From Our Files - 10 Years Ago
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Thirty Years Ago (1990)
Bill and Frieda Panning, who have been married for 62 years, celebrated Valentine’s Day close to each other, holding hands at The Lutheran Home’s sixth annual sweetheart’s dinner. Art and Clara Laabs, who are just newlyweds after being married three years, were also among the nine couples who attended the event.
The Belle Plaine Fire Department’s charitable gambling operations in Belle Plaine reaped profits of $129,338 in 1989. Gross sales of pulltabs and other games were $1,906,461. About 80% of the gross sales were paid back to winners of the games. A large percentage of the gross profit went to state taxes, administration costs, and renting an area in the sites where the games were sold. The remaining was net profit for the department to use and donate. With $12,943 carried over in profits from 1988, the firemen donated to five major areas: a new fire truck, various fire fighting equipment, the Fire Relief Fund, various community projects, as well as furnishing, painting, and flooring the new fire hall.
With Huber’s Red Owl celebrating their 50 years in business as they transitioned to SuperValu as their wholesaler, Mark Huber reminisced about the history of the business. For the first 14 years, starting in 1926, his father and mother operated a meat market known as Huber’s Sanitary Meats. He remembered his dad, Frank, getting up around 4:30 a.m. to butcher a beef on someone’s farm, letting it hang in a tree until it cooled down, and then going to pick it up in a Model A Ford and taking it back to the store. Fresh bologna, which Frank had ground up with spices, stuffed in rings, cooked in boiling water, and then smoked, was hanging in the front of the store and sold for 25 cents for two rings. In 1940, the Hubers borrowed $1,000 to remodel the meat market, and the Red Owl agency was born; their first complete line of groceries from the Red Owl warehouse cost $996. In 1990, after 50 years with Red Owl, Mark hoped that SuperValu would mean as much to the next generation as Red Owl meant to him. He concluded his story by thanking all the wonderful people of Belle Plaine.
The Belle Plaine Chapter of Future Farmers of America was celebrating its 50th year during FFA Week on Feb. 17-24. In 1990, the FFA roster included 66 members, who participated and excelled in many activities; officers were President Bill Sellnow, Vice president Chad Sellnow, Secretary Becky Glisczinski, Treasurer Brad Karnitz, Reporter Shelly Fogarty, Sentinel Jason Noll, and Executive Committee members Chris Kiewel and Mark Krueger. The charter members - Donald Anderson, Delmonth Alexander, Donald Bleichner, Theodore Carlson, George Donovan, Marty Donovan, Joe Fogarty, Alvin Gabbert, Earl Gerdes, Vernon Gerdes, Francis Huber, Homer Hessian, Raymond McCormick, William Meyer, William Kliefoth, Paul Lundborg, William O’Brien, Elwin Shaughnessy, David Wolfram, Harold Wolpern, and Marvin Zellman – were invited to the annual banquet.
The Belle Plaine Police Department responded to 1,994 calls in 1989 according to the arrest and activity report. Police Chief Steve Rost was very pleased with the operation of the department and believed that he and the three full-time officers – Jim Johnson, Mark Hartman, and Kevin Studnicka – and three part-time officers – Randy Lenz, Darrell Hanza, and Allen Mathwig – achieved their goals for law control, public relations, and cost-effectiveness.
More than 120 students from ten local high schools competed in the Belle Plaine Invitational Speech Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 10. Arlington won with Belle Plaine coming in second and Le Center third. Twenty-three Belle Plaine students competed with 17 earning recognition; including first place finishers Erin Fahey in poetry and Chris Skelley in humorous. Second place trophies went to Pam Aufderhar in creative expression and Carol Schmidt in serious prose. Earning third place were Amy Meyenburg in creative expression, Kris Giesen in drama, and Melanie Wolf in informative speaking.
60 Years Ago (1960)
Seven Henderson residents escaped in near zero temperatures wearing just their nightclothes as fire roared through two downtown businesses and the apartments above. Completely destroyed were Arvilla’s Confectionary and Volkenant Butcher Shop. Damage was estimated to exceed $30,000.
The latest in bookkeeping machines at the bank, Burroughs Sensitronic, was installed at the State Bank of Belle Plaine. The new machine, which was a five-figure investment, actually read, wrote and remembered while recording checking transactions. The bank displayed it at an open house in the lobby so customers could it in operation.
Mary A. Baldwin, a native of Belle Plaine, died suddenly at her home in St. Paul on Feb. 9. She was the daughter of Michael and Catherine (Kelly) Baldwin.
Belle Plaine Motor Company proprietor Fred. M. Tillquist was preparing to erect a carport on the lot at the south side of the display room and garage. It was to be 48x100 feet, two walls and a roof, with the front and rear open. The purpose of the structure was to house school buses and used cars.
Stanley Goettl of Janesville bought the 200-acre Walter Holste farm four miles north of Belle Plaine and planned to move in March 1.
George F. Baier, 72, who lived nearly all his life on a farm in St. Lawrence Township, died Feb. 13 at the New Prague Hospital after an illness of about one month. The cause of his death was a result of complications to diabetes.
