Friends and neighbors showed up to help families in Washington Lake and Faxon townships

Friends and neighbors showed up all over the place to help families in Washington Lake and Faxon townships whose farms were hit by last Wednesday’s ferocious storm. Above, friends and family rally at the Michael Flaherty farm, one of the places caught in the middle of last week’s tornado.

From Our Files - 10 Years Ago

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Thirty Years Ago This Week (1989)

At least seven farms between Belle Plaine and Green Isle felt the force of a tornado that ripped through Washington Lake and Faxon townships on Wednesday evening, May 24. Receiving damage from the storm were Don Duenow’s farm, located exactly ten miles west and slightly north of Belle Plaine, as well as Eugene Paul’s farm, at the very edge of the Belle Plaine School District. The funnel continued on is straight, but narrow path across the highway and into Faxon Township where it destroyed the garage, ripped apart two machine sheds, and damaged the front porch and windows of Michael Flaherty’s house. Into the next section to the east, the twister hit the Bud Flynn farm, taking all the buildings but the house and the granary. The funnel took a slight turn to the north over Kerry Lake before settling down on the Lloyd Schultz farm, where the wind took a pole barn, the fence around the cattle yard, and several trees in the woods and also carried several feeders and other equipment away. Across the road, the major casualties were the giant trees that lined the driveway of the William Fahey place. One of the last stops the storm made before losing steam was at the St. John Catholic Cemetery, where the funnel crumpled the gate and fence to the graveyard and struck down a number of trees.

Deanna Koepp, daughter of Don and Diane Koepp, was named valedictorian and Julie Johnson, daughter of Thomas and Marilyn Johnson, was salutatorian of the Belle Plaine High School Class of 1989. Graduates recognized as high honor students included Sean Fogarty, Heidi Gloege, Dawn Haedike, Jennifer Lange, and Daniel O’Brien. Honor students were David Bauleke, Lisa Bessel, Amy Breggemann, Tracy Fahey, Jennifer Gansen, Jodi Gregory Amy Hayden, Beth Jones, Shari Jorissen, Michelle Mahoney, Mary Raleigh, Carrie Riesgraf, Eric Schmidt, Scott Shinehouse, Wendy Trost, Sheila Westphal, Troy Witt, Doreen Wolf, Wendy Wolff, Beverly Wynne, Michael Jeffrey Zellmann, and Michael Jon Zellmann.

An open house was held for Karine Lavergne, Belle Plaine’s Rotary Exchange student during the 1988-89 school year, and hosted by her host parents – Jim and Elaine Lange, Larry and Bev Fahey, and Roger and Doris Fahey. Proficient in the three official languages of Belgium – French, Dutch, and German, Karine planned to return to her home country where she intended to try out for drama school.

At the district track meet in Jordan, six individuals from Belle Plaine High School qualified for the regional track meet, including Mike Zellmann, 3rd in pole vault; Dana Otto, 3rd in discus; Missy Jacobs, 1st in long jump and 2nd in high jump; Heather Wiley, 2nd in the 3200; Jenny Klehr in the 400; and Wendy Behnke, 3rd in discus.

The Belle Plaine High School Softball Team finished the season with 3 wins and 13 losses, after losing to Waterville-Elysian who scored in six of the seven innings, for a final score of 18-7. The Tigers had eight hits led by Julie Pint and Wendy Trost with two each. Kelly Behnke gave up nine hits with only six earned runs.

60 Years Ago (1959)

At St. John Lutheran Church took place the ordination of Marvin P. Mueller, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Muller of Belle Plaine Township. A graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College and Dubuque Seminary, Mueller was to begin his pastoral work at Broughton, Iowa, with his wife, the former June Dittmer of Young America, a former Belle Plaine schoolteacher.

The previous month brought this locality 5 1/3 inches of rain, according to Ted Venske’s rain gauge, abating the fear of a dry season.

Mr. and Mrs. Julius Stier went to Waverly, Iowa, to bid bon voyage to their daughter, Irene, who departed with the 61-voice Wartburg College Choir on a tour of Germany, Denmark, England, and Holland for a month.

Frank H. Dahlke, one of the grand old men of this community, died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 87. A farmer in St. Lawrence Township, he was about town the day before he died, calling on old friends. Only a few weeks before, he and his wife, Ida, celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary.

