Fran Smith and Sandy Johnson are the new owners of the Country Cupboard

Fran Smith and Sandy Johnson are the new owners of the Country Cupboard. After much restocking and re-organizing, they will begin their first full day together on December 1.

From Our Files - 10 Years Ago

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Thirty Years Ago (1989)

Fran Smith and Sandy Johnson are the new owners of the Country Cupboard. After much restocking and re-organizing, they will begin their first full day together on December 1.

One new idea and many traditional holiday events greeted Belle Plaine Christmas shoppers. Besides events like appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus, singing in the streets, a holiday drawing, the lighting contest, and the ‘Sharing is Caring’ toy drive, the new idea was selling city Christmas tree ornaments. Round brass ornaments that said ‘Season’s Greetings from Belle Plaine, Minnesota’, which were the first in a series of collectors’ items for the next three years, were on sale for $5 in various businesses.

More than 30 parked cars received warnings on Wednesday night, Nov. 22, rather than being tagged and towed for violating a new Belle Plaine parking ordinance. The ordinance stated that between Nov. 1 and April 1, no vehicles would be allowed to park on residential city streets after two or more inches of snow had fallen. Belle Plaine Police Chief Steve Rost said that violators would be given citations and towed the next time it snowed. The penalty for ignoring the snow removal-parking ordinance was a maximum fine of $100 plus costs incurred by the towing.

The Chamber of Commerce donated an artificial Christmas tree to the city for the community to enjoy that holiday season and in the future. As a new tradition, city organizations like the scouts, the Rotary Club, churches, and schools were invited to bring in ornaments for the tree.

Sandy Johnson and Fran Smith, new owners of the Country Cupboard at 113 E. Main St., hoped to become a full-service business for wedding planners. The sisters also hoped to expand into home and commercial design, helping customers with dried or silk flower arrangements to match their home. Their first full day together in the store was Friday, Dec. 1.

Irish was the theme for the Belle Plaine Historical Society’s Christmas Open House on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 3, at 410 N. Cedar Street. According to Henrietta Stiles, committee chairman for the project, a Victorian theme had been used for many years until they decided to use nationalities, particularly of those who had lived in the house, such as Dutch, German, Swedish, and English. To go along with the Irish theme, decorations included a wren’s nest, which was part of a tradition the Irish celebrated on Dec. 26 for St. Steven’s Day.

The first major snow storm of the season caused car accidents near Young America and Le Sueur, and heavy Thanksgiving traffic caused an eight-car pile up near Jordan. With two to three inches of snow on the ground and so icy that you could hardly stand up, three people were killed when a car and a pickup truck collided on Hwy. 5 near Young America. The victims were returning to their homes from Waconia Ridgeview Hospital.

A delegation from Belle Plaine High School, including Suzie Scherber, Leif Tharaldson, Cindy Berger, Dan Eckblad, Erik Einertson, and Zac McCall, as well as instructor Brad Hanauer, attended the 25th annual Novel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. The two-day conference was entitled “The End of Science?”

Construction of facilities at Fountain Park, which included restrooms, drinking fountain and a shelter for picnic tables, and a trellis-type shade structure covering the baby pool and partially covering the deck of the large swimming pool were the two park improvements that the Belle Plaine Parks Committee planned for 1990. A total of $16,000 was requested for the improvements.

Denise Koepp, daughter of Don and Diane Koepp, was selected Most Valuable Player by Minnesota River Conference Volleyball coaches. She shared the honor with Jenny Winning from Mankato Loyola.

Westerman Lumber Company was celebrating its 100-year anniversary on Friday, Dec. 1.  


60 Years Ago (1959)

Area Christmas shoppers were offered the opportunity to get their shopping done conveniently, under a pleasant yuletide atmosphere and probably what’s most important, without the pressure of big city mobs and traffic congestion. Retail stores in Belle Plaine began staying open until 9 p.m. Wednesdays until Christmas. Belle Plaine merchants were waging an all-out war in the conflict with metropolitan establishments in wooing Christmas shoppers.

The holiday atmosphere was also apparent through some of the finest and latest permanent-type street lighting available. Businesmen, borough employees and school faculty members spent a day putting up the six-foot decorations to each white way pole.

Mrs. Albert Trost, chairman of the Belle Plaine Sister Kenny Drive, reported $386.80 had been collected. Workers included Les Blume, Fred Tillquist, Bob Stradcutter, L.E. Lieske, Emmett Minton, Allen Peltz, Ed Otto, W.E. Bromaghim, Art Dueffert, Verna Dalaska, E. Possin, Arnold Oldenburg, Albert Lindorff, and Lee Birkholz.

M/Sgt. and Mrs. Urban Hartman and children arrived here from Newfoundland where he had been stationed for 3½ years. They were to spend a 40-day leave here with his folks, the Phil Hartman family. After Christmas, they were to go to Biloxi, Mississippi, where he would be stationed at Kessler Air Force Base.

The Minnesota Highway Dept. asked for bids on 62 miles of highway construction and several bridges, expected to cost $7.7 million in its continuing extension of Hwy. 169.

