First baby of 1996

Riley Thomas Schumacher, the first baby of 1996, arrived Jan. 3 at Hutchinson Community Hospital. The young man weighed in at 7 pounds, 4 ounces. As the first baby, he received many gifts and certificates to celebrate life. Pictured with him is his mom Traci Schumacher. Grandparents are Carol and Leon Schumacher of South Haven, formerly of Litchfield.

125 YEARS AGO: 1896

The cold this morning was 22 degrees below zero.

It is now 1896, date your letters accordingly.

Half a dozen young ladies took advantage of the leap year by making New Year's calls on those of their young gentlemen friends whom they knew were not at home.

Observer Rosenboom reports the following weather observations for December: highest temperature was 38 degrees; lowest was 12 degrees below zero; mean temperature was 19 degrees; no rain and less than one-inch of snow.

100 YEARS AGO: 1921

Suggested resolutions from the Leader: A little more deed and less creed; a little more giving and little less greed; a little more bearing other people's load; and a little more God-speeds on the dusty road.

75 YEARS AGO: 1946

Richard Peterson and George Totushek will open a new ice cream factory in the former laundry building on Washington Avenue. Modern equipment with a freezer that has a capacity of 40 gallons per hour and an ice box where 3,000 gallons of ice cream can be stored is now being installed. 

The 1945 tax rate for the city of Hutchinson will be 112.14 mills, a slight overall increase over last year, when the total rate was 110.94 mills. However, both the city and school district rates have been lowered slightly, the increasing coming largely in the state rate.

50 YEARS AGO: 1971

Construction of commercial buildings valued at more than $500,000 is underway in Hutchinson as a new year arrives. Farmers Elevator Association is constructing a $200,000 corn-drying plant. Hutchinson Utilities has under construction a $185,670 municipal electric plant addition, which will house a new generator. A new building for the regional game and fisheries headquarters of the Minnesota conservation department is valued at $127,000. 

Tracee Lynne Fandrich missed sharing a brother's birthday and the 1970 income tax deduction deadline by 20 minutes but she copped the honors of being Hutchinson's first baby of 1971. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Arlie Fandrich.

25 YEARS AGO: 1996 

The holiday season was as rich as fudge for some stores but as bland as year-old Spritz cookies for others. Many Hutchinson shopkeepers say the season started out fairly strong but Minnesota's statewide Dec. 7-9 snowstorm slowed people down for awhile. "This is the best year we've ever had," said Chris Schlueter of JoAnn Fabrics. After 13 years in business, Hutchinson's store has become No. 1 in an eight-state region. "The cold weather snap put a crimp in things but as soon as the weather straightened things were strong again," said Kevin Aus of Kmart. "The last weekend before Christmas was very strong."

Hutchinson lost two pillars of its academic and athletic foundation in the final two months of 1995. Longtime educator and athletic director Ralph Bergstrom, 85, died in November, and Art Avis, 81, died in December. Bergstrom was a high school teacher and also served as principal for 37 years. Avis spent 24 years in the HHS school system and was athletic director for 17 years. During his tenure as AD, Avis initiated five new sports programs including four girls' sports.

Minnesota DNR technician Joe DeJaeghere urges snowmobilers using the Luce Line State Trail in the Hutchinson area to stay on the groomed portion of the right of way to avoid damaging young tree seedlings.

McLeod County parks have groomed cross country ski trails open for the season. The trails are in the following parks: Stahl's Lake Park, Piepenburg Park, both in Hutchinson; Swan Lake Park, Silver Lake; and Lake Marion Park, Brownton.

The Jerry and Shirley Wright home in rural Hutchinson was selected as the winner of a holiday lighting contest involving dairy farms in McLeod County. Joe Neubauer was one of several judges who helped select the winner. Neubauer said judging took place throughout the county and the Robert Dobratz resident was selected as the second-place winner.




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