From the Echo Press archives, 1996: New 320 area code becomes mandatory after pagers, faxes and cell phones spur need for more numbers

This week in history in Douglas County.

This Week in 1971 – 50 years ago: The 3M Company is donating nearly eight acres of land to the City of Alexandria and to the Alexandria Area Vocational-Technical School Student Center Foundation. A 2.5-acre parcel will be used by the foundation as the site for a new student center. The remaining 5.1 acres – being given to the city – must be used for recreational or educational services, according to the transaction. The land is located along the northern edge of the 3M Coated Abrasives Plant property on Highway 29. The transfer of land will square off the 3M property lines and reduce the number of acres owned by 3M from 53 to approximately 45.

1971, 50 years ago: The Area-Tech School Student Center Foundation Inc. was established early this year for the purpose of providing a facility which would serve as a meeting and recreational home for students while away from home. The proposed building would be a two-story structure with 3600 square feet of space on each floor.

1996, 25 years ago: Gardonville Cooperative Telephone Association of Brandon is celebrating two years of local-number Internet access to western Douglas County, including Alexandria and the lakes area. Gardonville, a non-profit cooperative telephone company, prides itself on its customer service and its vision for the future. Gardonville’s affiliate, Lakes Area TV, provides the 18-foot dish which will play a big part in the internet scene, allowing high-speed internet data feeds in the near future.

Use of Minnesota’s new 320 area code became mandatory in mid-September, ending a six-month transition period during which callers could use either the 320 or 612 area code to complete a call. Due to dramatic growth in demand for new telephone numbers for such services as fax machines, pagers, cellular telephones, second telephone lines, voicemail and computer modems, Minnesota is quickly depleting its supply of telephone numbers in the mid-section of the state served by the 612 area code. To resolve the problem, the middle section of Minnesota was split into two different area codes.

2011, 10 years ago: The newest enrollment numbers for all grade levels, kindergarten through Grade 12 in District 206 came in at 3,947. That’s 50 more students than the district ended 2010-2011 school year with and 57 more than the district projected.


A patriotic celebration of the U.S. Constitution unfurled at Alexandria’s City Park. Presented by the Alexandria Freemasons, the second annual Constitution Fest featured flag ceremonies, singing of the National Anthem, replica displays of the Declaration of Independence, constitutional trivia, and Boy Scouts selling refreshments and fireworks.

Just for fun – 1971 - 50 years ago: From the column of Harvey “Sez” Harvey Hammergren – Manager – Chamber of Commerce: “We now have another sporting goods store in town, and it seems one is more beautiful than the other. The latest to open is the K & K Sports Center and the one just before this was the Viking Sports Center. We wish these fellas the very best and a happy, prosperous future.”

1961 – 60 years ago: Step inside the old Englund’s Grocery Store on 7th and Broadway to see how Sid Carlson has transformed it into a complete music center.

Sports Trivia 1996 – 25 years ago: To accommodate a permanent girls soccer sport in the Alexandria School District, the activity fee for students in grades 9-12 will increase from $30 to $35. The school board approved the boost in fee. Last year the board agreed to try girl’s soccer on a trial basis, agreeing that there was sufficient interest. According to Activities Director David Hartman, girl’s soccer will cost about $8,500 annually.

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

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