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Observations from the archives: 1913, All mail at depot destroyed by fire

1913, 100 years ago: A fire was discovered at the Soo Depot in the early hours of April 16, 1913, but the fire had gained considerable headway before noticed and the building was completely destroyed. It appeared that the fire may have started in...

1913, 100 years ago: A fire was discovered at the Soo Depot in the early hours of April 16, 1913, but the fire had gained considerable headway before noticed and the building was completely destroyed. It appeared that the fire may have started in the freight room. The train had passed through some time before and at first it was believed that the cause was a spark from that. All incoming express and mail during the night was destroyed. A large amount of freight was also stored in the building. Total loss of stored goods is estimated at $4,000 to $5,000.

1963, 50 years ago: A 13-year-old eighth grader from Evansville walked off with the Douglas County Spelling Championship, setting a new record in the contest. Ronald Colman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ed E. Colman and a student of Mrs. Rolf Mohwinkel's class in Evansville, spelled 83 of 85 words correctly to win the right to enter the Minneapolis Star and Tribune Upper Midwest Spelling Contest in Minneapolis. Robert D. Anderson, 14, son of Mrs. Edith Anderson of Alexandria, is the first Alexandria junior high student ever to reach the finals in the Minneapolis Star World Affairs contest and will take the final tests May 13. His teacher, Lillian Dahl, will accompany him to Minneapolis and also will attend the awards banquet that night.

1988, 25 years ago: New traffic lights were installed at the intersection of Highway 29 South and 27 West in Alexandria. The intersection has been the scene of several accidents, including one fatality, according to statistics provided by the Alexandria Police Department. Because the intersection was so hazardous, MnDOT officials stepped up plans to install the lights, making it a priority project. Traffic signals will also be installed on 17th and 22nd Avenues along Broadway, and timing devices will be placed on the existing lights on 15th and 30th Avenues to allow motorists t0 pass through a series of green lights without having to stop. Estimated cost of MnDOT's traffic light projects is $150,000.

2003, 10 years ago: An attempt to put a hold on all resort conversions in Douglas County recently failed due to lack of support. The proposed resolution came before the county board to give the county time to evaluate its rules over what will or will not be allowed when resorts are converted to other uses. Over the last few years, several area lake resorts have changed from "resorts" to "associations" or were sold and turned into lake-home lots because the increasing costs of operating a family resort have made it difficult for resorts to survive. Rising values of property on lakes have been responsible for increased real estate taxes. One idea used by resort owners to stay afloat is to sell individual cabins in the resort, or sell parking sites for recreational vehicles (RVs). The resort is then operated like an association.

Just for fun - 100 years ago: The "scribe" for Hudson and Orange Township news "has taken a vacation on account of scarcity of news. The housewives are at their annual job of house cleaning and the farmers are busy in this delightful weather, getting their grain sown. The attendance at Sunday school and preaching services is increasing with the nice weather, and we hope it will continue to do so."

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

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The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.
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