30 Years Ago (1989)

Baseball Light Towers Are Moved

Two field lights at the South Park ballfield were moved last Friday morning to make the right field fence line about 40 feet longer, from 260 feet to about 300 feet. Centerfield was also lengthened about 14 feet. The field realignment was a part of Belle Plaine’s Celebrate 1990 grant of $19,050 to build a new grandstand. The grandstand committee is ready to go and is waiting to have an architect or engineer approve the final plans. The grandstand needs to be constructed by December 31 of this year or the grant money will be lost. Left: Workers from Danny’s Construction of Shakopee prepare to lift a light tower by crane. Below: Public works superintendent Pat Fogarty (left) and public works employee Brad Krick (second from right) help two other workers from the construction company align the tower on its new base.

Kenneth Anderson of Plymouth was hired as Belle Plaine’s very first economic development coordinator, at a salary of $28,000 plus benefits.

The Belle Plaine School Board unanimously approved two new district policies at their Sept. 5 meeting. The first was a homework policy which stated that since homework was an integral part of learning, it should be related to instructional objectives and not used as a disciplinary punishment. The second policy concerned student/athlete conduct, stating all pupils who participated in any school-sponsored extra-curricular activities were representatives of the school and community and those who exhibited conduct unbecoming of such a representative would be disciplined as determined by school officials.

Two field lights at the South Park baseball field were moved September 8 to make the right field fence line about 40 feet longer, from 260 feet to about 300 feet. Centerfield was also lengthened about 14 feet. The field realignment was a part of Belle Plaine’s Celebrate 1990 grant of $19,050 to build a new grandstand.                                                                                                                                     

The Belle Plaine School Board accepted the resignation of special education aide Judy Wolf, who had worked for the district for nine years, and hired Carolyn Bandel at a wage of $6 an hour five hours a day.

New Prague’s Queen of Peace Hospital Foundation launched “Invest in Tomorrow, Today”, a million-dollar capital campaign, seeking $975,000 in pledges to be paid over a five-year period to help cover the rapidly rising costs of providing quality health care. James Daly of Belle Plaine was the president of the Queen of Peace Hospital Foundation Board of Directors and also on the board for the largest gift campaign the hospital had conducted since it opened in 1952.

In assessing the 31-0 shellacking the Belle Plaine High School football team took at Montgomery at the opening Minnesota River Conference game for both teams. Coach Mark Riggs said, “They got us down early and we just never got into the game.” However, standing out for the Tiger defense was Mike Mahoney who was all over the field getting 15 tackles, two of them behind the line of scrimmage, and also assisting on 15 tackles.

The Belle Plaine High School volleyball team won their season opener over Arlington-Green Isle in four games – 15-11, 13-15, 15-5, and 15-8. Denise Koepp showed her experience as she led her Tiger teammates to the victory, by taking control behind the service line to fire in 19 service points (five aces) and four kills. Karen Boschee added spark to the defense with two stuff blocks and putting the ball to the floor on four kills. Coach Brinton-Hawkins commented, “We soon got over the butterflies and began to play more relaxed.”

Belle Plaine’s newest secondary program, Career Learning Lab, opened it doors to serve 10-15 at-risk students in grades 10-12 in a “school within a school” alternative program. Under the leadership of CLL’s instructor, Scott Hallgren, the major goals of the program were to retain students having difficulty in regular high school and encourage them to graduate and to provide a local adult program to meet the educational/skill training needs to acquire a high school diploma or G.E.D. equivalent. With small groups of 5-6 students, Hallgren gave extra help in required subjects, using a variety of teaching strategies to meet individual learner needs and to provide as many “hands-on” experiences as possible.

60 Years Ago (1959)

Groundwork for a Belle Plaine Industrial Corporation was laid at the latest commercial club meeting. The new group will function independently of the commercial club with its main purpose the attraction of new industries to Belle Plaine. Maurice Gaffney was named to head the group.

The Belle Plaine Sportsmen’s Club awarded prizes for its summer fishing contest, which did not attract too many entries. Winners included Lawrence Schmitt, Henry Brueggemeier, Ed Otto, Erba Schultz, Norb Gregory, and John D. Mager Jr. The club also decided to hold a winter fishing contest.

With the change back to standard time and the approaching fall season, Belle Plaine stores went back to their regular hours with a 9:00 p.m. closing Friday evenings instead of the summertime 9:30 p.m.

Dennis Halloran Sr., lifelong resident of St. Thomas, died at the age of 90 at Valley View rest home near Jordan. Death was due to old age infirmities. He was born at St. Thomas and all his active years were spent there in farming.

The second step in pinpointing business and residential locations has been set up by Northern States Power Company. The year before, Belle Plaine erected street signs and new house numbers were assigned.