About 225 friends and relatives attended the 50th wedding anniversary and open house for Mr. and Mrs. August Will at St. John Lutheran Church. Guests came from Hinckley, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Prior Lake, Shakopee, Jordan, Lydia, and Maple Plain.

Mrs. Alvin Stier, Mrs. E.T. Clayton, and Mrs. Maurice Moriarty headed up the Belle Plaine blood drive for the Red Cross in which 66 persons donated. Mrs. Warren Willson, Leonard Fogarty, and Fred E. Keup Jr. were awarded gallon club pins.

James E. Buesgens, seaman with the U.S. Navy and son of Mr. and Mrs. William Buesgens of Belle Plaine, served aboard the icebreaker USS Glacier and transited the Panama Canal en route to the Antarctic to participate in Operation Deep Freeze. The ship was to support operations conducted by navy men and scientists engaged in the peaceful exploration of the Antarctic.

Mrs. John Murphy was surprised on her 93rd birthday by her family at the Patrick B. Ronayne home in St. Paul.

Twenty or more relatives and neighbors turned out at the Edwin Harms farm to help reconstruct the barn destroyed by fire two weeks ago. The new building was 36 by 88 feet.

Funeral services for Mrs. John Hyde, nee Anna Lang, took place at St. John’s Church in Sibley County. She died at White Plains, N. Y., where she had been living the past 16 years.

Bob Wayne was named to serve in the post of Scott County Agricultural Agent. He came from Red Wing where he had been the assistant agent in charge of 4-H Club work for Goodhue County.

It was a white Thanksgiving locally with just enough of a light snowfall in the early morning to give us a covering of white.

90 Years Ago (1929)

The Thanksgiving period was a quiet one. Uncertain weather curtailed motoring, there was no skating, and the traditional Thanksgiving Eve dance wasn’t held.

The Fred W. Erickson family, who had been occupying the Paul Ruehling farm for a number of years, moved into Belle Plaine.

At St. John’s Church in Union Hill took place the marriage of Miss Celia Catherine Huss and Peter J. Entinger. The couple established their home on the groom’s farm near Iona.

The F.J. Heiland family was called to Madison, S. D., on account of the death of Mrs. Heildand’s mother, Mrs. Anna Vreyens, at the age of 61.

A triple birthday party was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ernst Holste for Mr. Holste, Mrs. Roy Almich, and Art Tiegs.

Mr. and Mrs. H. F. Hespenheide moved into Belle Plaine from their farm in Blakeley in time to enjoy Thanksgiving in the new home they had built.

A Thanksgiving Day wedding was that of Miss Pauline Tesch, daughter of Mrs. August Neiman, to Harvey Schultz, which took place at Trinity Lutheran Church.

The two Belle Plaine lumberyards, the Widmer Yard operated by Jos. Widmer and the Farmers Lumber Co. operated by Julius Otto and A.M. Kloos, were purchased by the Geib-Janni Co., and the businesses were consolidated at the Widmer premises.

The marriage of Miss Viola Sandberg, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Sandberg of West Union, and Arthur Lund, so of Mr. and Mrs. John Lund of Staples, took place at the home of the bride’s parents.

The Green Isle Creamery burned to the ground. Arrangements were made to accommodate patrons at the Belle Plaine Creamery until the Green Isle one was rebuilt.

The marriage of Louis Lieske, of Henderson, and Miss Ella Schrupp took place. The couple established their home at Jackson where the groom was engaged in the implement business.

Judge Francis Cadwell, 87, died at his home in Le Sueur. He had been a district judge for 14 years and upon retirement resumed private practice. Members of the legal fraternity and Masonic Brethren from Belle Plaine attended his funeral.

Mrs. William Carlin, nee McCormick, native of Assumption, died in Minneapolis at the age of 70. Her funeral was held in Belle Plaine, which had been her home for many years.

At the Jessenland church took place the marriage of Miss Winifred Haugh and Leo O’Day. The couple established their home in St. Paul.

A Thanksgiving Day wedding was that of Miss Eleanor Smith, daughter of the William Smiths of Washington Lake Township, to Roland Brelje of rural Cologne.

120 Years Ago (1899)

The mercury nearly reached zero on Dec. 2 – the first cold day of the season.

John Corcoran arrived home from the Klondike after a year and ten months there, where he saw hardship and adventure and was glad to be home again.

Petition for a post office in the German Settlement at the A.C. Schmidt Creamery was granted, with the office to be known as “Joel,” after Congressman Joel Heatwole.

Pat Sherlock had a sugar beet hauling bee. His neighbors came to his assistance with 27 teams.

John McConnell had a tubular well sunk on his farm in Blakeley Township to a depth of 323 feet. With windmill and tower, it represented a cost of $500, making it the most expensive well the locality had then known.

The Christmas advertisers of that period were Schaefer’s Store, J.J. Quinlan Store, Sam Mell’s Store, Mrs. Sielaff’s Store, Joe Neubeiser Hardware, W. H. Weibeler Store, McDevitt Furniture, Jos. Krauzkemper Bakery, Julius Seiberlich Furniture, and Bryant the jeweler.

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