1871 – 149 years ago: The Alexandria Post boasted, “Alexandria, as a summer resort, compares in its air to sunny Italy. Indeed, the whole of Douglas County seems to be intended for one grand pleasure garden.” In 1950 – 70 years ago: The Park Region Echo ran a story about the Alexandria area, “It was this great natural beauty which prompted the first settlements in this area and it was the same great natural beauty which spawned the now-famed resort business in this area.”
1970, 50 years ago: The turbulence was there…but the dark, ominous looking clouds were missing. Regardless of what color, the twister that swooped down on the village of Miltona Saturday evening, July 18 (electric clocks stopped at 7:02 p.m.) was as terrifying and devastating to those involved as any tornado recorded anywhere. It was only about a-block-and-a-half wide and its path was only about three miles. But it couldn’t have been more of a direct hit. When the tornado dissipated back into the clouds, 11 homes, 14 businesses and several farms had been either damaged or destroyed and five people had been injured.
Osakis Fire Chief Ed Pollard announced that firemen Don Hoosline, Lawrence Benedict and Bob George picked up the Osakis department’s new John Bean Fire Truck at the company plant in Tipton, Indiana. They also attended a two-day school prior to driving the unit home. The school covered complete maintenance of the unit and actual fire fighting techniques with high pressure fog. The unit is equipped with a 70 GPM high pressure pump operating at 850 lbs. pressure, delivering water through two hose lines equipped with special fog guns.
1995, 25 years ago: The small town of Herman, population 485, will host its second annual “Bachelormania” featuring country music’s “The Mavericks.” Special guest, Cosmopolitan magazine’s Tracy James, will be the star bachelor. He was featured in the May issue and was its first centerfold since Burt Reynolds. Other events include a bachelor auction, bachelor banquet, the 101st Grant County Fair, the county fair parade and more.
The library is set to move to the newly remodeled Douglas County Services Center, the former Central School building. Enter off Fillmore and go right to the area down by the pool. There are two entrances on the bottom level, enter the one that says Douglas County Library.
2010, 10 years ago: The Douglas County courthouse remodeling project is moving forward. Cost of the project is approximately $2 million. Phase I includes a two-story addition to the south side of the courthouse wing that would include a secure area for inmate transfers to and from court, a vehicle sally port, court holding rooms, conference room/jury assembly and more. Phase I does not, however, include a new dispatch area.
A ground breaking and blessing was held for Grand Arbor, the newest lifestyle community for aging adults by Knute Nelson. At the site on Pioneer Road, Grand Arbor consists of 137 apartments encompassing independent living, assisted living, enhanced assisted living and memory care assisted living apartments.
Just for fun 1995 – 25 years ago: Since “Bachelor Fever” hit Herman in 1994, organizers say the response to their quiet rural community has continued to increase. There are now more women-owned businesses, about 60 new residents, increased school enrollment, five new businesses, an enhanced area economy and an increased interest in other rural area communities.
Sports trivia 1970 – 50 years ago: Gene Baker, Midwest scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates, held a tryout camp in Alexandria. Twenty-six lads were in attendance. Two hitch-hiked from Grand Forks. They had to leave at 5 a.m. to make it by starting time.
Rachel Barduson of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist to the Echo Press Opinion page.