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Early 1920s paper carriers gather outside a former Daily Herald building. Photo provided

Herald hits the presses First Herald printed on Nov. 9, 1891 Austin Daily Herald The Austin Daily Herald published its first issue Nov. 9, 1891, at what is now Main Street and Fourth Avenue North Northeast. With strong suppor t from advertisers —  among them Geo. A. Hormel & Co., which uses the same date to commemorate its birth — the Herald published a four-page daily from a corner room of a store on Austin’s Main Street. Owner and publisher A.B. Hunkins’ Herald was driven by national and some international news, and what the Herald’s

100 anniversary editions called “a smattering of local items, mostly the ‘who visits who’ type of news.” John F. Cook became the first paid subscriber to the Herald, which was the city’s first daily newspaper. The Austin Register ran weekly beginning in 1863, daily in 1890. The Austin Democrat was published in 1868 by Milo Lacy and Isaiah Wood, but the publication died three years later. The Democrats found a new news source in 1881 when Hunkins co-founded the Mower County Democrat; it competed with the Republican-leaning Register and the Austin Transcript. The Democrat would become the Austin Weekly Herald in 1898, and it died in 1918 as the Daily Herald increased circulation. The publication showed a

Celebrating a milestone The Austin Daily Herald is celebrating 125 years and looking forward to many more. On Nov. 9, 1891, the first editions of the Herald printed, and we’ve since covered countless stories: 32 presidential elections, murders, scandals, natural disasters, sports triumphs and heartbreaks, births, deaths and countless more. Through it all, we’ve been dedicated to being a source of information for the community and a voice for Austin and Mower County residents, and we’re excited to continue such traditions for many, many years to come. To mark the Herald’s birthday, we’re sharing a slice of our archives in this section. We’ve selected many stories from past editions and and the Herald’s Collector’s Editions celebrating Austin’s 150th anniversary, published in 2006, to share some of the stories from Austin’s history. We wish to thank the many residents, advertisers, subscribers and employees who’ve contributed success of the Austin Daily Herald over 125 years. Happy 125th birthday, Austin Daily Herald.

Austin meatpacking tradition begins Austin Daily Herald The humble be ginnings of the Hor mel Foods Corporation, are with the founder, George Hor mel, who was bor n in Buffalo, New York, in 1860, the son of German immigrants. Soon after his birth his family relocated to Toledo, Ohio. As a youth, Hormel worked in his father’s tannery before heading to Kansas City to seek his fortune. There he worked as a traveling wool buyer. He did not find the fortune he was seeking, so he moved to Chicago. Wi t h o n l y a s l i g h t change of direction, Hormel became a hide buyer. But a vacation in 1887 changed his life. That year, while visiting friends in Austin, Minn., he learned of a butcher shop that had closed after a fire. Hormel borrowed $500 from his boss and reopened the shop with business partner Albrect Friedrich.

The original Hormel plant, located beside the Red Cedar River in Austin. George A Hormel purchased the building and expanded it as his Austin business grew. Photo provided In 1891 the pair dissolved their partnership. Hormel started his full meat packing operation in an old creamery building on the Red Cedar River. So successful was he in the business that he expanded the company and called it the George A. Hormel and Company meat packing business. By 1893 he controlled most of the meat business in the area. That same year, he was joined in business by brothers Her-

man and John Hormel. The turn-of-the-century innovation of improved refrigerator cars allowed Hormel to expand outside the area, and the addition of an ice storage facility at the Hormel plant in 1899 allowed the company to process more meat. The company opened a branch sales office in Minneapolis in 1901 and later in Duluth and St. Paul.

See HORMEL, Page 3A

commitment to news across the county when a year after inception, the Herald started running Spring Valley and LeRoy pages. Two years later, more county news came in the form of Rose Creek Ripples, Lansing Locals, East Side Echoes and Brownsdale Briefings. The Albert Lea Tribune first published Oct. 18, 1897. In 1903, the cost of an annual Herald subscription went up from $4 to $5. In September 1903, the Herald began a “Pot Pourri” column, which John H. Skinner wrote for some 50 years, and ran on and off through the 1970s with other writers’ bylines. Weather forecasts came to the paper in 1895. Today’s Herald has club notes, the moder n day “who visits who,” but the newspaper showed early

on that it wasn’t afraid to pursue the tough story. Witness these hard-hitters:


The Herald reported in September 1896 that chickens were being hunted in the area. A year later, a 10-mile long swarm of dragon flies passed 90 feet over the city for 20 to 25 minutes. Newspapers have long served as a cheap fishwrap, but in 1894, the Herald encouraged folks to buy old issues to use as padding under their rugs.


In October 1892, the Austin Mercantile Co. offered its merchandise in exchange for butter, eggs and cheese.


Schools built at turn of century Austin Daily Herald One hundred fifty-one years ago the first public school was organized in Austin — a year before Austin was platted. Held in a lo g house where Four th Avenue Northeast is, according to “Mill on the Willow,” a 1984 publication of the Mower County Historical Society, the children were taught by Miss Maria Vaughn. The next winter the school building was upgraded to a framed buildi n g a n d l o c at e d n e a r First Street NE. By 1856 the very first permanent school was built. While the Civil War interrupted the on-goings at the school, Austin built the very first real school building in 1865 costing $2,750. During the Civil War families in Austin sent their children either to private or church schools conducted by clergy. With ever increasing enrollment at the school, there wasn’t enough room at the “old headquarters.” Another school building

Sumner School, built in 1895. Photo provided

was erected in 1869 and the school was divided into departments. The city also employed the first superintendent that same year. The year 1877 saw its first graduating class in Austin, a year before the building of the first high school. Many schools have been built in Austin through the years to keep up with the ever increasing enrollment. The Washington School was built in 1907. Woodson School in 1888. Lincoln School in 1887. Webster School in 1891. Sumner School in 1894. Whittier School in 1893. Shaw School in 1916. Austin High School in 1921. Central Grade School in 1940. Neveln School in 1951.

