From the Echo Press archives, 2011: Alexandria cinema replaces 1940s-era projector with digital

This week in history in Douglas County.

This Week in 1971 – 50 years ago: Geneva Lodge, the first outstate resort in Minnesota north of the Twin Cities, was demolished because its owners, Bob and Evelyn Brown, could find no buyer for the resort they owned for nearly 30 years. The Browns bought Geneva Beach from Arthur L. Roberts of the Arthur L. Roberts Hotel Company in 1943. At that time it was a brand new building as the previous lodge had burned in 1941 and Roberts had just rebuilt it. The Browns started dissolving their interest in the Lodge in 1965 when they started subdividing the property. The property that was not sold, which contained the old Lodge plus 300 feet of lakeshore was not very saleable. The Browns had it on the market for four years, with fewer people interested, and the taxes rose. With the Lodge now gone, the Browns hope they have a more marketable piece of real estate. There remains over 300 feet of lakeshore with one of the finest views on Lake Geneva, which somebody, the Browns hope, will buy for a homesite or homesites.

1971, 50 years ago: Toby’s Supper Club on old Highway 29 North has been remodeled, according to owner Toby Brede. The old booths are gone and new chairs and carpeting have replaced them. In addition, the walls have been paneled. The dance floor remains for those who like to dance.

Efforts are being taken to protect trees and prevent their unnecessary removal during construction of the $4 million addition to Douglas County Hospital South. The hospital site is three blocks deep extending from the current front of the building on South Broadway all the way back to Jefferson Street across from the Alexandria Area Technical School. There are about 150 trees on hospital property and of these 75 will be in the construction area. So far, six have been approved for removal by Kent Sherwood, hospital administrator, and there are five or six more that may have to go.

1996, 25 years ago: The Parkers Prairie school district is the 3rd “wireless school” in the state, 45th in the nation. “Wireless” means that the school system uses ClassLink, a minimal system installed in the schools that allows teachers, principals, custodial and security personnel to use small wireless phones to contact one another and the outside world.

The Holiday Foods store in Alexandria has been sold. The official announcement came when Elden’s, Inc. of Austin, Minnesota, announced the acquisition of the Holiday Company’s Alexandria outlet. Elden’s owns and operates a SuperFair Foods store in Austin which will be sold to Holiday Companies as part of this transaction.


2011, 10 years ago: The reel-to-reel projector sitting in the lobby of the Midway Cinema 9 in Alexandria has been replaced by a new digital projection system. In fact, all nine theatres have been ushered into the digital age. The relic in the window has parts dating back to the 1940s; it was mended as needed until the time had come for retirement. “It’s the biggest change since they added sound to talkies,” John Perino, owner of Tentellino Enterprises, said.

Just For Fun, 2001 – 10 years ago: In the bygone days, projectionists would have to lay out reels of 35-millimeter film on long tables in projection rooms. They would then have to change the reels every 20 minutes to keep the motion picture moving. Now, the entire movie fits on a hard-drive.

Sports Trivia, 1996 – 25 years ago: Mike Wencl, former Alexandria standout swimmer and graduate, was on the winning 200 medley relay team for St. Cloud State University in the Huskies 61-34 win at Wisconsin-River Falls. He added a second-place finish in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:09.39 and was second in the backstroke with a clocking of 56.28.

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

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