Students at St. A's

St. Anastasia Catholic School students and staff celebrated National Catholic Schools Week Jan. 29-Feb. 2, 1996. While studying about the Middle Ages, some students designed castles. Sharing theirs are, from left, Missi Dostal, Eric Schumacci, Kourtney Franck, Abby Clark, Evan Bisbee, Mike Buncher, Kristin Weiss and Becky Simmons.

Students at St. A’s

125 YEARS AGO: 1896

The post office now closes at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m.

The population of Hutchinson by the last census was 2,011. It is around 2,200 now.

The city council passed an ordinance requiring dogs to be muzzled, which appears in this Leader together with a proclamation, which all should read. This is a good move, made necessary by the mad dog epidemic in Sumter.

There was an apparent surplus of nearly every farm product in McLeod County this year, but the one which suffered the heaviest drop from its usual price is onions. The winter price has always been 75 cents to $1 a bushel, but now they can hardly be marketed at any price. Simpson & Benson bought and stored in the basement under Traver's Furniture store 600 bushels and Frank Kelley has 80 bushels in the same place and they would be glad to unload them for 10 cents per bushel.

100 YEARS AGO: 1921

Feb. 2 was Groundhog Day, and the best authorities cannot dispute that he saw his shadow. Those who were up early enough to say that he saw his shadow first soon after sunrise and the rest of us know he must have seen it at noon if the first glimpse did not send him scurrying back into his hole. Nevertheless, Feb. 2 was the coldest day we have had for several weeks, and it continued to be sharp. There is an old familiar saying, "Candlemas Day, half your wood and half your hay." You know what that means.

75 YEARS AGO: 1946

The Jaycees have voted to go ahead with the Water Carnival again this year, after the event has been missed for two years because of the war. Now a good many of the former Jaycee leaders are back from service, and together with new members, a bang-up carnival can be put on. Art Bretzke has been named chairman with Bruce Brummond and Arnold Heil as vice chairmen.

50 YEARS AGO: 1971

The first report in 1971 of the sighting of a robin in Hutchinson has been received by the Leader. Ken Plihal, an employee of the city of Hutchinson water department, came upon a red-breasted, shivering robin in below zero temperatures as he arrived to read a meter at the Victor Olesen home. It should warm the hearts of Hutchinsonites who have been bracing against the cold.

25 YEARS AGO: 1996

Employees at 3M's Hutchinson plants were informed of a new product line that will be introduced sometime this spring, as well as a voluntary separation package available to interested employees, according to Hutchinson plant manager Doug Ward. After announcing in November that 3M would phase out of videotape production at the Magnetic Media plant in Hutchinson, the company's focus has been on developing a transition plan for the Hutchinson site. Ward said he is pleased with the transition plan progress and the employees remain the No. 1 concern.

For a straight week from Jan. 29-Feb. 4, Hutchinson set record lows, with 36 degrees below zero recorded as the coldest both Feb. 1 and Feb. 3. That's according to the weather statistics kept by Hutchinson's weather station at KDUZ/KKJR radio. Although 36 degrees below zero is the coldest temperature recorded since the radio station began keeping records in the early 1950s, there are reports in old Hutchinson Leader newspapers of the mercury reaching 40 degrees below zero in January 1912.

Normally there is very little that can stop something that weighs 100 tons and has 1,000 horsepower, but Minnesota's frigid weather the past couple of weeks caused numerous headaches for even Hutchinson-based Dakota Rail and Glencoe-based Twin Cities & Western Railroad. The icy glaze, deep snow and cold temperatures actually caused Dakota Rail to suspend its train schedule for about a week beginning Jan. 18, according to administrative assistant Joely Streich. "The snow was like concrete out there," Streich said. "We used both locomotives and our flanger and we still couldn't bust through."

Judging from the number of candidates who filed before the Jan. 30 deadline, the 1996 township elections in the Hutchinson area will lack excitement. None of the 14 townships in McLeod County will have contested races during the annual elections on March 12, and two, Hale and Hutchinson townships, won't have a single candidate on the ballot for the office of supervisor.

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