This week in 1971, 50 years ago: The whole town of Miltona is a new town, both in appearance and in community spirit, a year after a tornado hit in full force. Six brand new houses sit where four older homes and a trailer home sat before the tornado. On Main Street there is a new lumber yard building, new café and new service station, all of which were built from the ground up. Other businesses damaged in the storm have been remodeled and several sport new fronts. To add to the newness a number of streets have curb and gutter. The old Soo Line depot is gone, as is the old Midland filling station (moved to where the old Texaco station used to be). Both were leveled by the tornado. Also gone is the feeling that MIltona has no future. The fact that the town was rebuilt is a credit to the people and the fact that it was so completely rebuilt so soon is amazing.

1971, 50 years ago: A hiking and riding trail through part of Douglas County has been announced by DNR Commissioner Robert Herbst as one of five trails approved by the 1971 Legislature. The 54-mile trail, to be called the Glacial Ridge Trail, will run from Carlos State Park to Kandiyohi County Park and will pass through Glacial Lake State Park and Sibley State Park.

1996, 25 years ago: Habitat for Humanity, the home-building project made famous by former president Jimmy Carter, has begun in Douglas County. Since February, close to 40 volunteers have organized the effort that will be known as Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County. The ecumenical group is now gearing up for a fundraiser, hoping to raise between $30,000-$35,000 to build the first house.

The Baker’s Conoco service station (formerly Westerfield’s Mobil) on the corner of Third and Broadway in Alexandria has completed its remodeling project and has scheduled a grand opening for July 25-26.

Cellular 2000 reports that the new Parkers Prairie cell site is now up and running. It’s a 400-foot tower equipped with high-quality, low powered transmit-and-receive antennas and is located southwest of the city.

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2011, 10 years ago: The City of Alexandria will receive a $10,000 Arts Legacy Grant to cover all the costs of a park sculpture, “Gathering Tree,” in Big Ole Central Park. Minneapolis artist Marcia McEachron, who has 25 years experience, is expected to begin working on it this month. The grant program is funded through the 2008 Legacy Amendment sales tax increase that was approved by Minnesota voters.

Just for fun – 1971 - 50 years ago: The Alexandria Telephone Company announced that it has completed installation of direct distance dialing equipment at the Holmes City exchange. The telephone subscribers of that exchange are now able to direct dial their long distance calls to any place in the continental United States.

Sports trivia 1996 – 25 years ago: Two foursomes of golfers hit the links, joining the fight against cancer in the annual fundraiser, “The Longest Day of Golf” at the Radisson Arrowwood course in Alexandria. Golfers included Russ Moeser, Dave Esala, Bob Parkin, Mike Lommen, Craig Dunmire, Patrick Kalpin, Dave Ellingson and Eric Zirco. They received donations for each hole they golfed, which turned out to be 54 holes this year. In all, the effort raised $4,000 to $5,000 and all proceeds will go to help cancer patients in Douglas County, such as providing a hospital bed or transportation for chemotherapy. Jill Wagner of Abstracts by Professionals is the Cancer Society organizer.

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