Banfield School in 1953. Southgate School in 1958. Some were additions, s o m e we r e o n e - r o o m school houses turned into four or more roomed school houses. Some of the schools were large and had multiple floors. Some started in sections of town in churches and later evolved into a new brick school. Some remodeled later to accommodate even more students. The largest school building construction would be the Austin High School. Far from the log house, the million-plus dollar school was built. When built, it was said to be the largest high school building in this section of the country. A publication by the Austin Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1935 wrote, “With the school history of which few cities anywhere can boast, Austin naturally can be expected to have the best both of traditional and of the progressive school curriculum.

See SCHOOLS, Page 3A

A special supplement to the AUSTIN DAILY HERALD

Celebrating 125 Years



Beginning: Worker shortages, Austin goes dry From Page 1A Employers couldn’ t find enough male laborers in October 1905. Shoe buyers had Austin’s Davis, Schwans and Red Front to choose from in 1896; another, Pitzen’s, came along in 1900. With fewer than 7,000 residents, the number of “well-regulated” saloons

operating in 1897 Austin was 21. The city voted in March of 1898 to go dry; it didn’t go well, judging by the arrests of eight people for illegal booze sales in a 1899 Anti-Saloon League raid; the voters changed their minds about prohibition in 1900.


Austin suffered from a

mild rash of diphtheria in October 1896. Among the more popular illnesses in 1901 were dropsy, consumption, catarhh, dyspepsia, scrofula, grippe, croupe, exzema and salt rheum.


An 18-year-old Austin man was fined $25 in October 1897 for kissing a 14-year-old girl. A 1903 Her-

Did you know?

ald provided daily coverage of his serA preacher gave the Austin Daily mons. Those issues were sent to every Herald its foothold in Mower County post office box in the county and states communities. In 1906 evangelist Billy across the country, giving the paper its Sunday came to Austin, and the Her- biggest circulation boost. ald advertisement sought “two good girls at Grand Hotel.” The Anti-Horse Thief League of Mower County reaffirmed the bounty for

Through the Years

steam power, as electricity was not available. When the presses ran, the entire building trembled.

Austin Daily Herald

1941: The Herald reviewed its progress on its 50th anniversary with a special “Golden Anniversary” edition, which included a reprint of a letter of congratulations from President Franklin Roosevelt as well as University of Minnesota School of Journalism Director Ralph Casey.

Even an organization dedicated to recording the events around it has a few newsworthy happenings along the way. Below are a few entries from the Austin Daily Herald’s own history book. 1891: On Nov. 9, the Herald prints its first issue as a weekly under the direction of A.B. Hunkins. The paper is published on the second floor of a building at Fourth Avenue and Main Street. Austin had a population of 6,000 at that time, and a total of three weeklies plus one daily newspaper. Herald carriers made $160 a year. 1893-1900: The Herald office shares space with the Mower County Democrat in a building on North Main Street only five feet from the edge of the Cedar River. The machinery at the building was operated by

1948: Geraldine Rasmussen acquires the original Marigold Dairy building and turns it into the Herald’s pressroom. 1962: Thomsom Newspapers Inc. purchases the Herald. Early 1969: A fire destroys the Herald’s pressroom, which stood across the street from the Herald offices on “Herald Square,” the intersections of First Drive and First Street NW. Lacking a press in Austin, the Herald prints in Albert Lea.

Hormel: Better wages led to growth From Page 1A The business was successful enough to allow Hormel’s father and three brothers to join him. Hormel’s reputation for treating employees fairly and through better wages and hours allowed the business to become a nationwide success. In 1903, the company remodeled and expanded the Austin plant, incl u d i n g a t h re e - s t o r y hog kill, two-story beef kill, an engine room, annex, machine shop and more. Later a five-story curing building was added. Also in 1903, Hor mel registered the name “Dairy Brand” with the U.S. Patent Office, according to the Historical Society publication “Mill on the Willow.” An Austin Daily Herald article at the time said “the pig from which

Jay and George Hormel. Photo provided

this brand of product is made is found only in the dairy districts of southern Minnesota. It is fed on skimmed milk from the creameries, and corn. This kind of diet produces a rich, lean ham and bacon.” In 1905 Hormel began its

export business, spurred by a visit by George Hormel to England. Following World War I, his son Jay Catherwood Hormel, who was born in 1892, came on board as well. In 1927 he relinquished control of the firm to his son, Jay, under whose leadership the company’s product line expanded to include canned ham, beef stew, and in 1937, everyone’s favorite mystery meat, “SPAM” was born. The company remains a staple of the Austin economy today, and the Hormel Institute, affiliated with the University of Minnesota, studies the connections between heart disease and oils and fats. The company is now a multinational manufacturer and marketer of consumer-branded food and meat products, many of which are

among the best known and trusted in the food industry. The company leverages its extensive expertise, innovation and high competencies in pork and turkey processing and marketing to bring quality, value-added brands to the global marketplace. For each of the past five years, Hormel Foods was named one of “The 400 Best Big Companies in America” by Forbes magazine. The company enjoys a strong reputation among consumers, retail grocers, food service and industrial customers for products highly regarded for quality, taste, nutrition, convenience and value. Much of the information in this article cam from the Hormel Company’s history, posted on its website at www.hormel. com.

horse thieves in 1897.


