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2009: Douglas Machine adds 39,000 square feet

1919, 100 years ago: Fergus Falls is in ruins as a result of a fearful tornado which hit the city on Sunday, June 22. The large Grand Hotel is just a pile of bricks, mortar and splinters and more than 30 people lost their lives in that building alone. Something like 300 of the finest residences in Fergus are strewn over the prairies or heaped up in piles of kindling wood. Of the N.P. Depot, only the floor remains. The courthouse and jail are in complete ruins and every church in the city is down. The Fergus Falls Brewery was completely smashed. Property loss is estimated at from $1 million to $2 million.

1969, 50 years ago: Groundbreaking was held for the new Alexandria State Bank. Bank president Martin Haar said that the bank, which is this month observing its 50th anniversary, should move into the new building, at 8th and Broadway, by May 1970.

Initial steps for an eventual addition to the Douglas County Hospital were taken by the hospital Board of Trustees, with a selection of an architect for the building project. The firm of Henningson, Durham & Richardson of Omaha, Nebraska, has been employed and will begin the project immediately. Pointing to the need for enlarged local hospital facilities is the fact the Douglas County Hospital has operated for past years at an average of 100% occupancy.

1994, 25 years ago: Brandon inventor Jim Korkowski decided to find a better way to decorate the grave of a loved one with a floral tribute. The result of his efforts is a new product, a flower holder he calls MonuMate, designed to remain in place and present no obstruction to mowing grass or other maintenance on the site. The MonuMate holders are available in either an antique silver or copper finish, to harmonize with the color of memorials and come in two styles, a side mount that is attached to monuments and a base mount that is used with flat markers and slanted stones.

Over 600 youths of the county registered for the first session of Red Cross swimming lessons which started this week. In Alexandria, 477 swimmers registered at Central school's pool, while about 130 took part at Carlos State Park. Figures for Osakis were not available.

2009, 10 years ago: Alexandria's Vikingland Band Festival parade will turn 25 years old in grand style, with its biggest lineup in eight years. Twenty-two bands are scheduled to perform as the festival retains its reputation as Minnesota's largest and most prestigious summer marching band competition, according to organizers.

Douglas Machine Inc. broke ground on a 39,000-square-foot facility expansion on the corner of 36th Avenue West and Minnesota Street in Alexandria. The property is already home to a Douglas Machine facility and after this expansion the size of the Alexandria facilities will grow to almost 275,000 square feet.

Just for fun 1994 — 25 years ago: The Alexandria Echo Press office has moved to its new facility at the corner of 7th and Irving. Construction of the 13,000-square-foot building began last fall and the move across town began last week. The newspaper's 50 employees began operating from their new quarters this week.

Sports Trivia 1994 — 25 years ago: Careless operation of personal watercraft, from jet skis to water scooters, is becoming the most common water-related complaint in Douglas County, according to Water Patrol Supervisor Arlan Krohnfeldt. He said that personal watercrafts in shallow water can destroy the vegetation in a lake. They also disturb prime fishing spots. If they come too close, too often, they destroy spawning habitat. The regulation about slow-no-wake speeds is probably the most ignored regulation of all personal watercraft, Kronfeldt said.

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