1920, 100 years ago: Mr. Benson from the other side of Farwell was seen in this vicinity canvassing for the Rural Weekly and another farm paper, but we told him we had enough and were satisfied with our county’s good paper.
Soberg Bros. are busy chopping fence posts for Isaackson’s.
1970, 50 years ago: The Alexandria Winter Press Party brought some 40 outdoor writers and photographers from radio, television and newspaper for two days of fishing, snowmobiling and fine eating in Alexandria. This annual event brings terrific results in advertising the Alexandria area. The group stayed at the Viking Motel.
The Interstate Commerce Commission authorized Great Northern Railway to discontinue the Dakotan and the Winnipeg Limited between the Twin Cities and Grand Forks, North Dakota, and to reroute the Western Star (operating between the Twin Cities and Seattle) from Willmar to the St. Cloud line. The change means that area residents who want to take the train to Minneapolis would grab the eastbound Star (No. 28) and return on the westbound Star (No. 27).
Motorists in Alexandria are reminded to look for the new STOP sign which was installed at Sixth and Fillmore after the City Council voted to have one erected there. Numerous motorists have been sailing right through by force of habit.
1995, 25 years ago: Douglas County’s population continues to grow. Figures released from the U.S. Census Bureau showed there were 29,999 people living here in 1994 – a 4.6 percent increase from the 1990 census. Douglas County’s growth was slightly higher than the state’s overall growth of 4.4% which boosted Minnesota’s population to 4,567,267.
The “look” of a landmark building in downtown Alexandria is headed for a major change. The City Council approved a plan to convert the existing police station and former fire station into a new city hall. The three large garage doors on the old fire station will be replaced by glass-block exterior of a new city hall at 704 Broadway. Architects are Widseth Smith. The police station, once it moves to its new location in the Douglas County Service Center (the old Central Junior High School), will be replaced by city offices. The existing city hall will be demolished for parking.
2010, 10 years ago: The Kensington Fire Department is one of 21 fire departments throughout the state to receive funding as part of The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. Nearly $1.5 million was distributed and Kensington received $37,580. The money will be used to purchase 19 sets of structural fire turnout gear, according to Kensington Fire Chief Joey Nessman.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota has designated Douglas County Hospital as a “Blue Distinction Center” for knee and hip replacement. Bill Flaig, hospital administrator, said the recognition highlights the outstanding orthopedic services and programs provided by the Heartland Orthopedic surgeons and the staff at the Douglas County Hospital.
Just for fun – 1970 – 50 years ago: “Pete” Michels, Great Northern depot agent in Alexandria says everything in the railroad business has changed, ”except the Morse Code.” Michels can remember back in 1912 when first starting with Great Northern that Alexandria had five trains coming or going ten times a day.
Sports trivia – 1970 – 50 years ago: Alexandria is rapidly becoming the winter playground in Minnesota. Recently spending time in this area were Bob Allison, star outfielder for the Minnesota Twins, “Rollie” Johnson, sports director of the WCCO Television station, Bob Nehlan, vice-president and general manager of the Federal Cartridge Corp. of Minneapolis, and Dave Yeager, professor at St. John’s University of St. Cloud. They fished on Maple Lake, caught walleyes and crappies, and stayed at the Alexandria Lakes Motel.
Rachel Barduson of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist to the Echo Press Opinion page.