The Austin Ar mory held indoor baseball in

February 1897 for Company H. Among the events of the 1903 Fourth of July celebration was a fat man’s race.

1971: On Oct. 2, the Herald begins the move from the old to the new. Dozens of workmen and Herald staffers load up the desks and typewriters of the old office on First Drive Northwest and move them to the Herald’s present home on Third Avenue Northeast. 1976: On March, 30, the Herald switched from letter press to offset printing, which improved the quality of photos in the paper. Pictures became clearer, sharper and showed a higher contrast. 1984: On Feb. 5, the Herald prints its first Sunday edition under the masthead “Austin Sunday Herald.” 1991: The Herald celebrates 100 years in print. 2013: Austin Daily Herald launches Austin Living magazine 2016: The Austin Daily Herald celebrates 125 years.

Schools: District 492 created in ’57 From Page 1A But as the magnificent home of the million dollar high school utterly transcends the old log school of 1855, or even the “old headquarters,” so should the curriculum of the schools of today go far beyond the past, keep fully abreast of the present, and even dare to pioneer into the future.” In 1957 District 492 was created. Population in the Austin schools began decreasing and several schools were forced to close, including Lincoln and Whittier, or later sold.

But Austin school wasn’t only around the three R’s early on. Attending school meant a social calendar. Athletics were established early on in Austin public school. The first football team was organized in 1894 and baseball was i n t ro d u c e d i n t o t h e school in 1897. Both the girls and boys basketball teams started in 1902. Not included in the extra-curricular activities are school clubs, public speaking and drama clubs added later for students. The extracur ricular activities had grown to about 10 by 1930.


Austin Daily Herald


A special supplement to the AUSTIN DAILY HERALD

1901 to 1910

Austin paves the way for autos Austin Daily Herald In October 1908, Henry Ford began offering the Model T for $950. In the Model T’s 19 years of production, its price dipped as low as $280 and nearly 15,500,000 were sold in the United States alone. Two years earlier Austin was busy digging out from a snow storm with drifts that were “seriously interfering with travel,” according to a 1906 Austin Daily Herald article. “The country roads were badly drifted but the blockage was not as bad as that caused by the storm of a year ago. “The railroad time tables were all shattered, the trains making the best possible, getting in and out on their own time...” Austin was a booming city at the turn of the 20th Century. It is safe to call Austin a progressive city in it’s own rite despite a tornado and flood in 1908 in Austin. Population was

The first motor transport service in Austin was the Austin Motor Transfer, shown here in this undated photo. Photo provided growing, 7,182 in 1910, more schools were being built, a new post office was completed and the city’s first fire station was built in 1912, and Austin was celebrating it’s 50th birthday in 1906. In Austin, if you had something new, you had to show it off in a parade. The Hormel family did. While on July 28, 1906,

Jay Hormel lead a procession on his pony for the parade to the annual Hormel picnic, George A. Hormel’s new automobile led the Presbyterian procession to the “sociable” at the Oakland Presbyterian Church Aug. 31, 1906. While others used transportation by hayrack and bicycles, it was noted in the Austin Daily Herald that Hormel’s

automobile made all other gas buggies look “like a hand car on the railroad.” For others, transportation mostly consisted of buggy and horse. In 1915 Austin’s first motor business, nicknamed “the jitney” began. Even more exciting, the city was introduced to gas. “It seems as if we just learned to keep house,”

Hormel booms in early 1900s Austin Daily Herald The history of the Geo. A. Hormel & Company’s early years shows “potholes” along the path to success. According to historians, it began soon after the company was founded in 1891. In fact, the founder’s dream almost became a nightmare. It began in 1893, when a financial panic swept the nation. What was Geo. A’s response? He sold more and better product than his competitors. He even flaunted his

financial panic at the end of the 19th century, he responded, “It was the sausage.” When the company celebrated its centennial in 1991, archivists described the early years of the company as a time when the Austin-based meatpacker “survived through innovation.”

‘Originate; don’t imitate’ says Geo. A.

The founder, Geo. A. himself, frequently diThe Hormel plant in the 1900s. Photo provided rected his meatpacking troops to “originate; don’t product in the f ace of ful Sausage.” competitors by calling When reporters asked imitate.” it “Superior Sausage” the company founder See BOOM, Page 5A or “Hor mel’s Wonder- what got him through the

a woman told an Austin Daily Herald newspaper reporter in 1906 when the city gas was introduced. The “times-a-changing” didn’t come cheap. Austin paid $1.50 to cook with gas, compared with $1 in most towns. It was explained to citizens that the gas here was of superior quality. By the end of 1906, there were 3,000 Austin consumers of the upgrade. The Herald advised: “If you visit the gas house, do so on a cool day, because the coke fire is seven times hotter than any fire you ever saw.” Around the same time Austin got its first long distance telephone services. Records show that TriState built long distance lines from St. Paul to a number of southern Minnesota points, including Austin. The first telephones in Austin were the magento or “crank type” instruments. In 1921 Austin had dial telephone service.

