Not enough snow for a sleigh

Not enough snow for a sleigh - The Belle Plaine Historical Society Christmas party was held at the Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom House Sunday afternoon. The traditional sleigh and cutter rides provided by the Prairie Down Charioteers turned out to be wagon rides because the ground was covered with just light snow which has since melted. Francis Bigaouette and Marvin Hiles brought in wagons and teams of ponies. A tragic situation dampened the festivities when Hiles was stricken with an aneurysm while hitching up his team. He thought it was just a back pain, but it continued to become more severe. He went home and later was taken by ambulance to Queen of Peace Hospital in New Prague and transferred by helicopter to Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park where he died. His son, Larry Hiles of Arlington (pictured above driving the team) was called to take care of the horses, and not knowing the extent of his father’s illness, continued giving rides during the afternoon.

Thirty Years Ago (1988)

Many residents attended the snow parking public hearing portion of the Belle Plaine City Council meeting on Monday, Dec. 5. A few questions were asked, but no one spoke against the proposal, which then became a city ordinance. With the rule that no one can park on the streets after two inches of snow had fallen until the roadway was cleared, the city-wide snow removal could be completed in one day rather than the two or three days under the odd-even system.

The City of Belle Plaine planned to appeal the refusal of the State Department of Education’s Library Development Services Department to consider the city’s request to relocate the city library from a residential area to the old fire hall. The state contended that putting the library in the fire hall was not at or near the town’s center of highest density of daily activity because it was not on a primary street and not convenient to parking. However, studies showed that the old fire hall location had a daily traffic count of 5,500, while the downtown intersection of Main and Meridian Streets had a traffic count of only 3,500 to 4,500.

A tragic situation dampened the Belle Plaine Historical Society’s Christmas festivities at the Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom House Sunday afternoon, Dec. 4, when Marvin Hiles was stricken with an aneurysm while hitching up his team of horses for the sleigh rides. Thinking it was just back pain, Hiles went home but was later taken by ambulance to Queen of Peace Hospital in New Prague and then transferred by helicopter to Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, where he died.

Between Aug. 1, 1987 and July 21, 1988, $1,474,352 in pull-tabs were sold in Belle Plaine. Of that total, the Belle Plaine Fire Department donated $106,047 in profits to various groups throughout the community. Last year, total pull-tab sales were $970,000, which generated $80,989 in profits. Of the eight games available to pull-tab buyers, Lucky 7 remained the most popular, with a payback percentage of 86 percent.

Belle Plaine Police were investigating a break-in at the Our Lady of the Prairie Convent on Friday, Dec. 2, in which approximately $150 was taken from the convent’s five residents. The intruder was a white man in his fifties, weighing about 180 pounds, and wearing a mid-length tan or green coat and bright orange tie. He entered the front door of the convent, rummaged through each room of the living quarters upstairs, and left again through the front door, leaving a trail of mud.

Belle Plaine Community Services was exploring the possibility of providing a before and/or after childcare program to elementary students in the school district.

Officials with the Scott County Ag Society (Fair Board) and St. Lawrence Township began negotiations on Thursday, Dec. 8, at the Scott County Courthouse, to work out disputes between the two groups. Township officials contended that the township was not being reimbursed for damage to roads caused by traffic to and from the fair and other events held at the fairgrounds.

At Belle Plaine’s Bel-Acres Greenhouse, six-foot white spruce Christmas trees were available for $9.

On Thursday evening, Dec. 8, Weight Watchers’ national spokesperson, Kris Vogel of Hopkins, spoke about weight loss, fitness, lifestyle changes, attitude, self-esteem, motivation, nutrition, health and wellness, at the Belle Plaine Elementary School cafeteria. Vogel had lost 146 pounds (and 137 inches) on the program during a 16-month time period and put 14,400 miles on her exercise bike in 27 months.

Sherry Bartholomew, daughter of Tom and Doris Bartholomew and a 1984 BPHS graduate, graduated from the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Clown College in Venice, Florida. Bartholomew’s interest in clowning was piqued when Caroline Kaiser of the First Presbyterian Church started a clown ministry group.

Belle Plaine businesses planned to give away 292 gift certificates worth over $2,100 to local shoppers who registered for a drawing by Dec. 19.

The BPHS girls’ basketball team opened their season with a hard fought 51 to 37 defeat at Winthrop and a disappointing 31 to 21 loss at Arlington. The BPHS wrestling team began their season losing a match against Region 2 power St. Clair-Waldorf-Pemberton, 38-18, and took fourth place at the Brownton tournament on Dec. 3. The BPHS boys’ basketball team traveled to Arlington-Green Isle to play the Indians in their opening game of the season and came away with a come-from-behind 45-40 victory.

