From the Echo Press archives, 1997: Parkers Prairie gets new city hall after propane blast destroys old one

This week in history in Douglas County.

Picture of Rachel Barduson
Rachel Barduson

This Week in 1972 – 50 years ago: The new athletic complex behind Jefferson School is going to be known as Citizens’ Field. That was the decision of the board of directors of the Community Recreation Development Council as being best descriptive of citizen participation in a project that has provided Alexandria with the first adequate football field in its history – and there’s more to come. With the erection of lights this week the varsity football field operation will be virtually completed, all without resorting to tax dollars and through donations by service clubs and business establishments and a big assist from volunteer labor.

1972, 50 years ago: As work continues for “Fiddler on the Roof,” nearly 100 people involved in the production attend daily rehearsals, seven days a week, for nearly four hours a day. The musical, a production of the Alexandria Chorus and Orchestra, will open Sept. 29 and run through the weekend. Tickets are available from chorus and orchestra members and Alexandria drugstores. Ralph Tillitt plays the dairyman, Tevye; Jack Trumm plays the rich butcher, Lazar Wolf.

1997, 25 years ago: A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place to celebrate major remodeling at Elden’s Food Fair in Alexandria. Elliot Christensen and his brother, Dennis, are co-owners and operators of the store, located on the corner of 3rd Avenue East and Nokomis. They bought the Holiday Foods store in February and started remodeling in March of this year. Most notably, Elden’s now has a full-service, made-from-scratch bakery and the store has expanded its produce, dairy, frozen and meat departments, a full-service deli and catering.

Former Alexandrian John (Perkins) Hawkes will guest star on the season premiers of two television shows – E.R. and Nash Bridges. Perkins, whose acting name is John Hawkes, is a 1977 graduate of Jefferson High School in Alexandria.

It was a big day in Parkers Prairie when the city dedicated its recently completed city hall/fire hall building. The old building was destroyed in a propane explosion in April 1995. Mayor Gary “Andy” Anderson thanked all of those involved in the two-and-a-half year rebuilding process. The city obtained a $600,000 grant for the progress.


2012, 10 years ago: Carlos Creek Winery held its inaugural Stomp for a Cause fundraiser as part of this year’s Grape Stomp and Fall Festival. Carlos Creek donated all of the fees collected for teams registering to stomp grapes for this year’s Stomp for a Cause recipient, Alexandria Area Arts Associatio. 48 teams registered, plus AAAA staged the Lucy re-enactment, which earned them another $500, for a total of $1,700. Carlos Creek Winery is a family-owned and -operated winery in Alexandria.

Just for fun, 1972 – 50 years ago: People seeking a look at the 1973 automobiles will find that all the dealers will have their showings in the coming weeks. The unveiling of Chevrolets, Buicks, Pontiacs and Oldsmobiles is set at Steinbring Chevrolet, Angen Buick and Olds and Jansen Pontiac. McGuire Ford will lift the wraps from its products; Schwartzwald Chrysler-Plymouth and Saar Motor’s Dodge line will be shown at the end of the month. The new American Motors products were shown last week at Unruh Motor Co.

Sports Trivia, 1997 – 25 years ago: As Douglas County’s lakes area continues to grow and develop, so does its need for golf courses. There are plans for a new course near Lake Geneva, and the Radisson Arrowwood Resort has plans as well to improve and expand its existing facility.

1972 – 50 years ago: “Think Snow” will be the theme for the third annual MinnKota Snowmobile and Winter Sports Show in Fargo. The largest and most elaborate displays will be those presenting the 1973 line of snowmobiles.

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

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