The first paved street stirred quite a dispute, according to a Austin Daily Herald centennial issue. As Austin started to pull itself out of the mud, Main Street was paved in 1906. But it didn’t come easy, as neither did the pavings of streets afterwards. The problem? For weeks prior, a “battle raged over the question of using creosote paving blocks or Austin brick.” Meetings were held and news stories were written on the hot-button issue. The Progressive League held a meeting Jan. 3 of that year where the initial argument over brick or blocks was started. When the contract was formed, brick was specified for Main Street at a cost of $15,088. Part of Maple Street got brick paving, while blocks were used on Bridge , Mill and Water. The dispute even resulted in changing engineers midstream through the project.

The following story came from the Austin Daily Herald in January 1906.

Big crowds attend: The poultry show exceeds anything ever seen here Austin Daily Herald All the footsteps in the snow lead in one direction today — to the great poultry show, the biggest and best ever seen here. There are nearly 1,000 of the finest domestic birds of the state gathered at Hirsh Auditorium under the care of the Mower County Poultry Association. “This is the original chicken fancier,” said Mr. R. F. Jones, as he uncovered a cage containing a sly old fox whose chops watered as he glanced at the great rows

of rare, fat, sleek-looking toothsome chicks. Mr. Jones represents the famous Jones Farm exhibit that has been shown at all the big fairs of the country, and he has brought to Austin 200 Oriental, ornamental and game birds. He shows ten varieties of Chinese, Japanese and other pheasants, the mandarin or sacred duck of China, the rosy billed muscovy and other varieties of ducks that charm the eye.

See SHOW, Page 5A




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A special supplement to the AUSTIN DAILY HERALD

Celebrating 125 Years



Austin ‘saved’ from Satan’s temptations Austin Daily Herald I n 1 9 0 6 , Au s t i n i t e s poured out their alcohol and filled their glasses with the fire and brimstone that rained from the mouth of Billy Sunday. Fo r f ive we e k s, t h e professional baseballer turned evangelist shouted from a tabernacle at Maple and River Streets. By the time he left for the heathens of Freeport, Ill., Sunday had converted 1,388 people in a city of about 6,000. Sunday left Austin having collected a disappointing $2,367.53 in Christian offerings. Sunday also gave a serious boost to the Austin Daily Herald, which dedicated several columns to Sunday’s sermons, drawing subscribers across the country. “I guess the stories I heard of Austin were as untrue as the stories that were told to you about me,” Sunday told the Herald the after he arrived. Attendance at his four first weekend services totaled an estimated 9,200. Sunday’s platform went like this: “To try and make it easier for you to do right, harder to do wrong; Easier to pray than to swear; Easier to go home sober than drunk; Easier to speak the truth than lie; Easier to kiss your wife than to curse her. “I am the friend of God, the foe of the devil; The friend of the home, the foe of the brothel; The friend of the school and the church, the foe of the saloon. “I love God, I love humanity, I am doing my best to help you. ... “While here, I will ask you these four questions in every sermon: Are you saved? Are you lost? Are you going to heaven! Are you going to hell?” Reports were clear that Sunday’s sermons had a huge impact on the city. On the day he left, business and industry shut down and the college and public schools held only a half day to allow people to, as the Herald reported, “go once more to the old tabernacle and hear again for probably the last time the voice of a man who has won a way to our hearts as no man ever won his way. A man whose sincerity and singleness of purpose none now question. “A man who came into a city that was ice bound in conversation and self-satisfaction and by his nobility of character, his untiring energy, his personal sacrifice, his fearlessness in his cause, his determination to make men and women live better and purer lives, his unanswerable arguments, for his cause, has recreated our city. It is a new Austin.”

The following is an excerpt from an article published in the Austin Daily Herald on March 19, 1906, reprinted as written.

The tabernacle is too small Austin Daily Herald William A. Sunday, the great revivalist, arrived in Austin Saturday afternoon and preached at the tabernacle Saturday night, again Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon and Sunday evening. The estimated attendance at these four services was as follows: Saturday night, March 17 — 2,500 Sunday morning March 18 — 1,800 Sunday afternoon March 18 — 2,000 Sunday evening March 18 — 2,900 The collections taken for current expenses were as follows: Saturday night March 17 — $23.65 Sunday morning March 18 — $35. 67 Sunday afternoon March 18 — $20.63 Sunday evening March 18 — $38.23 Sunday said: “It is the most pusillanimous offering I have seen in a long time. You are good folks but you are stingy. Lots of you folks have got dough but you are too stingy to dig it up.” Sunday was not speaking of any collection for himself. He wants to get all the collecting business out of the way so that the real work of the meetings can be taken up. the collections now being taken are to raise the amount expended in the erection of the tabernacle, its maintenance, the printing, lighting, heating, the railroad fare of the Sunday party and its entertainment. There were 2,000 people present Sunday afternoon and only 311 pieces of money were put in the collection plates. It is a reflection on the vaunted generosity of our citizens but that will be made good in time. That the tabernacle is too small was demonstrated by the audience Sunday night when many were unable to secure seats in the structure that will comfortable seat 2,700. Sunday found Austin was waiting for him. He said to us. “I guess the stories I heard of Austin were as untrue as the stories that were told to you about me.” It took two weeks work to fill the tabernacle at Rochester but the people there filled the contribution boxes quicker than we do here. In speaking of the attendance at Princeton Sunday said to us: Princeton is in a class by itself and not to be taken into comparison. Sunday has preached four sermons to Austin people, mostly church people and those were the people to whom he wanted to preach those sermons. He had a message for the Austin churches, a message that only Sunday could deliver and he delivered it. He delivered it with all the pent up energy of a splendid physique, and delivered it hot from the bat. The people of Austin never heard such meaty sermons before and they certainly never heard such rapid fire delivery. Some one asked us if the Herald would publish every word that Sunday would say. Great Heavens! That man Sunday speaks 200 words a minute The Herald had no criticisms for the evangelist, denouncing those who were rubbed the wrong way by Sunday’s style. Among the denouncers was writer Carl Sandburg, whose 1915 poem “To Billy Sunday” criticized his righteous performances. It read in part: “This Jesus guy was good to look at, smelled good, listened good. He threw out something fresh and beautiful from the skin of his body and the touch of his hands wherever he