60 Years Ago (1958)

A turnout of between 500 and 600 creamery patrons and their wives was the response to the annual meeting of the Belle Plaine Creamery Association. When the time came to elect directors, Art Laabs, a longtime member of the board, declined re-election, and Lloyd Schultz was chosen in his place. John P. Newell, the other board member whose term expired, was re-elected without opposition.

Peter J. Solheid was busy helping thresh five stacks of grain on the Eilers Bros. farm west of New Prague. This was the only farm, stated Mr. Solheid, that he knows in this vicinity which had grain stacks, and the work was all done in the old-fashioned way.

The special bond election in the newly organized consolidated New Prague School District carried in the amount of $1,370,000 for a new high school building in New Prague.

Area residents felt the chilling cold that week as temperatures took an icy tumble, plunging thermometers almost out of sight. The mercury fell to 15 below zero.

James E. Buesgens, seaman apprentice, USN, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Buesgens of Belle Plaine, arrived at McMurdo Sound Antarctica aboard the Navy’s most powerful icebreaker, USS Glacier.

Mrs. Mary Mechtel, lifelong resident of Belle Plaine, died in a hospital in St. Paul at the age of 61.

After a year’s illness, death came to John M. Moriarty at the Valley View rest home. He was 87 years old.

Edgar H. Ruehling, 36, of rural Belle Plaine, was recovering in the Shakopee hospital from injuries sustained when he was involved in an auto collision with the U. S. Highway Post Office mail van.

Remains of John Lueck arrived in Belle Plaine for burial in Oakwood Cemetery. He died in his home in Wenatchee, Washington. His wife was the former Louise Bauer of this community.

John O’Leary, native of Derrynane Township, died at the New Prague hospital at the age of 80.

Mrs. Alma Lundquist, long a resident of the East Union community, died at the Shakopee hospital at the age of 87.

Mrs. Catherine Effertz was stricken with a fatal heart attack while on her way to the home of her daughter, Mrs. Prochaska, in New Prague. She was 57 years old.

The marriage of Miss Mary and Alfred J. Huss took place at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in St. Paul. The groom is the son of Mrs. Math Huss of Shakopee and the late Mr. Huss, former residents of Union Hill.

Many friends and relatives gathered at the East Union Parish Hall to join with Mr. and Mrs. Martin Hurtig in celebrating their silver anniversary.

90 Years Ago (1928)

Two local women’s organizations sponsored a Christmas contest, with prizes for the best decorated homes and window displays.

Members of the Kahle relationship were in St. Paul to attend the funeral of Mrs. Maurice Lampher, wife of their nephew.

One of the new farm homes finished that fall was that of Jos. Gill in Derrynane Township.

At the West Union Church took place the marriage of Miss Enez Olson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Olson, to Oscar E. Johnson, so of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Johnson. The couple established their home in Carver.

There were 427 entries at that years’ Poultry Show, with a record number of individual exhibitors.

Early discovery of fire in the L.H. Kahle home saved that house from destruction during the absence of the family.

Belle Plaine’s Christmas program included a community tree at our Main Street intersection and distribution by Santa of presents at the site.

Two 20-year-old Belle Plaine boys, Denny O’Day and Victor Holste, met with a tragic accident while on their home from a pleasure trip to Texas. The boys were traveling with a motorcycle and sidecar. Near Rushville, Missouri, it was cold and windy, and boys were following close to the rear of a truck, using it for a windbreak. Suddenly something happened to the mechanism of the truck and it stopped abruptly. The motorcycle crashed into its rear. One boy died almost instantly, and the other passed away in a nearby hospital.

Mother of Fred Revier died while on a visit with her daughter at New Ulm. The funeral and burial took place at St. Peter.

Two Sibley County women became involved in a slander suit, and in the trial at Gaylord, the jury returned a verdict of $300 in favor on one of the women. As it turned out, they meant the damage to go to the other, having become confused as to the one designated the defendant. A new trial was predicted.

120 Years Ago (1898)

Cordwood was coming into town at a lively rate.

The big sugar beet crop here was made by the work of Russian families brought in, who that week departed for their homes in Nebraska.

At Minneapolis took place the marriage of Theodore Johnson, our assistant postmaster, and Esther Hall, daughter of August Hall, formerly of this locality but then residing in Traverse County.

Holiday advertisers that year were the jeweler W.O. McDevitt, Schafer’s Store, Weibeler’s Store, Sam Mell, Schoell’s Drug Store, McDevitt’s Furniture, W.H. Sisterman Harness Shop, Stratton Drug Store, John Feider Store, Seiberlich Furniture, Cavanaugh Grocery, Kulisheck Harness Shop, Callahan Hardware, Mrs. W. Sielaff’s store, Whitlock Lumberyard, and Irvin Lumberyard.

M.S. Wherley wrote form Dawson in the Yukon Territory that he had two claims staked out, and the Milton brothers had interest in seven claims. All expected to strike it rich. He mentioned meeting old friends, including James Ryan, Thos. Crahan, and Thos. Colbert of Assumption.

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