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October 13, 2015
1920 Oakland auto
This keepsake picture is dated 1925, with the names Harris and Henrietta Ellingson handwritten on the back. The automobile is a 1920 Oakland. Oakland was an American auto manufacturer and a division of General Motors. GM purchased the company in 1909, and Oaklands were produced until 1931 when the company was absorbed into Pontiac. The writing on the photo reads … “With dad and mom, Adelaide Ellingson Shelby, Orville Ellingson, Esther Ellingson Grotegut, Tilman Ellingson and Evelyn Nelson (or Hanson).” The name of Sampson’s Photo Art Shop of Decorah is also stamped on the back of the picture.
  • Work commences on Wenthold farmhouse
    EIGHTY YEARS AGO:  Work has commenced on the farmhouse of the Wenthold Brothers, prominent Winneshiek County farmers living about three miles southwest of Decorah. Last winter, a fire destroyed their home. The brothers, Frank and Ed, have reportedly just completed the construction of a new grainery and a modern new garage. 
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  • Swimming pool bond issue passes easily
        EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Vote on a new swimming “pool” bond issue passed 800 to 319. Bond issue amount was $15,000. Most folks in this area apparently favor an artificial lake, pond or lagoon over construction of a new cement swimming pool. Local council members are seeking input regarding the issue as the swimming debate continues. 
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  • Dampness in new high school delays opening
    EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Dampness in the newly constructed and enlarged high school building, which is bounded by Vernon Street and River Street here in Decorah, delayed the opening of the school year by a week or so. Classes began here at public schools on Sept. 16, 1935. Students and parents are anxious to tour the new gymnasium on the north side of the school.  
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  •     EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Twelve new rooms are being added to the Winneshiek Hotel. Price tag for this most recent development project is estimated at $10,000. Construction will begin here soon. The Winneshiek has been crowded to capacity all of the past year with the rooms in demand during all seasons. All of the new rooms will be equipped with bathrooms and some will even have both a shower and a tub. 
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  • Hitching grounds offer good place to park cars
    EIGHTY YEARS AGO: The city hitching grounds is gradually providing a popular place for parking autos, especially on Saturday nights when parking on the city streets is at a premium. A big new floodlight has been erected at the grounds situated at the rear of the Ness Grocery Store, lighting up the entrance for those interested in parking there. 
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  • Decorah Schools begin classes on September 9
        EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Young people in the area desiring a first class high school education are encouraged to register at Decorah High School.  The school advertisement in the newspaper boasts the fact that Decorah High has football, basketball, baseball and track and intramural sports for both boys and girls. Registration is Aug. 22 and 23, and school starts here on Sept. 9, 1935. 
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  • Carlson Co. completes Hwy 51 paving project
    EIGHTY YEARS AGO:  The Fred Carlson Company of Decorah has completed the paving of Highway 51 north of Postville. Now the company has brought in a big crane to Decorah to start work on grading in the vicinity of the new West Decorah Bridge east of Fifth Avenue near the river dike. 
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  • Home Ice Cream Factory opens here
    EIGHTY YEARS AGO: The Home Ice Cream Factory has opened here in town. J.C. McArthur is proprietor. He says super ice cream will be manufactured for retail trade only, and ay reasonable prices. An expert ice cream man has been put in charge. The business is located at 301 W. Water Street on the corner west of the Grand Theatre in the downtown area. 
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  • Men will raise frogs here commercially
    EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Ernie Bergman and Leonard Goltz have announced   plans to raise frogs commercially in Decorah. They have informed the newspaper that they have a couple of suitable ponds spotted for their enterprise. 
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  • Using gambling devices is now against the law
        EIGHTY YEARS AGO: After Saturday, June 22, 1935, locals will no longer be able to pull back the spring lever and try their luck with marble machines, dice, punch boards or any other gambling device whatsoever – without violating the law. All owners and operators of such devices are notified and must remove them prior to June 22, 1935. Most locals agree … that this is good news indeed for our community. 
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  • Decorah High School leads the entire state

     EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Decorah High School is leading the entire state of Iowa by winning first place in the “Every Pupil Academic Test” in Class A schools. This is the highest record ever attained by Decorah High.

    …FRONT PAGE NEWS: The three drinking fountains in the business district of Decorah, which are situated in front of the Ben Bear Company, at the Decorah Library and in front of the Band Box Millinery, were opened for the 1955 season.

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  • Pistol plowed up at Luther College farm

         EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Interesting goings-on up at the college. A pistol has been plowed up on the Luther College farm. The pistol, which may be over 100 years old, will be added to a large collection at the Norwegian-American Historical Museum at Luther. It is a cap pistol.

    …The annual church dinner over at St. John’s in Fort Atkinson was last Sunday. Price for the delicious meal was 35 cents per person.

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  • New firemen chosen for city of Decorah
        EIGHTY YEARS AGO: New firemen have been chosen for the city. The young men named to the fire department are: Sam Usgaard, Pete Usgaard, Lester Grant, Sidney Ruth, Bob Bernatz, Don Flickinger, Lloyd Heyer, Don Stoddard, Carl Selland, Alton Nelson, Roy Berg, Ernest Martinson and Melford Teslow. 
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  • Brick work on new high school building begins
        EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Brick laying on Decorah’s new, attractive high school building has begun. Contractors are the James Leck Company of Minneapolis. The building should be completed by Sept. 1. Of special note -- local labor is being used almost exclusively. 
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  • New ordinance eliminates 14 volunteer fire fighters
        EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Fourteen members are eliminated from active membership in the Decorah Volunteer Fire Department due to a new ordinance stating compulsory retirement of members when they reach a ripe old age … that being their 56th birthday … or if they are physically unable to carry on as active firefighters for the city of Decorah. 
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