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From the Echo Press archives, 1972: Fire destroys Our Savior's in Evansville

This week in history in Douglas County.

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This Week in 1972 – 50 years ago: A fire, apparently caused by an explosion of a furnace, completely destroyed one of the oldest landmarks in Douglas County. Our Savior’s Lutheran Church of Evansville, 103 years old, fell to a combination of blast and fire in about three hours after its furnace blew up at about 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 3. About the only recognizable ruins left were several dozen folding metal chairs left standing in what was the basement. The heat had melted some of them. Other than the chairs, the furnace was the only recognizable remnant. The rest was gone. Completely burned. The fire was so hot that even the church bell was melted. The only thing left of the bell was the clapper.

1972, 50 years ago: The winner of the annual “First Baby of the Year Contest” is Jennifer Lynn Sletto, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dale Sletto of Alexandria, who was born at 4:32 p.m. Jan. 5.

Bob’s Clothes Shop in Alexandria was honored by the Boy Scouts of America for their aid to scouting in Alexandria through the operation of the Boy Scouts goods department in their store and other service to scouting. The award was presented locally by District Scout Executive Orville Knapp.

The District 206 Board of Education came to a vote on the hiring of an architect to draw preliminary data that will be necessary for a bond issue on an addition to the Alexandria Area Technical School.

1997, 25 years ago: Thanks to the internet, the Echo Press is about to have its own web site. People throughout the world will be able to access the site for news, features, ads and daily updates. On the interactive service, people will also be able to give feedback to the Echo Press via email.


Douglas County’s new recycling center is now open for business alongside the solid waste incinerator at 2110 Jefferson St. in Alexandria.

A generous donation by former Kensington resident Lucille Swenson, who passed away in April 1994 in Tucson, Arizona, gave three acres to the Kensington Runestone Park near Kensington. The land was willed to the county as part of her estate, explained Al Lieffort, Douglas County Parks supervisor.

2012, 10 years ago: Broadway Medical Center and Sanford Health officially merged to become Sanford Health Broadway Clinic. Sanford Health, based in the Dakotas, has grown to become the largest rural not-for-profit health care system in the nation with locations in 112 communities in seven states. Broadway Medical Center operated independently in Alexandria for 15 years before the acquisition.

Just For Fun, 1897 – 125 years ago: Editor Arneson of the Ashby Farmer has moved that newspaper to Barrett in the same county and changed its name. It will hereafter be known as the Barrett Lake Breeze. Mr. Arneson will give the people of Barrett a good, lively newspaper, deserving their patronage.

1947 – 75 years ago: A new Greyhound service which will permit travel from Alexandria straight through to St. Paul will be effective Jan. 20. Complete information on this new service will be available at the Traveler’s Inn, local Greyhound Depot.

Sports Trivia, 1997 – 25 years ago: Sno-Cross racing was one of the highlights of the Alexandria Pepsi Cola Holiday Spectacular snowmobile races held on the Viking Speedway oval at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. The Spectacular was the third of an eight-race United States Snowmobile Association (USSA) Chevrolet Pro/Star Racing Series. The USSA was founded in 1965 and sanctioned its first ever in Crandon, Wisconsin in December 1967. It is now the longest continuous snowmobile sanctioning body in the world.

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

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