This week in 1971, 50 years ago: “This is the only place of its kind in the country, maybe even the world.” The words are those of Charles Munyon, general manager of Arrowwood Lodge, the huge resort and convention complex on the north side of Lake Darling. The Lodge is having an Open House on June 5 for the general public. The following weekend is set aside for a national open house, to be hosted by Governor Anderson. The governor’s party will include travel writers from all major national magazines and newspapers throughout the country.
1961, 60 years ago: The National Office of Civil Defense has broken ground for a demonstration-model family fall-out shelter at the Frances Hartman home east of Alexandria.
1971, 50 years ago: From Erc Aga’s column: “It’s good to hear that our State Highway Department has a heart for bird life. Mowing of the ditches along the highways has been deliberately delayed so that pheasants, meadow larks and other birds might complete their hatchings. Bob Herbst, Natural Resource Commissioner, says that because of the steady decline of grassy places to nest, birds are taking to the roadside ditches and he’s asking the highway people to wait until they are hatched out.”
Some 2,000 Minnesota youths, including several Alexandria young men, are becoming safer operators of tractors and other farming machinery through the training efforts of the University of Minnesota Agricultural Extension Service. Special training programs offered in the state have already certified some 5,000 youths between 14 and 16 years of age as safe tractor operators.
1996, 25 years ago: Workers began a $3.3 million building project, which included the removal of the bell tower, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Alexandria. The project will add 20,000 square feet to the church and provide seating for 1,500 parishioners.
The diving tower at Latoka Beach has been removed at the order of the LaGrand Township Board. It will not be replaced. The township board made the decision for two main reasons — liability and a concern about the risky behavior on the tower.
Big Ole is smiling a little broader, now that he has his sword back. Some months ago vandals snatched his weapon. Thanks to Alexandria Extrusion, the city’s fiberglass Viking patriarch has a new 5-foot-long fiberglass sword. Workmen used a bonding process to attach Big Ole’s new sword.
2011, 10 years ago: Theatre L’Homme Dieu’s 51st season starts on the summer solstice; both are indicators that summer has officially begun. TLHD’s new model, now in its third year, brings the best of Minnesota’s theater to the lakes region for one week runs in June, July and August.
Just for fun – 1996 – 25 years ago: Now with the touch of a few buttons, people from all over the world will find out about a popular upcoming event in Alexandria. The Vikingland Band Festival has established a site on the World Wide Web, which is the most popular portion of the global Internet computer network. The site strengthens the festival’s position as a leader among marching band events, according to Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Director Mac Bryant.
Sports trivia 1996 – 25 years ago: Wes Ness was the recipient of the Ken Borg award at the Ashby High School. The award goes to the outstanding senior male athlete at Ashby.
2011 – 10 years ago: David “The Bullet” Smith, a human bullet, will perform his airborne antics at Knute Nelson Memorial Field following the contest between the Alexandria Beetles and the Thunder Bay Border Cats. The Bullet has been shot out of a cannon more than 5,000 times and recently broke the record for the longest human cannonball shot at 194 feet, 3 inches at an exhibition in Italy.
Rachel Barduson of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist to the Echo Press Opinion page.