An overheated axel was blamed for an accident just east of Blakeley, which found one car leaving the tracks and 85 car-lengths of track torn up. When the axel broke, the car fell to the track. The automatic coupling device did not function properly, and the car was dragged along by the 125-car freight train, ripping up almost ¾ mile of track.

The descendants of Peter and Katherine Becker, one of Belle Plaine’s pioneer families, held a reunion at the park with 179 people attending and representing four generations.

Rev. Kenneth Jansen was installed as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Belle Plaine and of the Carver Presbyterian Church. A graduate of Dubuque Theological Seminary, Rev. Jansen had served the two congregations as a student since the previous February.

Robert D. Hormann, a 1959 graduate of Belle Plaine High School, was selected to play in the National FFA Band at Kansas City during the national convention. Hormann had served the local FFA chapter as vice president for two years.

All the equipment at Hottinger’s Stop Inn was disposed of at a public auction, the large items going to dealers in distant towns. Leo Engfer, owner of the building, planned to move his barbershop there October 1.

Death came to Fred Koepp at his home in Belle Plaine at the age of 81. For the past year, he had been confined to his home with the infirmities of old age.

Little 2-year-old Donnie O’Brien, son of Mr. and Mrs. Don O’Brien, was a hungry, tired boy, but except for a number of mosquito bites, was none the worse after an exploring adventure. An hour after his mother discovered him missing from their yard and couldn’t find him, the fire alarm was sounded and men organized for a search. Carl Johnson recalled how his gasoline bulk plant at the bottom of depot hill was an attraction and found the boy, almost half a mile from his home.

The Commercial Club decided Belle Plaine may have a second Bar-B-Q Days celebration the next summer after a financial statement of last July’s festival was read by Paul Keup and revealed the committee came out in the black with a profit of $16.95.

At Sacred Heart Church took place the marriage of Janeene Ann Mahoney, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Mahoney of Belle Plaine, and James Richard Gellerman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond L. Gellerman of St. Paul.

Miss Jeanette Ann Westphal, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Erwin Westphal, became the bride of William H. Noll Jr., son of Mrs. Bernice Noll of Waconia, at Trinity Lutheran Church.

90 Years Ago (1929)

The first frost came on September 17. The corn was practically all ripe and beyond damage.

The Scott County Fair at Jordan was on that week, and the Carver County Fair was scheduled for the following week.

The annual bombardment at Washington Lake, Sibley County, took place at sunrise with the entire lake fringed with armed men. Belle Plaine hunters brought home good strings.

Fred W. Koepp Sr. died at the age of 78. He came to this community as a boy in 1857.

Two oldtimers, Louis and Charles Fearing, were back for a sojourn in Belle Plaine after an absence of 40 years. They were sons of Bill Fearing, one of the town’s first settlers and noted as a deer hunter.

Chas. Frank, Henry Eikenbush, Joe Gau, and Phil Wagner were duck hunting near Mille Lacs when they heard shouts as another boat upset, throwing two occupants into the lake. The Belle Plaine party reached and saved the pair after they had gone down a couple of times.

Frederick Mueller died at the age of 75 at the home of his son, August. For many years, he had farmed in Hancock Township.

At Sts. Peter and Paul’s Church took place the marriage of Miss Ann Marie Soller to Reinhold Trost of Shakopee, in which city the couple established their home.

Phil Roe, a resident of Belle Plaine for many years before moving to Brush Prairie, Washington, was reported burned to death in the forest fire that swept that region. Roe’s wife was a daughter of the late Patrick Clark of this locality.

George Holste escaped without a scratch when his car turned turtle on him on the East Union road and he was pinned beneath. He heard two cars go by without stopping, but the third car stopped and its occupants lifted the auto from him.

Quite a number of Belle Plaine friends went to Minneapolis to convey to the Will Carlin family their sympathy in the death of the Carlins’ 6-year-old grandson who was struck and killed by an auto in front of the church where another daughter of the Carlins was being married.

Sibley County Board passed a resolution that no further dances could be given in the county without a permit from the board, and that included house and barn dances when an admission was charged.

George H. Hartwig of Tyrone Township and Miss Edna Schlegel of Le Sueur were married.

120 Years Ago (1899)

Big crews of men and teams were engaged in harvesting the sugar beet crop.

Benjamin St. Peter died at his farm in Blakeley Township, where he had resided since 1861.

George H. Clemens, the popular showman, died at Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, while putting on a show. His parents had his remains brought to Belle Plaine for burial and the funeral was held from the Episcopal Church.

After an absence of 13 years from Belle Plaine, Fred Krieger was back. He was employed in a stamping mill at Hassel, Montana.

Mrs. John Sullivan, who with her husband had taken a homestead south of Belle Plaine in 1855, died.

The trolley line between St. Paul and Stillwater was completed. Pat Courtney, J.L. Sullivan, and John Krieger went to the city to take a first ride over the new line.

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