From the Echo Press archives, 1973: Clock is ticking to buy Kensington Runestone land

This week in history in Douglas County.

Rachel Barduson

This Week in 1973 – 50 years ago: Lee Hewitt of Hewitt Tire and Oil Company gave a tour of his facility to two representatives of the South African subsidiary of the French Petroleum Company. The two men are regional managers of the South African subsidiary and were in the United States to study petroleum marketing and distribution to farmers.

Some of the conventions scheduled this week: Arrowwood: Midwestern Gas Transmission Co., Culligan, 3M, Commonwealth Management Inc., Buick Motor and Arctic Cat Silverline. More than 3,000 people will be staying at Arrowwood. Holiday Inn will host: American Lutheran Church, Lake Region LP Gas and Federal Land Bank.

1973, 50 years ago: The possibility of the Runestone Park Foundation acquiring the property on which the Kensington Runestone was discovered took a big leap when the Douglas County Commissioners pledged $6,000 toward the purchase — providing the foundation can come up with the balance of the $24,000 total needed. The Runestone Park Foundation has until July 1 of this year to come up with the money. Once acquired, the entire parcel of land (more than 100 acres which includes the Olaf Ohman farm and some adjoining land) will be turned over to Douglas County and it will be operated and maintained as a county park.

The Alexandria Area Technical Institute had its first Honor Day for the outstanding students in each of the 30 courses. Each student was awarded a plaque signifying that they had been chosen by their instructors as the top student in their class.

1998, 25 years ago: The Evansville School Board voted to give up the traditional seven-period day and to begin “block scheduling” of classes 7 through 12 next year. Under the new system, the school day will be split into three 90-minute and two 50-minutes classes. Each 90-minute class will last only one semester, instead of the traditional one-hour class that lasts for a whole year. Senior High Principal Tom Shea said the advantage of block scheduling is that students can do more in-depth study and research as well as more field trips and hands-on learning. Locally, the Minnewaska and Parkers Prairie schools are already using block scheduling.


2013, 10 years ago: Army Reserve Colonel Julie Engdahl of Alexandria was decorated with the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. It is awarded to individuals for noncombat meritorious achievement or service that is incontestably exceptional. Engdahl is the chief of exercises assigned to the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command at Scott Airforce Base, Illinois. She has served in the military for 27 years and has two children.

Just for fun, 1973– 50 years ago: The running of the second annual Silverline Sprint Meet will take place at beautiful Arrowwood Lodge on Lake Darling in Alexandria. Over 75 drivers from five states are expected to enter the competition. The race will be sanctioned by the American Powerboat Association for Outboard Pleasure Crafts.

The “new” Toby’s on Old Hwy 29 North is now serving steaks, chicken and shrimp. Also serving your favorite cocktails. Live music seven nights a week — and a Sunday afternoon matinee. Special “oldie music” on Monday night featuring waltzes, polkas, schottisches and butterflys.

Sports Trivia, 1973 – 50 years ago: For the first time in 25 years, the Minnesota State Basketball Tournament will not be played in Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus. The 1974 tournament will move over to the St. Paul Civic Center where the seating capacity is 16,500 compared with 18,000 at the U. The tournament has not filled Williams Arena since splitting into the two-class system. The League received three bids (Williams Arena, St. Paul Civic Center and Metropolitan Sports Center) for the basketball tourney and Murrae Freng announced that the board of directors has officially approved the move.

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

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