Leo Albrecht completed a hand-carved replica of the Royal Coach of England used in about 1750. He had started the project about five years before and worked on it for about 2,000 hours. He had help from his two sons, Sonny and David, and German Tolzman in building the colorful and impressive carriage, which was on display in Keup’s Garage show window. The coach was used in the Shrine Circus in the Twin Cities and pulled by white Shetland ponies.
Kenneth Albert Mann, 58, died unexpectedly of a coronary in his sleep. He was credit manager of Montgomery Ward Stores of California. He was born in Faxon Township and many of his relatives still lived in the area.
The following people completed a 12-hour civil defense preparedness course sponsored by the high school: Mr. and Mrs. Julian Claeys, Matt Tholkes, Fred M. Hart, Ray C. Tritz, Mrs. German Tolzman, Mrs. Walter Zurn, Mrs. Helen Spellacy, Mrs. Garmen Elder, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Fogarty, Mr. and Mr. Leo Fogarty, Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Gaffney, Mr. and Mrs. Pat Fogarty, Mrs. John McCue, and Mrs. Leonard Fogarty.
Fire gutted O’Connor’s Beauty Shop and the upstairs residence of Mr. and Mrs. Pat O’Connor in a blaze that damaged three other adjoining business places in Shakopee. Shakopee Jewelry Store, Lindemeier Law Offices and O’Connors’s Woodworking Shop suffered smoke and water damage.
An extensive remodeling project was completed on the interior of Fisher’s Shoe Store. The shoe repair shop was moved to the rear of the building, adding more space in front for shelving and a larger stock. The floor was refinished and a new coat of paint brightened up the walls. The shop was modernized and new lighting was installed.
The local Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts observed the 50th anniversary of scouting with a bean and wiener dinner and program at the elementary school. About 210 people attended the program emceed by Scout Master Wayne Hagerman and Cub Pack Leader Ray Tritz.
William Borgardt, longtime Jessenland Township farmer, died Feb. 6 at the age of 84.
Wedding and engagement ring sets were on sale at Hennen’s Jewelry. A one-half carat diamond matched wedding set sold for $199.50.
Belle Plaine’s water tower looked like a giant frozen treat, as large icicles hung from it. An automatic mercury switch, which was supposed to shut off the town’s water pump when the tank became full, failed to function properly. Although the tank was filled, the pump kept on working and the over-abundance of water poured out the overflow valve all night in the near zero weather. Residents awoke to find the tower transformed into a picturesque winter spectacle.
‘Ben-Hur’ was playing at the Academy Theater, and ‘Sampson and Delilah’ was featured at the Le Sueur Theater.
It was an up and down week for Belle Plaine basketball as the Tigers extended their winning streak to four by beating Jordan, only to have it broken off in a conference competition against Arlington.
90 Years Ago (1930)
Spring came early that year. On two mid-February days, the mercury soared over 50 degrees.
Sam Truax, one of the early settlers who formerly lived on one of the Taylor farms, died in Minneapolis and the funeral was held there.
Mr. and Mrs. M.L. Neubeiser were making ready to move to California to reside. For a year, he had been operating his father’s heating and plumbing business.
Mrs. Henry Laabs died at her home in Belle Plaine at the age of 54, and her funeral was held at St. John Lutheran Church.
Cyrilla Weldon won first place in the humorous division at the Le Sueur sub-district declamatory contest and was to represent the Belle Plaine Schools in the district contest in St. Peter.
Frank Hogan, one of the pioneer settlers of Assumption, died at the age of 74; his funeral was held from Assumption Church.
The Weitzman Mercantile stock was being closed out by the Minneapolis man who had bid on the stock at a receiver’s sale.
The death of Jacob Leibbrand severed a link with pioneer days. Living first on a farm just south of Belle Plaine, he soon became one of the large landowners in St. Lawrence and was for years a leader in that township. Funeral services and burial were held in Jordan.
Victor Anderson was down from Braham and arranged to rent the Duggan farm in Faxon Township that spring.
Lieut. Walter Maser, a native son of Belle Plaine, was killed by an explosion that destroyed his airplane at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo, Cuba. He was 32 years old and the son of Judge Fred Maser of Dickinson, N.D., who was previously a pastor at St. John Lutheran Church in Belle Plaine.
All the members of the Thomas Merry family of St. Thomas were called to St. Paul on account of the death of their son and brother.
There was a large gathering at a birthday party at the Ray Burling farm home in East Union.
120 Years Ago (1900)
Taxes were very low, but the number of properties on the delinquent list was very high.
Mrs. T.E. Young of Benson was here and purchased the lease and furnishings of the Merchants Hotel and arranged to operate the property as soon as she got it redecorated.
A petition with 60 signers was presented to the Belle Plaine Town Board asking for complete separation of the borough and township in all financial voting matters. A vote was to take place at the annual meeting.
There was excitement in Carver County over the disappearance of County Treasurer Gerhard Bongard. When the office safe was opened, only some small change was left in it, but there was a letter in which he told of having been held up and robbed while returning from a tax collecting trip.