under the present quiet circumstances what will happen when he gets warmed up. One might as well try to hold all the rain drops of a summer shower in a tin cup as to think of publishing all that Sunday says. Besides what Sunday says is to be heard rather than read. You must hear it come red hot from his lips, hurled out by a physique that is the envy of all of our local athletes. The words need the intensity of the utterance, the gesticulations that cannot be pictured nor described. They need to be accompanied by those eyes, those wonderfully powerful eyes. You may not have noticed them. The picture gives but little idea of their strength. The man away back at the rear of the hall has not seen them yet. Wait until Sunday singles you out for his message, then you’ll see those eyes. His words need that square cut jaw of determination, those lines of fight that betoken a fearlessness of criticism, censure and ridicule. The Herald is not going to try the impossible; it is going to do its best to give to its readers a fair, honest, impartial report of these monster meetings. It well try to convey to our readers, who cannot get to these meetings, some idea of the man and his methods. We are not going to criticize his methods for we know what results have come from those methods in other towns. If we judge the methods by the results obtained in all other place where Sunday has been then those methods are the most successful weapons ever used against the “Cohorts of Hell,” as Sunday would say. Sunday throws slang about as he did the baseball when he was one of the giants of the diamond, and he threw that ball to good effect. Sunday’s percentage for errors with the base ball were almost nil. When he threw his slang it is with most spectacular effect on an Austin audience. It is interesting to look down on 3,000 interested faces and watch the effect of one of these red hot balls striking home. Slang is a part of Sunday’s method. Everything Sunday does is a part of his method. There’s method in the manner that Sunday puts his hands in his pockets. He wants you to see that. Its the way the man of the street stands at the corner. He uses the gesture of the street because that gesture is understood by the street. He uses slang because it is the most expressive of all words. Whole phrases have been condensed into a word or a phrase. He says: “I am after that fellow away back there. The ordinary man has but 500 words in his vocabulary: one third of which is cussing, one third obscenity and the other third the vernacular of the street. I’ll not use his cussing. I’ll not use his obscenity but I’ll go after him with the words that he will understand. If I shock your false modesty, go to the devil with your modesty.” He told the man of wealth to go to Hell with his money.

passed along You, Billy Sunday, put a smut on every human blossom that comes within reach of your rotten breath belching about hell-fire and hiccuping about this man who lived a clean life in Galilee.” The sermons spurred a crackdown on sins ordered by Mayor George Sutton. Witness these headlines: Lid Put On; Mayor Sutton issues orders against gambling and illegal liquor selling; Police officials who fail to do duty to be

beheaded —  Saloon men warned that preelection promises to people will be kept to the letter. Just days before Sunday left, Sutton held a meeting with police to demand that they put a stop to gambling and Sunday, holiday and after-hours liquor sales, as well as sales to minors. Nine years later, Mowe r, Wi l k i n a n d G r a n t counties voted to prohibit alcohol, which closed at least 25 bars in Mower alone.

Hormel employees from the 1920s. Photo provided

Boom: An explosion of growth From Page 4A Throughout company history there are several examples how this credo has served the company well. Two years after surviving a financial panic, the company introduced a product no one had produced before: “Hormel’s Sugar-Cured Pig Back Bacon was a lean bacon. Canadian bacon, in fact. The product was so successful in the marketplace that it spurred the company’s growth almost overnight. The founder decided to incorporate and then expand. Three parcels of land were acquired adjacent to the original building. The packing plant was remodeled and enlarged, the hog processing plant moved into a three-story bundling and the beef operations were housed in a two-story facility. The “Provisions Market” was going big time. The company opened its first distribution center at Duluth in 1904 and then another in St. Paul in 1905. Next, Hormel opened an office at San Antonio, Texas and then Minneapolis and finally, he went head-to-head with the giants of the meatpacking industry and opened a facility in Chicago, Ill. A national advertising campaign in 1910 put Hormel products in the homes of families everywhere. The Ladies Home Journal ads went straight to the kitchens of America. To supplement and enhance the impact of the Ladies home Jour nal

advertising campaign, the company distributed 100,000 wooden-handled fans with the Hor mel name and product emblazoned on them. At the time, Upton Sinclair’s classic “The Jungle” was published exposing the meatpacking industry. President Teddy Roosevelt read Sinclair’s book and was horrified. He ordered Congress to pass the Meat Inspection Act to literally clean-up the meat industry. The first meat inspectors visiting the Hormel facilities reported it was “one of the most sanitary plants’ they had visited. T hus, Hor mel, the man, and Hormel, the company were ahead of the curve long ago and assuming a place of respect in an industry that had none at the time. During World War I, many local citizens fought overseas, including Jay C. Hormel, the son of George Hormel. T h e Au s t i n - b a s e d meatpacker was riding the crest of the wave of respect, popularity and success in the business world after World War I came to an end.

