Super grad Gus Wurdell

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Super Grad Gus Wurdell. He left the Hutchinson High School Class of 1996 with an image that they will never forget during his commencement address June 9. He told his classmates to always act like a superhero, even if they can’t look like one. Wurdell was able to change into his hero outfit without the aid of a phone booth. His classmates appreciated his effort, giving him him a standing ovation.

125 YEARS AGO: 1896

H.V. Poore, the well-known reform agitator, was in Hutchinson. He is campaigning for the People's Party and says that farmers are fast coming to understand what the demonetization of silver means.

A man, whom some think crazy, struck town about 1:30 a.m. About the same time, several shots were fired in the air around him. The whyness of this is that the man was an alleged horse thief who appropriated for his own use a nag owned by a farmer in Richmond Township, west of Litchfield, and the men who fired the shots were Deputy Sheriff Bertleson of Litchfield and the Richmond constable. He traded the stolen horse in Cosmos. Chief Hamilton recognized him when he was brought in from across the river, and the fellow virtually admitted his guilt and owned up to passing through Hutchinson a few weeks ago, having been mixed up in a similar horse deal before. 

100 YEARS AGO: 1921

Charles Kuester, deputy sheriff, is not much of a ladies man, but when it comes to chasing after 'em he prefers the glib-mouthed gypsy queens. Thirty-five minutes after four Dodge cars had deposited their Romany passengers near his resident, Kuester had them rounded up and out of town. J.R. Blackburn of Alexander & Blackburn however missed $5 after having his fortune told. No effort was made to recover the money as the robbery was not reported until some time later. 

Madam Ellen Beach Yaw, prima donna soprano, is performing as part of the Hutchinson Chautauqua, which will continue for seven days. Madam Yaw is one of the leading sopranos in the United States, and that means in all the world.

75 YEARS AGO: 1946

Hutchinson has a jewel mystery reminiscent of the Hessian jewels found in Wisconsin. It was brought to light when Mrs. Felepe went to get her Chatelaine watch out of a velvet box where she had put it two weeks before. She discovered her own watch had been removed from the pin and another one substituted. The strange watch was the same size and make as her own and it was not a cheap watch, though inferior to hers which was an expensive graduation present back in 1908. The strange watch was plainly engraved with the name Ada on the outside and bore the date of 1902 inside the case. The queerest part of the incident is that the watch was ticking when Mrs. Felepe lifted if from the velvet box.

50 YEARS AGO: 1971

The McLeod County Historical Society's mummy is being readied for its first appearance of this summer season in the former jail cell now at the museum, First Avenue Southwest and Hassan Street. 

25 YEARS AGO: 1996

Rev. Billy Graham's Greater Twin Cities Crusade is scheduled to be one of the last stops in his ministry that has spanned nearly 50 years and been brought to countries throughout the world. Many Hutchinson residents are planning to take an active role in the upcoming crusade that will be at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Some residents will be going to hear Graham and the other speakers and performers. Others also have been trained to serve as counselors to assist people who come forward during the crusade and dedicate their lives to Christ.

Increased vandalism of city parks prompted the Hutchinson City Council to take action. The council approved a resolution establishing hours when the public may use Library Square Park. New park hours are 6 a.m.-9 p.m. each day. Use of the park outside of those hours will require a city-issued permit, and use of the park's bandstand is also restricted to groups with a city permit. During May, various acts of vandalism throughout city park facilities caused at least $6,000 in damages. Hutchinson Police Chief Steve Madson agreed council action was necessary. "This gives us more authority to respond to these types of things," he said. "The bandstand has been damaged to the point of near disrepair."

Anyone familiar with the Hutchinson High School athletic scene recognizes Charlie Munz, who always seems to be doing something at all Tiger events. Munz officially has taken over as the school's athletic director.

Jay Beytien, former senior vice president of Firstate Federal, is a fan of the Hutchinson Leader. "I really rely on the Leader for my local information and news," he said. "I appreciate that almost every important article has a picture. I grew up believing a picture is worth a thousand words. I really like the human interest stories and citizen bios. Even if I don't know who they are, the stories are interesting."

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