The Decorah Newspapers
September 21, 2020
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Old St. Cloud Hotel
This vintage picture of downtown Decorah (Winnebago Street) shows a large crowd gathered in front of the St. Cloud Hotel (once called the Otis Building). The St. Cloud had a long history. Back in 1862 Luther College students occupied the St. Cloud (for three years until students were moved to campus housing). The St. Cloud Hotel later became one of the leading hotels in the area. There is no information on this photo regarding the celebration taking place. (From Decorah Newspapers archives)
  • The city's mill has been overhauled
    ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO: This city’s mill known to many as the Tavenir Mill on the West Side has been overhauled, remodeled and is now in first class shape to do your flour and feed grinding. New machinery has been installed too. We have a first-class miller and guarantee to grind your flour and feed in a first-class manner, whether one sack or a hundred. Signed, J.H. Rosendahl, Proprietor. 
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  • 
Rumors flying of Norway's Princess moving here

    EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Rumors are flying around town that Norway’s Crown Princess Martha and her three children may take up temporary residence in Decorah. They have been guests of President and Mrs. Roosevelt for several days. Decorah is reported to have been the small American city which most impressed the Norwegian royal couple when they toured America a year ago. Could they possibly return to Iowa? The home of the crown princess and princess has now been taken over by the German war lords under Hitler. The Crown Princess and children are currently refugees without her husband.

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  • Plans call for a new ladies building at fairgrounds

    EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Tentative plans call for the construction of a community and 4-H girl’s and women’s building for the Decorah fairgrounds. Members of the fair board are debating the project. 

    ...Grant Woldum of Decorah is now employed by the Shaw Aircraft Company from over at Iowa City as an instructor and commercial pilot. 

    SEVENTY YEARS AGO: Shop Davies Food Market for these July 4 bargains! Ready- to-eat chicken, $1.85; pork and beans, two tins for 35 cents; six bottles of Coca- Cola, 25 cents; butter, 62 cents; a beef roast, 57 cents per pound; and a quart jar of olives, 53 cents. 


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  • VFW purchases clothes for 200 needy children

        EIGHTY YEARS AGO: When an organization such as the V.F.W. is able to purchase warm clothing for 200 needy Winneshiek County children, it is doing a real service for this community. The local members of the VFW deserve a resounding thanks and congratulations from everyone in town for this most recent effort.

    …Three one-act plays are in rehearsals at the high school. “Of All Things” stars Clifford Ellingson, Raymond Usgaard, Roy Fitch, Bette Dirks, Allan Moe, Ethel Barth, Irene Finberg and Joyce Thompson. Prompter is Kenneth Uglum.

    …Diane Desing, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Desing of Decorah, had her tonsils and adenoids removed at the hospital last week.

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  • Man stabbed on Christmas Eve after drunken brawl

         EIGHTY YEARS AGO: On Christmas Eve, less than a day after he was married in Decorah, a visiting man was stabbed following an alleged drinking brawl. He is now recovering from the wound in a La Crosse hospital. According to local authorities, two Indians were married by Justice of the Peace Barthell here in town. Enroute home to Wisconsin after their marriage, the newlyweds engaged in some fire-water. They even drank the rubbing alcohol they got at a local store near Caledonia. A brawl broke out and the stabbing occurred after the man was reported to have abused his new bride. Investigation continues.

    …Mike Barth will have an auction of his farm nine miles north of Decorah on Jan. 15. He plans to move to a fine new home in West Decorah.

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  • Decorah all decorated for Santa’s big visit

        EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Santa is coming to Decorah in mid-December and the city is dressed in gala attire as merchants join in for a hearty welcome. There will be free movies for the kiddies and much more during the scheduled arrival of the jolly gent.

    …Harlan Stee of Castalia, who is employed by the county highway department, and Frank Jones, who lives about half way between Decorah and Ossian on the gravel highway, had a rare and exciting experience of capturing a bald eagle the other morning. Stee was on his way to Decorah when he saw the eagle feasting on a chicken near the Ode farm. He drove his car to within 50 feet of the eagle. They captured the eagle and brought it to the Public Opinion office, where it was photographed by Bob Stoddard. The bird was then turned over to Dr. J. P. Schneberger of Ossian, who will care for it. The eagle had a wing span of seven feet.