Other innovations

Also during this time, the company developed a new system for recycling waste water. The water was evaporated, leaving a liquid substance that could be used as fertilizer. In 1915, the company purchased a flour mill on Water Street (now Fourth Avenue NE). With that mill, they began to produce Hormel Peerless Minnesota Flour.

Show: Animals of all sizes shown From Page 4A Then he shows crows, cranes, foxes, white and variegated pea fowl and other curiosities. Today, a large tree was erected at the east end of the hall, and the wild birds, pheasants, owls, crows, crane, turkey, etc., were all re-

leased and made for that tree as though it were in the wilds. This is a pretty sight and adds greatly to the show. There are shown all kinds of rabbits, white mice, cute little bantams and other small creatures that especially interest the children.



Austin Daily Herald

A special supplement to the AUSTIN DAILY HERALD

1911 to 1920

Cy Thomson loots Hormel Pepper buyer coffers for $1.19 million

The following articles were taken from the Jan. 28, 1911, Austin Daily Herald. They offer a good representation of newspaper style of the time.

Austin Daily Herald Once re garded as a philanthropist, R.J. “Cy” Thomson has gone down in the annals of Austin history as its greatest crook. This one man was responsible for the near crash of the Hormel company and the disastrous repercussions that would have been sure to follow in the community.

Humble beginnings

Thomson was born Jan. 27, A drawing of R.J. Thomson’s Oak Dale Holstein and Duroc Farms near Blooming Prairie. 1887, in Cresco, Iowa, to a re- Thomson funded his farming operations with money taken from the Hormel Foods Corp. spected family, and moved to Photo provided his grandmother’s farm near Hormel company, but also built a large dance pavilion, checked by the auditors.” L e R o y, a playground for the chilthe community. Minn., at He was Sunday School su- dren, a ballpark, a swim- Discovered the age perintendent, contributed ming pool, a hotel, and a fire B u t T h o m s o n’s r u s e o f o n e. to charities, and gladly lent station with a full-time crew. couldn’t last forever. On He gradmoney to friends. An Oak Dale Farms leaflet Saturday morning, July u a t e d “In Quest of Quality: Hor- proclaimed, “Oak Dale be- 9, 1921, Jay C. Hormel was from Lemel’s First 75 Years” states, lieves in taking a leading searching the Accounting Roy High “He was highly respected, part in all the activities of Department for operating School in even idolized by many, and its community, and we be- figures and happened to no1905 and we n t t o Thomson was of statewide promi- lieve there is none at LeRoy tice a $5,000 canceled check nence. Everyone who knew but will agree that the Oak with the notation “transfer work at the Hormel Packing Plant, him liked him immensely." Dale Farms’ organization of funds,” crediting Oak But Thomson had already is made up of a bunch of Dale Farms. Hormel told where his father was a beef his father and then invesbegun to steal from Hormel. mighty good citizens.” buyer. Despite his personal tigated further, eventually Thomson earned $12 a He wrote, “It was early in 1911 week as a scaler in the fresh that my first theft occurred. investment in his farms, discovering that Thomson meat department but decid- A Mrs. Hollingshead mailed Thomson had to maintain had transferred $480,000 ed he would rather have an in $800 in currency for the his performance at work. of the company’s money office job, so in the spring purchase of shares of stock. “The Hormel Legacy: 100 into his Oak Dale Farms acof 1907, he asked George The stock was issued, but the Years of Quality” states, count during just the first Hormel for one. Hormel money was placed in transit. “He never dared take a vaca- half of that year, and more was impressed with Thom- It was still in transit 10 years tion for fear someone would in previous years, the total uncover his scheme ... Of amounting to $1,187,000 (apson’s drive to better himself. later when the crash came.” During the next several course, the fact that he was proximately $11 million in Because Thomson had no training, Hormel offered years, the sums Thomson always on the job worked in today’s dollars). The Nov. 1941 issue of him financial assistance managed to steal reach the his favor. People believed he to take a course in book- tens and later hundreds of was diligent and dedicated.” “ S q u e a l : T h e H o r m e l George Hormel even asked News Magazine” stated, keeping and accounting at thousands. With the stolen Mankato Commercial Col- money he was beginning to Thomson if he would rather “Various firms of certified collect, Thomson bought back give up his job and devote public accountants had aulege. A year later, Thomson the farm that had belonged to himself to his farms, but dited the books time and graduated from Mankato his grandmother. It covered Thomson said, “Nothing is time again, and in at least and was hired at Hormel seven acres in Oak Dale Town- more important to me than two instances in the later years. Mr. Hormel had inas clerk and bookkeeper. ship, just south of LeRoy. He my job here.” And he was telling the formed the auditors that he He was organized and effi- claimed he had inherited the cient; in two years, he was farm from a wealthy aunt, truth — without his job at suspected something was promoted to cashier, and who had also left him money Hormel, he couldn’t fund wrong, but despite all this, his extravagant farms. But Thomson had been able to in four years, assistant to invest. And invest he did. Thom- how did he do it? Thomson cover up.” c o m p t ro l l e r. T h o m s o n Thomson was called to handled incoming cash, son expanded and improved handled accounts at Austin’s m a d e d e p o s i t s, t r a n s - the farm with more acres Farmers and Merchants Mr. Hormel’s office. In his ferred funds and kept the and new equipment, bought State Bank for both Hormel autobiography, he claimed a prize rooster for $10,000, and Oak Dale Farms, which he knew instinctively that journal. In his autobiography, and began breeding prize- the bankers believed were af- he’d been found out. “My first remark when I Thomson wrote, “This gave winning poultry. He bought filiated. He transferred funds me absolute knowledge of cattle and swine, which from the Hormel account to entered the room was, ‘Genevery entry that went in- lived in steam-heated barns his Oak Dale Farms account tlemen it’s all over, the jig to the general ledger and with fans for the flies. And and covered the shortage is up.’ An hour later I went a very clear picture of the of course, the hired hands by withdrawing the same to the company’s general financial condition of the lived even more luxurious- amount from various Horm- jour nal with one of the Company ... I soon knew all ly, in furnished dormitories, el bank accounts throughout Hormel officials and made lines of credit with various with billiard rooms, sun- the country and calling it the last entry I was ever to make on the Hormel books. banks and how each had to rooms, and dancing rooms. “funds in transit.” “The Hormel Legacy” It was an entry charging R.J. be handled.” explains, “A perpetual float Thomson with $1,187,000 Excessive of this type was common and crediting the various extravagance A pillar of the Thomson’s farm began to among large companies banks where the shortages community Thomson, now married attract tourists, including with branch offices located existed.” with a son, became highly the governor. To accommo- on both coasts. It was easily regarded not only in the date his visitors, Thomson explained and never closely See CY, Page 7A