The high school class of 1934 held a reunion and dinner at McCarthy’s in Minneapolis with the following attending: Mr. and Mrs. D. C. Hottinger, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Hahn, Mr. and Mrs. Bertil Idstrom, Mrs. Bob Irwin, Anthony Stradcutter, Mr. and Mrs. Parmelee, Edwin Thiel, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Mensing, Mrs. Henrietta Schmidt, Mr. and Mrs. Duane Melchoir, Maude Shaughnessy, Mr. and Mrs. Francis Martin, and teachers Elizabeth Albrecht, Mary Whitlock, and Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Spletoser.

Farmers were hit hard by tiny, green sap sucking aphids, otherwise knows as greenbugs. A one-acre field of oats belonging to Francis Carney in the bottomland just east of Hwy. 25 was completely destroyed.

Around 50 guests were present at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Bratsch to help them celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary.

Kenneth Jansen, student pastorate at the Presbyterian churches in Belle Plaine and Carver, graduated from the University of Dubuque and was to be ordained at his home church in Hallock.

Funeral services were held at St. Thomas Church in Jessenland for Mrs. Elizabeth Catherine Trimbo, wife of Linus Trimbo, of Blakeley. She died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the Shakopee hospital at the age of 64.

An electrical storm caused considerable damage in this area with lightening striking the homes of Rudolph Hespenheide and Jack Newell and Lee’s Bar. The Hespenheide home received the most serious damage with plaster blown off the wall right down to the framework. About 100 feet from the home, a telephone terminal box was smashed and the wire burned, knocking out a dozen nearby phones.

Mrs. Donald D. Hopke, 28-year-old Norwood mother of two, died in a two-car collision in Union Hill.

Mr. and Mrs. John Riesgraf, for 27 years residents of Belle Plaine Township, observed their golden wedding anniversary in Jordsn. The couple had been married at St. John’s Church in Union Hill on May 25, 1909.

The high school baseball season came to a close for Belle Plaine when the Tigers lost the opening game of the District 13 Tournament in Le Sueur. Members of the team were Robert Walerius, Robert Halquist, Jim Daly, Otto Schultz, Ted Klehr, John Miller, Mark Albrecht, Greg Engfer, Paul Johnson, Jim Moriarty, Collin Moriarty, Jim Glynn, Stan Brenke, and managers Tim Melchoir and John Spellacy.

90 Years Ago (1929)

It was the custom to hold the Memorial Day program at one of the cemeteries, changing to another cemetery each year. That year’s very fine program was conducted at Oakwood Cemetery.

The Neil Photo Studio was one of few in the area. Classes from neighboring schools came here for their class photos.

Foundation was being constructed for a new schoolhouse for the Trinity Lutheran congregation.

Dora Sandberg was back from Los Angeles for a month’s stay with her folks, the J.A. Sandbergs.

Assumption friends and relatives of Michael James Daly went to St. Paul to attend his graduation from the St. Thomas College of Law.

In the same storm, lightning struck twice on the Henry A. Ruehling farm. It killed a calf at one end of the farm and a hog at the other end.

The marriage of Fred J. Keup and Miss Irene Casey took place at Shakopee where Miss Casey was a member of the school faculty.

Inadvertently missed in listing high school graduates in this column last week was the name of Howard Moore.

Mrs Minnie Westphal, mother of Carol Westphal and a sister of the Stoppelmann brothers, died at his home in Howard Lake, She lived her girlhood in Belle Plaine.

The Athletic Club of St. Thomas had arranged a boxing show at their hall, and Tommy Gibbons was expected out from St. Paul to referee.

At Minneapolis took place the marriage of Miss Anna Stasia Feeney, formerly of St. Thomas, and Leo Sullivan of St. Thomas.

120 Years Ago (1899)

Lawn socials were the popular outdoor function. All the churches and societies were holding them.

The public school closed with a picnic in the grove on the Bateman farm.

At the June fair, cows sold for $30 to $35; horses ranged from $75 to $100.

Chris Schultz started construction of a large livery barn on the north side of the Montag block.

A blaze at the Latzke Flour Mill was checked but not until the building had much damage from fire and water.

The Belle Plaine-Le Sueur ball game broke up in the 7th inning. The argument was over the umpire’s hearing ability. One side heard a foul tip, the other didn’t.

Frank Waggener, W.H. Carlin, Frank Myers and N.P. Lindberg caught 150 pounds of fish at Spring Lake in a few hours of fishing. In the catch were 40 black bass.

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