Minnesota Memoirs: 1849 to 1949

This gem appeared in “Minnesota Memoirs: 1849 to 1949.” The booklet was published as part of Minnesota’s centennial celebration. It featured interesting facts and events gleaned from Minnesota history.

125 YEARS AGO: 1893

There will be a Hard Times Sociable at the home of B.B. Bissell Nov. 21 under the auspices of the Ladies Aid Society. Appropriate refreshments will be served for which a “hard times” fee of 14 cents will be charged. A fine of nine cents will be imposed on all people appearing in full evening dress.

The number of young women who are qualifying themselves as physicians is rapidly increasing and we are pleased to know that Hutchinson adds one to the list in the person of Miss Mary Pendergast, who is taking the medical course at the state university.

Having finished up his crop of rocked-the-boats and didn’t-know-it-was-loadeds, the coroner now indulges in a brief season of well-earned repose pending the opening of thin ice season.

M. Zola, the celebrated French novelist, thinks that bicycle riding clears the brain and blood, and is an aid to mental relaxation to those who are overworked. He thinks that one cannot do too much thinking while riding a bicycle and is therefore especially useful to over-studious brains that will not stop thinking.

100 YEARS AGO: 1918

Yesterday noon, Nov. 11, the Associated Press by wire and phone scattered broadcast over the country of the glorious news that Germany had surrendered, signed the peace notes and would lay down her arms at 2 o’clock. At the receipt of the news, Hutchinson broke loose — blew its lid off — went into the wildest expressions of delight. The school pupils started the celebration and school was adjourned for the day. Jake Jacobson climbed on a building and fired a gun until the stock broke. Joe Eheim and Sam Anderson ran out old Dewey, the city cannon, and kept her booming until all the powder in Hutchinson was gone. The bells rang, the whistles blew and the fire department ran out all the apparatus with the alarm bells ringing and raced through town announcing the news.

75 YEARS AGO: 1943

The heaviest early November snowfall in history isolated Hutchinson from the rest of the world for three days and caused considerable hardship to farmers in this vicinity. There was no mail service into or out of the city and no telephone and telegraph service for an even longer period. The snow covered the complete hemp crop, over 3,000 acres, none of which had been tied because retting was far behind due to weather conditions after the crop was out. The hemp crop was valued at $200,000 to growers. The Great Northern train left Minneapolis at 7:45 a.m. and got here just 12 hours later. Conductor Berry described it as “the worst snow conditions” he had ever seen on the road.

The general consensus was more snow fell than during the Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940. However there was less wind and cold, so conditions did not seem as severe. Total snow fall was recorded by the police department as 15 inches.

50 YEARS AGO: 1968

Voters in McLeod County gave the edge to Richard Nixon, strongly supported most other Republican candidates and decided one office by two votes. The presidential election drew a record 12,227 voters to the polls, compared with 11,754 set in the election year of 1960. In Hutchinson, the total vote was 3,283.

The cliffhanger two-vote win of John Bernhagen over Joe Gehlen for House of Representatives is now official with a recount likely. The McLeod County canvassing board met and found no change in the unofficial results, which had Bernhagen defeating Gehlen by 5,688 to 5,686.

25 YEARS AGO: 1993

Old Man Winter gave Minnesotans a wake-up call late Nov. 4. What started as flurries in Hutchinson turned into heavy, wet snow. Hutchinson snow plows and sand trucks hit the streets for the first time this season at about 3:30 a.m. Nov. 5, according to Doug Meier, Hutchinson maintenance operations supervisor. “It got everybody in the mood,” he said. The Hutchinson area saw just an inch of precipitation compared to other areas, which received more. Meier said wind, falling temperatures and early morning road traffic combined to make street cleaning more difficult and icy roads more common.

The McLeod County Long-Range Planning Committee voted unanimously to recommend to the Board of Commissioners that efforts be continued to establish a joint highway shop in the Hutchinson area.

When McLeod County residents finally get an Enhanced 911 (E-911) emergency telephone system sometime early next year, it will be offered through Hutchinson Telephone Co. The family-owned Hutchinson business was selected over communications heavyweight US West for a seven-year lease on a 3-2 vote by the McLeod County Board of Commissioners.

Looking Back is a weekly column by Kay Johnson, Leader staff writer, 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.

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