up to no good Austin Daily Herald James Reynolds, alias James Howard, Jim Collins, Jim Neil, Frank J. Gordon and Frank J. Gaynor was arraigned in Justice Fairbanks’ court this afternoon. He waived examination and bonds were fixed at $2,000. He said he could not get bonds, so was taken to the county jail where he will remain until district court meets next June unless in the meantime he decides to plead guilty. Since the arrest of this man, who is almost 57 years of age, the authorities have been looking up his record. They found that his picture graces several rogue’s galleries and that under the name of James Howard he served a time in the South Dakota state’s prison and has also served time in the state’s prison at Stillwater. Reynolds says that Kelly was no chum of his. They met here and put up at the American House on night. There was some scare connected with the arraignment of the prisoner this afternoon. An unknown man went into Dalager’s store just before the hour set for the trial and purchased a pound of ground white pepper. As this was an unusually large amount of pepper for a single purchase the man was watched. The authorities finally decided that the pepper was purchased by some one who intends to distribute at some dance or other public gathering.

Austin was defeated by the Albert Lea H.S. team Friday evening

Before a large crowd of enthusiastic rooters, the Albert lea basketball team defeated the Austin H.S. team by the score of 37 to 19. The game was rather rough. Although the Austin boys showed better team work they were unable to connect with the basket. Kenevan’s work was the feature of the evening. Richardson also showed well for Austin. The line-up was as follows: Albert Lea — Collins, c.; Hellie, r.f.; Brown, l.f.; Scott, r.g.; Serrirrson, l.g. Austin — Kenevan, c.; Pickett, l.f.; Peterson, r.f.; Richardson, l.g.; Banfield, r.g. The preliminary game between the Sophomores and the Freshmen resulted in a victory for the Sophomores by a score of 12 to 2.

Social events

About twenty-five friends of W.H. Ryther gave him a pleasant birthday surprise Friday night. A seven o’clock supper was served and a delightful evening spent. — The pupils of the Sunday school class of Mrs. Wm. Evison enjoyed a sleigh ride Friday night. they were served with refreshments afterwards. — Mrs. M. I. Bassler entertained the Stoddard club Friday night at a covered luncheon. A delightful evening was enjoyed. — Easy money at the IDLE HOUR tonight. Five one-dollar bills given away. — The ladies of the Congregational church were entertained at the Manse Friday afternoon by the ladies of the church whose birthdays come in January. there were about one hundred in attendance during the afternoon. Refreshments were served and the following program was rendered: Piano duet — Mrs. A.N. Collins and Mrs. P.D. Beaulieu Reading — Mrs. Conner Solo — Thekia Knopf Vocal Duet — Mrs. Clefton and Mrs. R. Pooler. A good offering was made for the new covering of the lecture room.