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  • Tin Can Derby draws large crowd to fairgrounds
        EIGHTY YEARS AGO: The Tin Can Derby at the fairgrounds drew a large crowd. The first “casualty” occurred in the first half-mile when G.H. Holseth’s car crashed through the high board fence at the east end of the grounds, landing on the Rock Island railroad tracks. Holseth escaped injury, but was compelled to quit the race due to a smashed radiator. Norbert Baltes of New Hampton won the 75-mile race in two hours and one minute. He never stopped at the pit for oil or gas, but shot his 1924 Model T around the track at a dizzy pace. He finished with a broken oil line, with oil squirting out, but he kept the car going nevertheless, winning the whopping $75 cash prize.
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  • Winners announced in best feet contest

      EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Big news from back in 1939. Miss Betty Jean Berg won first place for the girls and Dean Yarwood earned first place for the boys in the best feet contest sponsored by Ray’s Foot Comfort shop. Both were presented with new pairs of shoes. Hundreds of children had their feet tested during the recent contest here in town.

    …Milo Harvey hopes to organize a model airplane contest in early October for boys and girls in this vicinity. Stop by his radio shop if interested.

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  • Country schoolhouse boasts inside toilet
       EIGHTY YEARS AGO: The dedication of the new schoolhouse in Hesper District 3 was held Sept. 3, 1939. In addition to the families in the district, there were a number of others in attendance, including the oldest former pupil – Mrs. Ed Watts. Charles Altfillisch of Decorah and Harold Tank of Lawler were the consultants for the structure.  This is a small rural school district and there are now only seven pupils of the school: Jeanette Wilbur and Elder Bentley, students in the seventh grade; Max Stoskopf and Damon Morrison, sixth grade; Juanita Warn, third grade; and Ronald Wilbur and Johann Schimming, first grade. The new building boasts a full basement (providing excellent playrooms for the children during inclement weather) … and the most modern of INSIDE TOILETS. The interior is very nicely decorated.
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  • Paving urged on busy Locust Road

        EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Paving is being urged on the Locust Road, which has the heaviest traffic of any road in all of Winneshiek County. Carrying more than 1,000 vehicles a day, this road just cannot stand up unless it is paved. This was surely the resounding sentiment of the men “in the know” during a meeting at the courthouse last week. Debate continues.

    …Among the extensive reconditioning work done on the Luther Campus this past summer, is refinishing of the gymnasium floor at the C.K. Preus gym. The dirt floor in the basement, which is used for early spring baseball practice, also is being reconditioned. Work also is being done to the tennis courts in a fine, first-class manner.

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  • Farmers treat area businessmen to banquet
    EIGHTY YEARS AGO: A wonderful banquet tendered by Winneshiek County farmers to businessmen of Decorah and other towns was conducted at the Decorah Lutheran Church the other night. The group presented a picture of progression and friendliness that has not been witnessed in a long time. Some 200 or more attended. It was the first party of its kind ever held here, and it was indeed a wonderful sight when the farmers invited the business folks to break bread with them. The idea was highly received, judging from the wonderful response.
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  • Car thieves are hard at work in this vicinity

        EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Daytime and nighttime car thieves are hard at work here in this vicinity. Two cars have been reported stolen and a third automobile was looted of all its groceries. One car went missing while parked right in front of the Hines Café and it was found the next day near the Blount School House on Highway 52.

    …Hundreds turned out for the 85th birthday of the Congregational Church here in Decorah.

    …Les Forde, a star Luther College ball player, has earned himself a coaching job in Spring Grove, Minn.

    …Leo Tollefson, Glenwood Township farmer who works the T.M. Kirkeby farm, is jubilant over his corn progress this year, and he has reason to be. His corn is six-foot and six inches high in early July.

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  • Lost coin purse is found and returned
    EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Mrs. William Dickman recently lost a coin purse with several dollars inside. It was found by Burt Henning, oil station proprietor, who brought a description of the purse and its contents into the newspaper office. He took out a want-ad which ran in the paper, and upon seeing it in the paper Mrs. Dickman learned the name of the finder, identified the purse and paid Mr. Henning a reward. Also, she paid for the Journal want-ad. She was fortunate in that the purse was found by an honest person who went out of his way to advertise his finding in the local newspaper.
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  • President Roosevelt sends communication to this area

    EIGHTY YEARS AGO: President Roosevelt has sent an important communication to this area in nominating Julius Chekal for reappointment as Postmaster at Fort Atkinson.

    …Checking corn for the purpose of parity payments will be started soon in this area, it was decided at a meeting of the County AAA committee with three farm reporters from each township. These payments will average $60 or more to the average farm.

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  • There are 99 graduates of Decorah High School

    EIGHTY YEARS AGO: There are 99 graduates at Decorah High School in the class of 1939. There are 54 girls and 45 boys.

    …Children should be playing as much as possible outside these warm days to get their Vitamin D – that is a message from the state department of health this week. Dr. Hayek issued a warming, however, that the children should not be playing in the streets. “Let them have the sunlight, but not in public roadways,” he said in a talk to the local health professionals.

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