to provide accessible, affordable, assisted, supportive and independent living opportunities for persons with physical disabilities and brain injuries, as well as seniors. The group was started in 1978 and now is a nationwide organization with more than 100 buildings in 27 states. The Alexandria project includes rooms for 16 people.

Just for fun – 1970 - 50 years ago: Stenzel’s Tire and Recapping structure next to the parking lot on 5th and Hawthorne, was once a livery stable and for many years was the site of the Ford Barn, from which Joe Syvrud operated his car dealership.

Sports trivia 1970 – 50 years ago: 250 athletes from the Little Eight Conference were honored at a banquet at host school Barrett. Jim Christopherson, head football coach at Concordia College in Moorhead, was the guest speaker.

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

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