Santa at the Rec Center

A room full of two-legged energy balls tried to wake up Santa for the holiday season Nov. 25, 1994, at the Hutchinson Recreation Center. Caitlin Daggett thinks she sees Santa move when the crowd of enthusiastic children and teddy bears sing loudly, but it was not quite enough just yet. Eventually, Santa woke up, took a ride to Library Square in a Hutchinson fire truck and visited with children after the annual tree lighting ceremony.

125 YEARS AGO: 1894

Newspapers’ disclosure of the enormous percentage of profit made upon bread at 5 cents a loaf have resulted in the reduction of the retail price in New York City from 5 cents to 3 cents for an 18-ounce loaf. A similar result is about to occur in Chicago.

A recent edition of the St. Paul Globe gave a list of millionaires and other wealthy citizens, corporations and firms of the capital city, who will contribute to Uncle Sam’s exchequer under the income tax law. Frederick Weyhauser and James J. Hill are each put down at $20 million and on this estimate they will each pay $16,000 in taxes. The next highest rating is the E.F. Drake estate with $8 million with a tax of $6,400. Ex-Gov. Ramsey is put down as worth $3 million. John L. Merriam at $2 million and on down the list. Ex-Gov. Merriam is not on the list but he is reported to be worth $2 or $3 million. It is presumed that his name was inadvertently omitted. Mary E. Hale is reputed to be the wealthiest woman in St. Paul, she being estimated at $1.5 million, with an annual income of $60,000. The Globe estimates that the 2 percent income tax law will draw nearly $100,000 from the wealthiest people of that city.

100 YEARS AGO: 1919

The Hutchinson Produce Co. has begun digging a trench in which to lay pipes to connect the city water main. This is the first step in the installation of an automatic sprinkler system to be connected in every room, even the cloak room and toilets. When completed, this will reduce the insurance on the property, estimated about 75 percent.

75 YEARS AGO: 1944

Maj. W.E. Ryerson, veteran of World War I overseas service and Hutchinson attorney until he enlisted in the Air Corps early in 1942, returned home on leave after 26 months of overseas service, during which period he served as an intelligence officer with the 82nd, a much-decorated fighter group. This fighter group, operating from airfields in North Africa, Sicily, and now for many months from bases near Foggia, Italy, holds the distinction of more victories in the air than any other group in the Mediterranean theater of operations.

Arthur K. Saar, 20 years old, has been named the champion in the 4-H Foods for Victory Contest, sponsored by the International Harvester Company. He is one of four state winners in wartime activities in Minnesota, and received an all-expense paid trip to the National 4-H Club Congress in Chicago.

50 YEARS AGO: 1969

Civil defense measures taken by local government officials in case of nuclear attack or natural disaster was the topic of a meeting of about 30 McLeod County school board members and elected officials. The thrust of the presentation by retired U.S. Army Col. Robert Elliott was to convince local planning officials that the most potential danger in an atomic war is not the blast and heat, which destroy only the target area, but the radioactive fallout, which would affect the remaining 95 percent of the United States population.

The oldest cooperative creamery in Minnesota closed its doors in late November and its equipment is on the auction block. The Biscay Cooperative Creamery, which dates from its organizational meeting Feb. 7, 1889, when it was known as the Biscay Creamery and Cheese Co., is one of the many small creameries in the state to close because so many of their patrons have gone out of the dairy business.

25 YEARS AGO: 1994

Final figures aren’t expected until January, but the 1994 harvest is estimated to have set state and national records for corn and soybean production. According to the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service, an estimated 928 million bushels of corn were harvested in Minnesota, compared to just 322 million bushels in water-logged 1993, a 188-percent increase. Soybean production increased 100 percent, growing from 115 million bushels a year ago to nearly 230 million in 1994.

Unless the city of Hutchinson and Midwest Cablevision reach an agreement fairly soon, Hutchinson residents may find themselves channel surfing in the desert. A temporary agreement between Midwest and the city was due to expire, but the City Council approved a short-term agreement through Jan. 15, 1995.

After months of self study and now long days of scrutiny from outside educators, Our Savior’s Lutheran School of Hutchinson is one step closer to accreditation. According to Principal Earl Guse, the school is being recommended for accreditation. For schools such as Our Savior’s, accreditation means positive educational recognition telling people the school is serious about its business and its mission.

Looking Back is a weekly column by Kay Johnson, arts and special projects editor, that highlights Hutchinson history. Photo submissions with captions are welcome. Contact the Leader by calling Johnson at 320-753-3641 or email

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