From the Echo Press archives, 1983: Gas drops below $1 a gallon in Alexandria

This week in history in Douglas County.

Picture of Rachel Barduson
Rachel Barduson

This Week in 1983 – 40 years ago: It last appeared in the Alexandria two years ago. It has been missed by men and women alike, and was welcomed with much comment. “It” is a gallon of gasoline for less than $1 per gallon. The price of a gallon of self-serve regular dropped to 99.9 cents per gallon on Sunday evening at Berger’s Standard, 3rd and Broadway in Alexandria. Throughout many parts of Minnesota, the price of self-serve regular remains at the $1.05 to $1.10 per gallon mark. Just last summer motorists in the Alexandria area found the cheapest price of a gallon of self-serve regular at $1.35 point 9. The latest drop in gas prices represents a 26 percent drop from 1982’s high mark.

1973, 50 years ago: Of the 74 Alexandria Area Technical Institute students at the Post-Secondary Career Development Conference sponsored by DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America), 49 were finalists or better in the competition, which covered 20 categories. The conference is open to all DECA chapters which represent not only technical schools but also junior colleges and the University of Minnesota Technical Institute. About 25-30 schools participate.

1983, 40 years ago: While farmland values in most regions of Minnesota plummeted in 1982, Douglas County acreage values increased slightly to an average of $666 per tillable acre, according to Harry Chermak Douglas County assessor. Slightly over 50 percent of Douglas County’s land area is classified as tillable acreage. That amounts to 222,400 tillable acres of farmland, Chermak noted.

1998, 25 years ago: KSAX-TV in Alexandria was recently recognized by the Minnesota Broadcasters Association’s Media Best Awards for their outstanding coverage of hard news in the Non-Metro Television Category. The award recognized the efforts of the KSAX team to cover an unusual October 1997 tornado which appeared without warning. The tornado, which damaged property and endangered lives, occurred on a Saturday afternoon when the KSAX newsroom was extremely shorthanded. When other members of the news team got word of the storm, they voluntarily came back into the station to cover the storm.

2013, 10 years ago: The Alexandria Technical and Community College’s machine tool technology program received new state-of-the-art training equipment from Mazak Machines. The Mazak equipment has been purchased and installed and is actively supporting the learning outcomes of the machine tool technology diploma and AAS degree programs, according to Dr. Chad Coauette, Dean of Customized Training and health divisions at ATCC. A variety of industry partners contributed nearly $200,000 of equipment discounts and donations, cash donations and in-kind contributions to the project.


Just for fun, 1913 – 110 years ago: About 25 loads of bricks have been hauled into Millerville in preparation for the construction of a new parochial Catholic school in the spring. Estimated cost of the new school is $15,000.

1948 – 75 years ago: A proposed addition to the Washington grade school building calls for six more grade rooms and one large room which can be used for an especially large class and a kindergarten room and a cafeteria in the basement. It will be a two-story structure.

Sports Trivia, 1998 – 25 years ago: Alexandria qualified 13 individuals for the State Class AA swimming and diving meet. The Big Red swimmers outdistanced their closest opponents by 246 points and racked up 10 individual event wins for 613 points while taking their third straight Section 8AA championship. The thirteen state qualifiers are the most in team history and will give Alexandria competitors in all 12 events at the state level. Qualifying for the state meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center are Adam Gess, Reed Ziegler, Justin Costello, Mark Atwood, Luke Vestrum, Mike Rueter, Ken Holm, Erik Esbjornson, Kyle Weimer, Matt Kleine, Spencer Hedine, David Lindoo and Reed Hermes. Card mentor Mark Storhaug was named Section Coach of the Year.

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

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