By Roz Weis
By Roz Weis

    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. 

…Bob Knowlton, left tackle on the DHS football team, has been chosen as a member of the all-state high school team. This is the first time a Decorah boy has earned the high-coveted athletic honor.

…Decorah Greenhouse has beautiful holiday bouquets. Time is running out. A dozen roses for $2 or assorted flowers for $1.25.


EVENTY YEARS AGO: The Varner Well Company of Dubuque is set to begin drilling a new well for the Decorah City water system at the north pumping station last week. The new well will probably produce from 500 to 1,000 gallons a minute.

…Men are needed for jobs at the Wilson & Company Plant headquartered in Cedar Rapids. Earn upwards of $1.15 per hour.

…An ice skating rink is being made just across the West Decorah Bridge on the south side of Fifth Avenue. A heated shelter will be provided for all skaters.

…Walt Disney’s “Bambi” is now showing at the Lyric Theatre in Decorah.

…A new law requires schools be in session 180 days out of the calendar year. In the past, the highest number of days in the school year was 174. This ruling has shortened the Christmas vacation for local youngsters.


IXTY YEARS AGO: The Rev. Palmer Russeth is the new pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church over in West Decorah.

…The Fifth Avenue Wayside Park is now to be known as “Carl Selland Wayside Park.” The park had been a favorite project of the late Carl Selland, who was the Decorah City Water Superintendent for 35 years.

…The DHS senior class play is titled “The Night of January 16th.” The play stars Carol Hoeg, Norman Leistikow, Karleen Strand and George Duder.

…A recent issue of “Together,” The Methodist magazine for families, features the altarpiece at the Norwegian American Museum.

…Dean Hagan is a new accountant at the local Hayes and Company firm.


IFTY YEARS AGO: Decorah High School’s ace center – Bruce Brandenburg, is out with a knee injury. He suffered the injury in the final football game of the season against Starmont. He may miss the entire basketball season.

…FOR SALE: Three-bedroom residence on West Main Street. Pricetag: $9,500.

…Winneshiek Hotel is being purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Clayton Moore. The hotel has been a part of the Boss Hotel chain for more than 30 years. The hotel now has 61 rooms, a dining room, banquet rooms, and a cocktail lounge. Also housed at the hotel are the Bandbox business and the offices of the Federal Land Bank, Decorah Chamber of Commerce and Dr. Headington’s optometrist office.


ORTY YEARS AGO: The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association has a new director – Myron Krauskopf of rural Decorah.

…The Vernon Spilde home on route 3, Decorah, has been proposed for establishment of a new restaurant. The site is owned by Luther College. Luther officials have been in contact with a private investor who is proposing construction of a 50-unit motel-restaurant on the five-acre site. The motel would be located just north of the Spilde residence. Luther’s Board of Regents will make a decision on the proposal at their February meeting.

…Phelp’s Market is closing doors after nearly 30 years in business.

…Veteran baker Don Hart of Decorah has announced plans to close his Hart’s Bakery at 309 West Water Street this week.

…Kevin Lansing of rural Decorah has been chosen the National winner in the FFA Sheep Production Proficiency Contest. He was honored at the 1978 National Convention in Kansas City.


HIRTY YEARS AGO: Returning lettermen on the South Winn boys’ basketball team this season are Joel Hageman, Steve Hoffert, Mike Johnson, Bob Hawkins.

…Snow and ice made travel treacherous early last week, with more than 50 cars towed from area ditches and roadways.

…Luther College’s Orlando “Pip” Qualley has died at the age of 91. His career at Luther College covered more than half of the school’s 128-year history. He was enrolled in the school’s prep department in 1912, and following his graduation he worked on the faculty, teaching classical languages and literature.

…From Santa’s Mailbag in 1988:

“Dear Santa, I want a B.B. gun, a flashlight, a pick up, a toy gun and a puppy. Love Paul Jevne.

“Dear Santa, I want a truck a snowsuit and some candy.” Love Evan Jevne.

“Dear Santa, I want a toy gun, a flashlight, toy cows, a toy barn, a race track and a 4-wheeler, Love Jamie Jevne.

…Obert Sacquitne has been reelected president of the Winneshiek County Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees. Karl Schroeder of Ossian will be vice president.

…Four local men have been charged in connection with a series of burglaries in the area. Some of the stolen property has been recovered.

…Sarah Lechtenberg has been selected to attend the Hugh O’Brien Leadership Seminary next spring. She is the daughter of Mrs. Duane Lechtenberg of rural Ossian.

…From Santa’s Mailbag in 1988:

“Dear Santa, I want some farm toys because I love to ride on Daddy’s big tractor. I like little cars. I am 1 year old and I try to be good, but mom says it’s pretty hard for me sometimes. I like to get up on the table and throw things downstairs. But next year I will be better. Love, Lucas Leidahl.”

