From the Echo Press archives, 1972: Storm knocks out Alexandria area trees and power, washes out roads

This week in history in Douglas County.

Picture of Rachel Barduson
Rachel Barduson

This Week in 1972 – 50 years ago: A heavy Friday night storm had gusts of winds to 80 mph at the Alexandria Airport. About 100 trees in the city were blown down, breaking power lines all over the city. An estimated 50 calls were answered by the Alexandria Light and Power. Although Alexandria had about 2.4 inches of rain, places as close as Parkers Prairie were counting closer to 10 inches. The northern part of Douglas County, especially Spruce Hill Township, showed the effects of the rainfall with roads under water and washed out.

1972, 50 years ago: Because of flooding and road damages, the weekend storm sent thousands of state tourists on Highway 29 after State Highways 71, 371, 10 and other well-traveled north-south routes were closed to traffic. The Minnesota State Highway Patrol and the Alexandria Police Department were on hand directing traffic at the intersections of old and new 29 and at the intersection of 29 and old Highway 52.

There may be hope yet for Chuck McGuire, the Alexandria car dealer who is seeking access to the expressway in front of his business. A letter received from Highway Commissioner Ray Lappegaard said that although a direct drive to the expressway would be a safety hazard, a service road starting in front of Fleet Farm and extending past McGuire’s property and possibly all the way to 22nd Avenue South would appear to be the best solution.

1997, 25 years ago: The 21st annual Art in the Park, featuring arts and crafts by 150 top-notch artists, will take place this weekend. It is located in north Alexandria along the shores of Lake Agnes and Henry and one block off Nokomis Street and County Road 42. Sponsored by Coca Cola, the event raises money for the Alexandria Area Arts Association (AAAA), proceeds used for building costs and repairs of the AAAA theatre.

Alexandria artist Wanda Kay Schmidt, owner of Wanda-Wear, has been in the free-
painted clothing business since 1989. She travels three states and is a popular attraction at street fairs and festivals.


2012, 10 years ago: A Zorbaz restaurant is one step closer to opening at the old Wharf site in north Alexandria. The Alexandria City Council voted 4-1 to create a tax increment financing district for the Zorbaz development at 2710 N. Nokomis St. Zorbaz on the Lake, a pizza and Mexican food chain, will use the tax break to completely renovate the 4,400-square-foot building, which was gutted by a fire 12 years ago. The project is expected to cost between $1.5 and $1.7 million.

Just for fun, 1982 – 40 years ago: At 21 years of age, motorcycle and snowmobile racer Todd Elmer of Evansville is not only a professional racer, he’s a young veteran professional racer. This summer is his 12th season of motorcycle racing and his sixth season professionally. At age 10, Elmer entered his first amateur race in Detroit Lakes on a 60 cubic-centimeter Yamaha. He’s been racing with a Yamaha ever since. When a racer turns 16, a racer can get a professional license, which Elmer did. If he continues to win trophies as he has, his father will have to add onto to Don’s Lanes again. He has won 400 trophies.

Sports Trivia, 1972 – 50 years ago: The Alexandria Golf Club has had a junior program under the direction of John Basten since he arrived at the club. Approximately 90 boys and girls have signed up for the summer program. The kids are broken down into age groups; each group is given a lesson by Basten and then allowed to play the course under the best of supervision, their mothers. Ruth Carlisle and Sue Seltz have provided Basten with help in the program.

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

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