The Decorah Nespapers
December 7, 2019
The “Swinging Bridge”
This old photo shows the historic “swinging bridge” across the Upper Iowa River which was once an attraction near the road leading to Ice Cave across from Dunning's Spring. Marietta (Moe) Dennstedt submitted the picture of the bridge. Read Echoes of the Past in the Decorah Journal.
  • 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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  • EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Although it passed the House by a considerable majority and has much merit, the bill proposing to review the present laws regulating the sale of beer may find opposition in the Senate. The bill proposes to eliminate the Class C permit, abolishing the sale of beer by grocery stores and others for consumption off the premises. It also sets up more stringent regulations for beer taverns operating under Class B permits and limits the number of said establishments in a given community. Locals are following this bill very, very closely.

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  • Ossian girls headed to state hoops tourney
         EIGHTY YEARS AGO: The Ossian High School girls’ basketball team won the right to represent Northeast Iowa in the State Girls’ classic March 9-11 in Des Moines. The people of Ossian are showing their true colors and support their team 100 percent with their continued presence and cheering. Ossian won a big game over Delhi in a thriller – final score 39 to 37, and then the team won a super thriller over Waterville in the very next game. Final score for the game vs. Waterville was 39-37. Then Ossian clinched the tourney with a 53-46 win over Stanley in an almost unbelievable exhibition of fine basketball.  
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  • Ice skating races on for next weekend

        EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Ice skating races sponsored by the Decorah Junior Chamber of Commerce will be held next weekend, weather permitting. Fancy skating for boys and girls ages 12 to 17 will be combined with fancy skating for those over the age of 17. Around-the-rink races will be conducted in various categories.  Miss Phyllis Dahle and Mr. W.E. Scott have offered to give a demonstration of their fancy skating prior to the event. A “sound truck” will be parked to broadcast music during the program.

    …A father and son who have been living around the Highlandville area since October have been picked up for being grifters in the Fayette and Winneshiek county area.

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  • Eggs at Ness Grocery are 17 cents a dozen

      EIGHTY YEARS AGO: FRONT PAGE NEWS from 1939 – Eggs at the Ness Grocery are now 17 cents a dozen – not 19 cents per dozen as was previously announced in the paper.

    …Chester Ruffridge, formerly of Locust, was badly cut about his hands the other night when he broke down a glass door to rescue his sister and two children and a friend from the second story of his flaming pool hall in Caledonia. Leaking gasoline from the stove caused the blaze.

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  • Discarded Christmas trees used in bonfire

       EIGHTY YEARS AGO: All the discarded Christmas trees from the area will make a big bonfire over at the Skating Rink this weekend. The numbers of trees brought down to the rink will decide on the size of the fire.

    …FRONT PAGE NEWS from 1939: A woman resident of the south part of Decorah was arrested by Night Watchman Herman Tavener at two o’clock the other morning. She pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly. She is nearly 35 years old and reportedly has some marital difficulties. In view of the fact that she has two children, a boy of age 7 and a girl of age 3, her sentence was reduced to $25 in fines and a suspended 30-day jail sentence.

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  • Area folks enjoying holiday decorations

    EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Folks in this area are sure enjoying the new arches of evergreen with lamps in the center which have been put up on several local street corners as the decorating of the Decorah business district reaches completion. Lights will be turned on this weekend to add a real yuletide spirit to the displays.

    …Iowa farmers who have kept within their corn acreage allotments will be able to obtain a 57-cent corn loan upon their 1938 corn crop early this month. Local farmers are urged to take full advantage of the corn loan offering. With these corn loans available at 57 cents a bushel, farmers can buy back their corn and feed requirements at around 30 cents a bushel.

    …Last week, a big group of farmers from several area townships met over at Nordness and took steps to organizing a cooperative under the REA. 

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