“Dear Santa, I want a Daizy BB gun, I want a model car. I want an antique tractor. I will like anything you give me. Love, Josh Leidahl.”

…Following the trail of the stork: Twins, a son and a daughter, were born Dec. 10 to Rod and Michelle Lensing of Calmar. Mark and Michala are the grandchildren of Leonard and Betty Kuboushek and Stephen and Arlene Lensing. They join a one-year-old brother, Mitchell.

…The Decorah Dreamers 4-H Club met recently at the home of Melissa Wolfe. After the meeting, the girls went to the Elk’s Club to see the Festival of Christmas presented by the hospital foundation.

…Homecoming at North Winneshiek is planned the weekend of Jan. 9-13. King candidates are Jerry Gossman and Jarad Carolan. Queen candidates are Corinna Christopher and Dana Schmelzer.


WENTY YEARS AGO: Playing for the 1998-99 South Winn girls basketball team this season are DeAnna Hageman, Kim Koshatka, Tara Timp, Jill Humpal, Lindsay Lutkenhaus, Kristin Schmitt, April Elsbernd, and Andrea Meyer. Coaches are Mary McEnaney and Jason Pittmann.

…RC 10 Racquet and Health Club now offers a series of kickboxing classes for interested exercise enthusiasts.

…Can you guess how many crushed aluminum cans are stored in a cube from Spectrum Industries? The Decorah High School Science Club is sponsoring a “guessing contest” in an effort to raise funds for the club and increase public recycling awareness.

…Decorah’s history is described as a colorful painting in the sesquicentennial commemorative brochure. Local artist Doug Eckheart has been commissioned by the Sesquicentennial Commission to create a painting depicting Decorah’s rich history.

…Decorah Firefighter Gary Svenson is retiring from the department after 33 years.

…“From Santa’s Mailbag in 1998:

“Dear Santa, I want candy, I also want some pretty clothes. Kelly Rue, age 3”

“Dear Santa, I want a firetruck and a shirt with a fire truck on it. I also want some trucks. Travue Rue, age 5”

…Returning letter winners on the Decorah High School basketball team this season are Ben Fisher, Troy Batzler, Shane Butler, Josh Jevne and Ryan Nelson.

…From Santa’s Mailbag in 1998:

“Dear Santa Claus, May I please have a sleigh? I love you! I Love you. That’s it. I’ve been good. Drew Schwartz, age 4, Decorah.”

… “Dear Santa Claus, I would like these tings Please: Wet Set Clay, Tweety and Sylvester things big and small, I would like the movie the Parent Trap, lots of Spice girl things and Spice gril tickets, a dresser for my doll clothes and thinsg, Bitty baby things, How is MRs. Claus doing? One of sleigh bells off Rudolph, a game any game, a real puppy a yorky, some Beanie Babys, a microphone that wroks, a spice gril Bean bag chair. From Rylee Rollins, Decorah. Call me at ….”

… “Dear Santa, How Are You? I have been pretty good girl this year. For Christmas I would like some pound puppies please. Also an airchair would be nice, and possibly a lava lamp. I am very excited for you to come. Thank You, Love Ashton. P.S. My sister, Morgan, would like the pound puppies also, and a fishing around game, She also would like a “kelly” car to play with. She was a pretty good girl this year also.” 


EN YEARS AGO: Jim Fritz of the DHS Band Department would like to thank the Decorah Community for an incredible show of school spirit at Saturday’s championship play-off game. On the drive to the UNI-Dome, the Band Department’s van suddenly died on the side of the road south of New Hampton. The band bus was in the lead and didn’t see this occur. While band director Matt Cody and Luther student teacher Ted Schacherer labored fruitlessly to re-start the van, several Vikings fans traveling to the game stopped to offer assistance.  When it became obvious that the van wasn’t going anywhere soon, volunteers started loading band instruments into their own cars and vans. There was additional assistance given to help get the instruments back home again as well. In the end, the DHS pep band was still able to play and cheer on the team, thanks to these great Viking fans. This is just another fine example why Decorah is such a great place to live.

…Decorah Chamber of Commerce is offering the Great $10,000 Holiday Giveaway sponsored by Decorah Bank and Trust. A Christmas Eve drawing for one of twenty $500 Chamber Dollars certificates. The promotion runs through Dec. 23.

…Upstart Crow will present “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” this weekend at Vesterheim’s Bethania Church on Mill Street.

…The Decorah girls’ basketball squad throttled Postville in a lopsided game the other night. Final score 70-29.

…Grant Cuvelier was named “Turkey of the Year” by Des Moines Register columnist Chuck Offenburger. This is the 29th award he has bestowed upon a student at Turkey Valley High School.

…Dan and Kevin Sand, Decorah brothers, are restoring a Victorian home at 409 Center Avenue in Decorah. The previous homeowner was John Van Peenen.