From the Echo Press archives, 1996: Bridgeman's, home to the Lalapalooza ice cream treat, opens in Alexandria

This week in history in Douglas County.

This Week in 1971 – 50 years ago: The inside dining room of the new A&W Restaurant in Glenwood is suitable for year-round dining and will accommodate 40 diners, featuring the electronic phone system for placing orders. At the present time the drive-in employs 20 persons.

1986 – 35 years ago: Paving began on the Barrett road just west of Alexandria. The road has been completely re-built to accommodate re-paving. Long construction delays have plagued the completion of the project.

1981 – 40 years ago: The well-known “Air Step Hot Air Balloon” representing Iverson Shoes will be making an appearance at the Knute Nelson Ball Field, offering tethered rides. Brown Shoe Company brings the custom-designed 70-foot-tall hot air balloon, which displays the familiar “Air Step” logo, to community events and in this case, proceeds will go toward a fundraising effort by the Cornerstone.

1971, 50 years ago: A new addition to the Glenwood area is the A&W Restaurant at the intersection of Highways 55 and 28. Owners of the drive-in are Mr. and Mrs. Carl A. Johnson of Alexandria, who also own the A&W in Alex. The Johnsons purchased the Glenwood franchise from Mr. and Mrs. Clinton Wheeler who built the original A&W facility which was torn down in 1970 when the Highway 28 and 55 expansion project was started.

Alexandria Postmaster David R. Steinley announced that the dispatch of business mail to Minneapolis by Greyhound Bus, which left the Alexandria Post Office at 10:30 p.m. on weekdays, has been discontinued by the Postal Service.


1996, 25 years ago: Bridgeman’s of Alexandria has opened with a flourish. Owner/operator Mary Kelley notes that not only is Bridgeman’s home to the world famous “Lollapalooza” ice cream treat, but the restaurant also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is located in the Midway Mall next to Sears.

Newhouse Machinery Co. of Alexandria will celebrate its 75th anniversary with an open house. Carl Newhouse opened the company in 1921 on Hawthorne Street between 5th and 6th Avenues on a site that is now the south part of Garden Center. Several years later, it moved to 7th Avenue where the National Bushing parking lot is now. In 1945 Carl built a new building which was the model of modernization featured in national farm equipment magazines. Fifty-one years later, the business is still located at 324 Broadway. Three additions have been made over the years to serve the growing business, and the display lot has been expanded.

2011, 10 years ago: The old Bursch Travel building near Third Avenue and Nokomis Street in Alexandria was torn down to make way for a major expansion and remodeling project at Elden’s Food Fair. Work on the $4 million is expected to be completed next spring and will give the store a whole new look, more square footage and additional parking.

Just For Fun, 1971 – 50 years ago: Linda Engstrom, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Engstrom, 1002 Broadway, Alexandria, was crowned Homecoming Queen for Augsburg College in Minneapolis during Homecoming festivities at the college. Miss Engstrom, a senior majoring in health and physical education, was presented during the half-time show at the afternoon football game with St. John’s University at Parade Stadium in Minneapolis.

Sports Trivia, 1996 – 25 years ago: Kris (Elton) Montplaisir, former Alexandria three-sport standout athlete and graduate, will be among six new members inducted into the Concordia College Athletic Hall of Fame following the Homecoming game in Moorhead. Montplaisir is the most successful golfer in Concordia history. She won 17 of 21 tournaments she entered for the Cobbers and capped her career by becoming the 1981 AIAW Division III National Champion, winning the national tournament by six strokes. She is currently teaching at Pomeroy Elementary in Mesa, Arizona.

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

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