1920, 100 years ago: 145 bright boys and girls of Douglas County will receive their eighth grade diplomas at the high school auditorium. It is the largest class that has yet graduated in Douglas County. An oration, “The Value of Education to the Country Boy and Girl” will be given by Mabel Myers of District 21. The commencement address will be given by Professor D.D. Mayne of the University of Minnesota Farm of St. Paul. His subject will be “The Ideals of Youth.”
1970, 50 years ago: Preliminary population figures released by the U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, show that Douglas County is one of six counties in the entire 7th District to increase in population, according to the 1970 census. The population figures show a preliminary 1970 figure of 22,612 for Douglas County; as compared to 21,313 in 1960.
Kensington High School will hold its 39th graduation when 23 seniors participate in ceremonies. Donna Lanus has been named valedictorian and Donald Spilseth is salutatorian.
1995, 25 years ago: A “propane peak-shaving” plant near Alexandria won’t be up and running until next year. Minnegasco first announced its plans to construct the propane-air mixing plant in March. It plans to build the facility on two acres of a 17-acre site one-half mile east of Alexandria on State Highway 27 East at Geneva Lake Road. The plan and location were approved by the Douglas County Commissioners in April.
Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, a leading national company in the upper-economy segment of the lodging industry, is expanding into Alexandria with a 64-unit facility. The property is located on the southwest quadrant of Interstate-94 and Highway 29 South, west of the Holiday Inn. The new facility is owned and managed by the Alexandria-based Lee, Breitbach, Hafdal LLC and construction will be managed by Breitbach Construction Company.
2010, 10 years ago: Alexandria’s old sewer plant along 3rd Avenue West was demolished and the old park department building will also be torn down soon, all to make room for a new Alexandria police station that will be built on the site, which is located near the new Douglas County Jail. The Alexandria City Council accepted a bid of $316,139 from Mark Lee Excavating of Alexandria to complete the “phase one” site development work. The new 24,000-square-foot facility, estimated to cost about $5.1 million, will house administration, records, offices for patrol officers and detectives, a community meeting room and other space for police operations.
Just for fun – 1970 – 50 years ago: Doug Oppel, manager of Gibson’s Discount Center, in Alexandria, is offering 100 extra special buys in observance of the company’s 100th store which has opened in Huran, South Dakota. This could be considered a retailing milestone, since probably no other retailer has opened 100 stores in the short span of 6½ years. Oppel has been with Gibson for five years and took over the manager’s post in Alexandria when the local outlet opened a year ago last October.
The old Alexandria sewer plant, built in the early 1940s, was shut down when the Alexandria Lakes Area Sanitary District began operations in the early 1970s, according to sources with Alexandria Light and Power (ALP). The plant, overloaded with demand from the city’s growing population, was in pretty bad shape when it was abandoned, according to Dave Nelson, former ALP general manager.
Sports trivia 1970 – 50 years ago: The scuba diving class completed instruction at the Central pool. Jerry Callaghan is the instructor and the course is offered several times during the year by the Adult Education Department at Jefferson High.
Rachel Barduson of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist to the Echo Press Opinion page.