From the Echo Press archives, 1933: Fog forces mail plane to land in Alexandria

This week in history in Douglas County.

Picture of Rachel Barduson
Rachel Barduson

This Week in 1933 – 90 years ago: H.B. Ruschenberg, crack pilot of Northwest Airways, Inc., flying the air mail plane to Winnipeg, Canada, was forced to land Monday morning at the Alexandria municipal airport by a heavy fog above this city. He came down safely and expected to go on as soon as the fog lifted. He left his motor idling to keep it from freezing in the bitterly cold weather but ran out of gas since it took three hours to get a tank of aviation gas out to the airport and in the meantime his motor had frozen stiff. Two mechanics came out from St. Paul with equipment to thaw out the engine and about noon the next day the ship was able to take to the air again. The mail for Fargo and Winnipeg was sent on by train on Monday night.

1973, 50 years ago: Employment opportunities and placements for general secretarial students have been exceptionally good. Conservative predictions indicate that the need for qualified secretaries will not diminish but the demand will exceed one million additional secretaries in the next 10 years. Advantages of being a secretary are the diverse positions available and the geographical mobility present. General secretarial graduates from Alexandria Vocational Technical Institute have accepted positions from Washington, D.C., to the West Coast.

Rehearsals will begin for the next presentation by the Alexandria Chorus and Orchestra in the Central Junior High School Music Department. The group has staged several performances in the past including the musical “Oklahoma” and most recently, “Fiddler on the Roof.” Their next offering is “Dona Nobis Pacem” — described as “A dynamic contemplation of war and peace.”

1983, 40 years ago: Officials at the Douglas County Hospital have applied for permission to acquire a C.T. scanner, a complex diagnostic machine that could cost up to $1 million. A “C.T.” scanner stands for “computer tomography,” explained Douglas County Hospital radiologist Dr. Richard Eiser.

1998, 25 years ago: It’s time to get a new library card. Without a new computerized card, no library materials can be checked out. In the next two months, staff and volunteers at the Douglas County Library will issue an estimated 5,000 cards to library customers. After years of technical innovations at the library, the new cards will finally make possible the complete switch-over to full automation – a computerized check-out system, expected to begin in May.


2013 – 10 years ago: Enterprise Minnesota magazine named Douglas County as one of “Five Great Places to be a Manufacturer in Minnesota.” Jason Murray, executive director of the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission, listed three factors that have built the area’s manufacturing base over the years – “an innovative environment, local entrepreneurs who have grown their companies and a technical college that has focused on local manufacturing and adding jobs all the way back to its roots in the early 1960s.”

Just for fun, 2013 – 10 years ago: In “Out and About” around the county this week: On Valentine’s Day shoppers at Elden’s Foods were treated to something not normally found in a grocery store – a live grand piano performance. Keith Martinson is releasing his fourth solo piano album Love Notes, and he played several selections from it. Meanwhile, the floral shop was busy with last-minute flower buyers.

Sports Trivia, 1973 – 50 years ago: A total of 173 snowmobile drivers from throughout the state took part in the second annual Minnesota State Amateur Snowmobile race at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, sponsored by the Viking Speedways of Alexandria. Twenty-nine different towns were represented while more than 1,000 spectators took in the action. The 173 entries nearly doubled the field of 99 last season. Diane Zavadil of Alexandria won both powder puff events, driving a Rupp.

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

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