From Our Files - 10 Years Ago
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Thirty Years Ago (1989)
The Morrison and Carlson families planned to represent Belle Plane in Milwaukee’s Great Circus Parade on Sunday, July 16. The Morrisons drove their team of eight Clydesdales and pulled the historic “Ringling Belle” wagon for the fourth year of participation. Their group included Pat and Cheryl Morrison, Scott Morrison, Matt Fahey, Stan Anderson, Richard Koepp, Jerry Fahey, and Lois Will. The Carlsons pulled the antique “Gladiator” wagon with their team of six Belgians for the tenth year, though the parade started in Chicago, then Baraboo, and more recently in Milwaukee. Their group included John Carlson, Larry, Sam, and Jodi Carlson, John and Katie Meierbachtol, Ed and Ginger Gregory, and Dick Bentz. Both groups transported their horses for the nine-hour journey using semi trucks to the non-competitive event.
Family Night was a new event added to the list of activities at the Scott County Fair scheduled for Sunday night, July 30, involving eight different events. Included were a Money Scramble, in which children 6 years and under searched for coins buried in sawdust; a Newspaper Toss and Free Throw Contest; a Wheelbarrow Race, in which a female rider in the wheelbarrow gave verbal directions through an obstacle course to her male, blindfolded driver; a Football Toss; an Inner Tube Stuffing Event; a Watermelon Eating Contest; and a Waiter/Waitress Contest, in which contestants carried a pitcher and glass on a tray, balancing at least shoulder high, through an obstacle course.
Jerry Onnen, a truck driver for 31 years who knew little about the restaurant business but a lot about good food, purchased the former Northern Belle Truck Stop near Belle Plaine and named it the Trail Boss Truck Stop. Onnen and his wife, Shirley, who had a background as a beautician, were natives of Iowa and had spent the past 15 years running a fertilizer and trucking business as well as raising 1,100 acres of wheat and cattle in Texas. Onnan was attracted to the Belle Plaine area ever since he had begun hauling grain up here in 1958.
One-tenth of Belle Plaine’s population, or 300 people, were at the swimming pool on Sunday, July 2, because the air temperature was in the 90s but the water temperature was recorded at 79 degrees.
Due to public demand, the Bar-B-Q Days sandwich committee – consisting of LeRoy and Pat Schwartz, Marty and Ginger Timmons, Jane and Robert Ries, Tom and Carol Lubovich, and Bill and Lynette McCue - set earlier serving times, which included 4:30 p.m. on Friday, 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. The cost of the sandwiches remained at $1 a piece. For safety reasons, the Bar-B-Q Days parade committee - consisting of Wally and Gerry Witt, Bob and Rose Denny, Dale and Bonnie Wolpern, LeRoy and Connie Chard, and Roger and Marie Stier - asked that parade participants not throw out water or candy to parade watchers; however, candy could be handed out.
Mark and Vicki Nolte had a new 500-foot $7,400 well dug in the spring of 1989 to supply water for their six-acre hobby farm about three miles south of Belle Plaine on Meridian Circle, but the water from the well was full of salt and iron so they couldn’t use it for housecleaning, drinking, cooking, or watering their lawn or gardens. After their well water was tested by both the MN Valley Testing Company in New Ulm and the Univ. of MN Dept. of Geology and Geophysics, it was discovered that the water was actually from an inland ocean that once covered most of MN, according to Al Frechette, the county environmental health manager. Rock formations had formed over the old sea like a layer cake and then were sliced in half and pushed together. When glaciers came along, they sliced off the top and filled in the opening with sand and gravel – leaving the 21,300-year-old water, at least one-fifth as salty as seawater, trapped beneath it. As one of the most unusual types found in MN, the water ruined the Noltes’ clothes, washing machine, plumbing, and bathroom fixtures. They used 18 pounds of water softener salt each day, as much as most families used in a week. The family hoped to dig a new well, but it was hard to find a well-driller willing to take on the project.
60 Years Ago (1959)
A huge crowd was expected for Bar-B-Q Days and the committee had 800 pounds of barbequed beef and 3,000 buns waiting, as well as plans for a carnival, street dances, stage shows, and band concerts, including disc jockey Bill Diehl of WDGY, all ready to go. Members of that first BBQ Days Committee were Paul Keup, Ed Moody, Pete Mahoney, Mark Huber, Lee Mueller, Walter Witt, Bill Steffen, and Maynard Harms.
