From the Echo Press archives, 1947: Pageantry to celebrate Runestone brings 700 horses to Alex streets

This week in history in Douglas County.

Picture of Rachel Barduson
Rachel Barduson

This Week in 1947 – 75 years ago: Activities throughout Viking Days include the 600th Anniversary (representing the anniversary of the carving of the Runestone) Parade with 700 horses marching down Broadway on Saturday. Paul Harvey will crown the Viking Queen and King Magnus III, preceding the Coronation Ball with the Clem Brau Orchestra at the Ballroom without a Name. Other events include a community picnic at City Park, special appearances by state dignitaries and a nightly pageant. An authentic Viking ship, built by Roger Sharp and Howard Covel, will sail down Lake Winona to Winona Bowl to open the nightly outdoor historic pageant. Following the Fourth of July performance, American Legion Post 87 will treat the audience to “the biggest fireworks ever displayed in Alexandria history,” costing an estimated $800 to $1,000.

1972, 50 years ago: Construction has resumed on Farmer John’s Toot and Moo Dairy on Highway 29 just south of Alexandria. The new dairy is being built on 80 acres purchased from George Muzik of Route 2. Developer of the project is John O. Scott. Pre-stressed concrete floor sections weighing 9,000 pounds each were installed. Manure pits under the floor run the full length and width of the building and are designed to hold waste from a 100-cow herd for a full year. Modern equipment and strict sanitation will assure top quality natural milk which will be sold direct to consumers at a considerable savings, according to Scott.

1997, 25 years ago: The Hoffman Economic Development Authority is holding an open house for its newly-completed, eight-unit apartment complex. The $364,000 project turned six elementary classrooms in the old Hoffman school building into three 2-bedroom apartments and five one-bedroom apartments. Called the “Hoffman Center,” the project received an $112,000 grant from the MN Housing Finance Authority and a $30,000 grant from the Greater MN Housing Fund to start the project, covering early planning expenses. The Farmer’s State Bank of Hoffman purchased the bonds for the balance of the project.

2012, 10 years ago: A new 33-room, limited service hotel, Crossings Inn and Suites, will open in July and will be managed by St. Paul hospitality firm Morrissey Hospitality Companies. It will work in conjunction with the Parkers Prairie Event Center for weddings, meetings, family reunions celebrations and other group events. The hotel is non-smoking and pet-friendly with a large indoor swimming pool.

The Prairie Wind Players Community Theatre in Barrett are set to present “Steel Magnolias,” directed by Sharon Thalmann and produced by Christy Johnson.


Just for fun,1972 – 50 years ago: From Erc Aga’s “Under My Hat” column: “And a parting shot...with food being one of my favorite subjects. And of a local restaurant that serves prime ribs of beef that will rival the nicest club in the state. It’s Osterberg’s...and they serve it six times a week for $2.50. I know that must sound commercial...but you find me another place that serves a full prime rib dinner for two-fifty and they’ll be in my column too...and remember this is a full prime rib dinner...not a sandwich.”

Sports Trivia, 1972 – 50 years ago: Alexandria’s City Park will be the scene for an old-fashioned Fourth of July celebration with a modern twist. From 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. members of the Lake Darling Ski Team will be offering ski lessons FREE with a coupon obtained at the Viking Plaza, the Lake Region Press, KCMT and Runestone Museum. At 2 p.m. the ski team will perform a water show spectacular that you won’t want to miss. There will be games, horseshoes and checkers all day, plus special kiddie games, free watermelon and good music from the bandstand just like the old days.

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

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