From the Echo Press archives, 1972: Strike idles Douglas County Hospital construction

This week in history in Douglas County.

Picture of Rachel Barduson
Rachel Barduson

This Week in 1997 – 25 years ago: The possibility of building a new National Guard Armory building in Alexandria continues to march forward. But if you’re imagining that it would just be a big new building for military training, think again. Early indications are that it might also be used for offices, school bus repair, conventions, meetings, cattle and horse shows, basketball courts, golf practices and more. According to Jim Clayton of Glenwood, chair of the National Guard Citizens Committee, the Guard hopes to build the facility on a five-acre site in the Douglas County Fairgrounds west of the Runestone Community Center.

1972, 50 years ago: Things stood still at Douglas County Hospital South as construction stopped with the strike of construction workers that started in Minneapolis.

Despite recession and a devastating fire in 1971, Bellanca Aircraft Corp. has announced a 100 percent increase in production over the past year for both the Bellanca Viking and the four models of the Champion line. Bellanca has also announced the delivery of the first Champion Decathlon since the fire at the Osceola, Wisconsin plant, and certification of an improved engine for the new Champ.

Action has been taken and more is scheduled to improve the safety situation at the Le Homme Dieu Wayside Rest Area on Highway 29, known to more people as Kiwanis Beach. The Minnesota Highway Department lowered the speed limit past the beach to 45 mph and posted signs reading “Beach Area Ahead.”

1997, 25 years ago: Douglas Machine employees were treated to a surprise picnic from one of their biggest client’s – Frito Lay. The snack food company presented a plaque and T-shirts to Douglas Machine’s “Team Frito” and served up hamburgers and picnic fare to the Douglas crew in appreciation of all their hard work in making packaging equipment for Frito.


The Minnesota Keystone Program, founded in 1976 to help fund social needs and other projects of the non-profit community, has been helped by five Alexandria-based companies. They include Edina Realty, Bursch Travel Agency, First American Bank, Fingerhut and Rural Cellular Corporation.

Doctors Greg and Nancy Klepetka, of Klepetka Chiropractic Clinic in Alexandria, recently became members of the American Holistic Health Association. Established in 1989, the association “promotes active participation in personal health decisions and healing.”

2012, 10 years ago: More than 900 high school shooters competed in the Minnesota State Trap Shooting tournament at Alexandria Shooting Park. The Alexandria Trap Shooting team took fifth place at its home shooting park, finishing with a total team score of 466. St. Michael-Albertville won the state title with a score of 483.

The community and visitors lined Broadway in Alexandria for a grand parade as part of the 137th annual Minnesota State Fire Department Association Conference. The Alexandria Fire Department led the parade and fire departments from across the state rolled their rigs in the parade, including Brandon, Evansville, Osakis, Forada, Parkers Prairie, Brainerd, Bemidji and more. Marching bands and community groups also participated.

Just for fun,1972 – 50 years ago: Now showing at the Sunset Drive-In Theatre – John Wayne in “Big Jake.” Second feature is “Red Sun.” Showing at the Andria – “Carnal Knowledge.”

Sports Trivia, 1972 – 50 years ago: Three unearned runs in the top of the sixth by Anoka dashed the title aspirations of the Alexandria Cardinals in the 26th annual Minnesota State Baseball Tournament held at Midway Stadium in St. Paul.

The Department of Natural Resources said there appears to be some confusion over the eligibility and cost of a “senior citizen” fishing license. To be eligible, a person must be 70 years of age (not 65) and be a resident of Minnesota. Only single or individual licenses are issued for senior citizens. No “husband and wife” combination licenses. Cost is $4.

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

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