1996 Bluff Street bridge

The construction crew building the new Bluff Street bridge in early October 1996 is racing the coming of Old Man Winter. If all goes as planned, the bridge should be ready for traffic by Thanksgiving. A permanent road surface will be installed next year.

125 YEARS AGO: 1896

While threshing on the farm of John McCormick in North Hutchinson, quite a serious accident happened to John Fallon, son of Thomas Fallon. The engine started up while he was making some repairs and crushed one of his hands very badly.

100 YEARS AGO: 1921

Superintendent Carl Engstrom of the local branch of the Northern States Power Co. was rendered unconscious for the better part of an hour and his right hand was severely burned. The accident took place at the McLeod County Fairgrounds where he came in contact with an electric light wire, which although it was suppose to carry only 11 volts, carried many more times that voltage, possibly up to the maximum load on the high-tension line, 13,200.

Jacob Bentall, formerly of Cedar Mills Township and former Socialist candidate for governor, must serve his two-year sentence in the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth, according to the decision handed down by the United States Circuit Court of Appeals. Bentall has for the past year been a resident of Duluth where he has been editor of a radical magazine called Truth, under $10,000 bail since July 31, 1920, when the appeal from the second sentence was filed. Following a speech at Hutchinson on July 30, 1917, Bentall was indicted on a charge that in the speech had attempted to “cause insubordination, discontent and mutiny in the military and naval forces of the United States.”

75 YEARS AGO: 1946

The retail price of butter was 93 cents, an increase of 7 cents over three weeks ago. Just before that it was 82 cents.

Mrs. Charles Skucius harvested a 14-pound cabbage measuring 13 inches across and more than a yard around from her garden on Fourth Avenue Northeast. This was a big one.

The entire production of both Farmers Co-op Creamery and the local Kraft Foods Co. plant is now being devoted to butter, under current high prices. At the Farmers Creamery buttermaking has been 100% since Oct. 1, while at Kraft, most of its product has gone into butter since the middle of July. These concerns are each now making about 3,500 to 4,000 pounds of butter each day.

50 YEARS AGO: 1971

Burglars made off with an unknown number of stamps and an undetermined amount of cash from Hutchinson Post Office. Postmaster Myron Fisher and area postal inspector Orval Prothe, who has his office in Hutchinson, said an estimated loss had not been made yet. Using a torch, the burglars cut a 2-foot square hole in the lower portion of the post office’s vault, working around the automatic alarm system. Apparently wearing gas masks to work in tear gas, which was automatically released inside the vault. The burglars used the hole to enter the vault in which an inner safe was also opened by a torch.

A native Hutchinson resident, the Rev. John McRaith, has been named a co-director of the National Catholic Rural Conference. In his new position, Father McRaith will be the liaison with the American bishops and with the agencies of the U.S. Catholic Conference. He will also serve as a field director for Diocesan rural life directors and will help sponsor Rural Life Days across the nation.

25 YEARS AGO: 1996

For the first since the Singing Hutchinson Brothers founded the community named after them almost 141 years ago, Sunday liquor will be sold legally in Hutchinson. The American Legion Post 96 is the first organization to take advantage of the city’s newly amended Sunday liquor ordinance that allows the issuance of temporary Sunday licenses for special events. The City Council voted unanimously to approve the license. The Legion is hosting a fundraising omelet breakfast and would like to serve champagne with the meal, Post Commander Dr. Virgil Voigt said.

Do-it-yourselfer auto repairers living in apartments in the downtown area of Hutchinson will likely have to find a new place to work on their vehicles soon. The Hutchinson City Council took the first step toward amending a city ordinance that would ban the repair, maintenance and servicing of private vehicles in city-owned or city-managed lots. The action is being taken to address the problem of parts, oil and other auto fluids being dumped by some downtown residents using the parking lot between the State Theater and Hutch Auto Body.

People’s Platform: We listened to Mr. Kemp and Mr. Gore in a debate. My wife and I decided to channel surf to see which channel had the best reception. We think that Perot might be the guy to vote for.

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 johnson@hutchinsonleader.com.