Ted Larson and his son, Wayne, spent the weekend at their former hometown of Briton, South Dakota, and ended up saving a man’s life. While talking to friends, a car missed a turn, struck a pole, and the driver was knocked unconscious and began choking because his false teeth had fallen down his throat. Larson managed to retrieve the man’s false teeth by reaching down into his throat. The man recovered in a South Dakota hospital thanks to Larson’s quick actions.
The Belle Plaine Modern Mothers and the St. Lawrence Jolly Toilers took a bus trip to the city to tour interesting places. The 35 ladies stopped at Betty Crocker’s Kitchens, the Prudential Insurance Company Building, the Ford Assembly Plant, and the rose gardens.
Thomas M. Sullivan, a native of St. Thomas, died at his home in Minneapolis following a lingering illness. He was the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Sullivan of St. Thomas.
Tom Lynch, Virgil Herrmann, N.B. Thomton, and Wesley Battcher returned form a week’s fishing trip to Canada. The group drove 570 miles north to Jellicoe, Ontario, and then chartered a plant to fly 90 miles farther north to an island in the wilds of central Canada. They brought back their limit of giant northern and walleyes, including a 20 lb. northern.
Funeral services were held at West Union Lutheran Church for Elmer Almquist, well-remembers former resident of that church who died at his home in Minneapolis.
Ervin Otto, Bud French, and Willard Busse were injured when the pickup truck they were riding in was struck be a car and overturned near Prior Lake. All three men were thrown from the vehicle after it went down a 15-foot embankment. Busse’s leg was pinned under the vehicle, but he was rescued with the aid of a jack and shovel; no bones were broken. Otto and French escaped with lacerations and bruises.
John McConnell, who was born and raised in Blakeley Township, died at St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. As a young man, he followed the blacksmith trade.
Bill Nye of near Henderson suffered a compound fractured leg after a horse fell on him while he was attempting to lead it into a trailer at Albrechts’ Circus lot here.
The marriage of Mary A. Baker, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Baker, and Dr. Eugene O’Brien, son of Mr. and Mrs. E.T. O’Brien, took place a the Church of St. Timothy in Maple Lake.
Women’s dress shoes were $2.99, men’s work shoes and dress oxfords were $5.95, and girls’ flats were $2.29 at Fisher’s Shoe Store.
Belle Plaine mustered just four runs off 14 hits, three walks and three Shakopee errors as they left 13 men dead on base and lost 14-4, their seventh straight loss.
90 Years Ago (1929)
The first grain cutting of the year was reported on the Stoppelmann farms. Their rye was cut on July 5.
Faxon Township was hit by a destructive hailstorm and cloudburst. Farms on the lower bottom road were hit hardest. Two bridges were washed out.
The marriage of Miss Clara Tolzman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Tolzman, and Clayton Bowe of Mankato, took place. The couple left on a wedding trip to Yellowstone Park and Denver.
Belle Plaine 4-H Club elected as their new officers Minnie Dahlke, Sophie Spindle, and Melvin Chard.
Mr. and Mrs. Cam H. Hooper and the latter’s daughter, Mrs. Marsh, were out from Minneapolis to celebrate Mr. Hooper’s 77th birthday in the town of his birth. Cam’s father was one of the most important citizens in the town’s settlement.
George Chrisitians from Mantorville located here and opening a shoe repair shop.
James Bailey Sr. arrived from Oklahoma to spend the summer in his old home community. In Oklahoma, he made his home with his adopted son, Eugene, and his family.
The annual treasurer’s report of the Belle Plaine School District showed expenditures for the year of $21,350.51, of which $14,504.92 was for teachers’ wages.
Members of the Melberg families from South Dakota, Milaca, Hopkins, and Carver came for a family reunion at the George Carlson farm at East Union.
The tightest ball game of the season was between Belle Plaine and Young America, which was won by Young America, 3-2, in the 12th inning. Goulet was the winning pitcher, and Gallivan for Belle Plaine allowed three hits.
August Jentz of Tyrone Township left on a trip to Germany.
Assumption had a resident who was 96 years old. He was Peter Kroells who lived on the farm of his son, Peter, J. Kroells.
120 Years Ago (1899)
Benjamin Bliss, who located here in 1855 and made the Belle Plaine area his home ever since, died.
Belle Plaine borough was strong on livestock. The assessor enumerated 174 horses, 289 cattle, 81 hogs, and 101 dogs within the borough limits.
At the July 4th celebration at St. John’s, William Hoban and Pat Bailey were the first and second prizewinners in the horse race. P.A. Bailey’s pony took first in the pony race, Howard Bateman won the bicycle race, and Michael Morrison won the foot race.
A farmer near Norwood was arrested by his town board on the charge of letting Russian thistles grown on his farm.