A special supplement to the AUSTIN DAILY HERALD

Celebrating 125 Years



1921 to 1930

Disaster: Tornado rips through city Austin Daily Herald On Saturday, Aug. 18, 1928, the Austin Daily Herald reported that residents would soon be receiving notice that the value of their properties were going up. The newspaper also reported that the Austin Blue Sox were getting ready for their game Sunday in Mankato. The Mower County Fair ground were being prepared for the opening day. On Aug. 21, 1928, the Austin Daily Herald reported that four were killed, others injured and the city had an estimated damage of $625,000 from a tornado that ripped through the city. “With three deaths, and possibly more to be recorded and a destruction of property to the amount of over half a million dollars the storm that stuck yesterday after noon at about 4:45 was the worst that ever visited this city. The only previous storm

Crowds gather in front of Johnson Hardware, on the corner of Mill and Chatham streets (Third Avenue Northeast and 1st Street Northeast) after a tornado tore through Austin on Aug. 20, 1928. Photo provided approaching it was that of June 1908 when there were no lives lost and the property damage in the city was not to exceed $75,000,” the Herald’s lede was. Residents noticed “a curious thing” happening in the city. Grass and weeds were falling from the clouds in Austin. On the streets, the sidewalks and the on the tops of vehi-

cles was hay, grass, weeds and alfalfa stems from farmers meadow that had been harvested by the wind monster and carried by the gray roof of clouds. First hitting Glenville, Austin was in the path of the destructive storm. “Even potatoes were said to be uprooted and scattered about the ground in the swath cut by the tor-

nado. Trees lay prostrate upon the ground everywhere from the Iowa line to Austin and crops were threshed as if with a flail,” the Herald wrote. The fair ground were hit, destroying the wooden buildings, and the tornado was reported to have moved toward Franklin School where it tore out all the glass windows in the building.

Oil company filled Austin’s first gas guzzlers Austin Daily Herald In the post-war days of 1922, three cousins formed a business for an industry that was growing rapidly. As cars and other gas-powered vehicles became standard sights in

communities across the country, Mower County Oil Co. took care of many of the needs here in Austin. Cousins Art, John and Andrew Anhorn, who later served on the Austin City Council, eventually

opened stations across the county. Gas was 29.7 cents per gallon when it was formed. An early Austin business story quotes Anhorn on his commitment to the area. His words are the same as many local business own-

ers today. “We have our homes, our jobs and our families in Austin, and our future will be a lot brighter if we keep our dollars where they will do the most good — and that’s right here in Austin."

Theater scene in Roaring ’20s Austin Daily Herald Five score and several facades ago, our fathers brought forth to downtown Austin plenty of opportunities to take in films and live shows. One such theater was the The State, which today stands vacant at 110 Fourth Avenue NE across from the Paramount Theatre. A developer and architect with Austin connections bought the building last year and plans to restore it to the 1910 State look. In 1925, shows cost 10 cents for kids and 20 cents for a matinee or 25 cents for an evening show for adults. The State played first-run films for some of its life, but mostly showed B movies and second runs, according to newspaper clippings. Across the street was T he Park, which the Mower County News called “the finest and bestequipped theatre in Southern Minnesota.” It was built in 1919 and opened a year later, the baby of F.F. Latta, who spent his 40 years of savings to construct the $85,000 theater. “Few buildings have been erected that have a greater personal interest to the people of Austin than the new theater,” the Mower County Transcript-Republican wrote a few months before it was completed. The theater seated 1,014, and comfortably so, according to the Transcript, which described the en-

Austin Daily Herald, Feb. 18, 1921

Girls caught going to the movies on a school night Three girls 15 years of age were arrested and charged with attending the theatre unaccompanied by their parents on nights of the days when school is in session. Their parents promised to see that the children complied with the ordinance in the future. There is complaint that a lot of children go to the theatre and give their money to an adult to buy a ticket for them and then pass in as though accompanied. This feature of law violation is being investigated with a view of the arrest of any adult who assists at this evasion of the law. Everyone should be interested in the observance of the law. The ordinance was passed by the desire of all the school teaching force of the city, both public and parochial. It was noticed that the child who attends the theatre at night did not do well in his studies. It was the intent of the school teachers to keep the children from the theatres on all nights but Friday and Saturday.

virons during “Suds,” the first film, as “spacious, comfortable and well-ventilated.” Kids paid 10 or 15 cents, adults 25 or 35, depending on the time of day.

Cy: Thomson received 15 years of hard labor From Page 6A The Austin Daily Herald announced on July 16, 1921, “Ransome J. Thomson, comptroller of finance of the Hormel Packing Company, has been found short in his accounts to the amount of $150,000.” Thomson’s explanation: “I think I must have been crazy. I know now that I was crazy.” On July 18, 1921, Thomson was arrested. He went amicably, not telling his wife and son where he

was going, expecting that his friends would post bail and he would be released. They did not. That day’s Austin Daily Herald reported, “Expressions of faith in Cy and a happy outcome of this unfortunate affair this morning were mingled with the expressions of hope that ‘he would fix things up,’ from the people on the street, when the news of his arrest this morning became known.” The next day, the Herald published updated f i g u r e s : “ Vi c e P r e s i -

dent Jay C. Hor mel of the Hor mel Packing company this mor ning announced that the defalcation of their comptroller, R.J. Thomson, as now found amounts to $470,000.”

The aftermath

Although the full story and amounts were withheld from the public to avoid a run on the Austin banks, rumors began circulating of the closing of the Hormel plant. On July 19, 1921, George and Jay Hormel met in Chi-

cago with various bankers to try to save the company from liquidation. In his statement, George Hormel related the history of the plant and the disastrous effects on the community if it were liquidated — the loss of over a thousand jobs and a $1.5 million annual payroll. He promised to pull the company out of debt. The July 20, 1921, Herald reported, “A message from Jay C. Hormel at Chicago at 4:20 carries the word ‘Released.’ This is a code

word to the Herald that all is well and the bankers will stand behind the credit of the Hormel Packing Co.” The Herald went on to elucidate the consequences had Hormel’s $35,000 weekly wages been withdrawn from commercial life. “The shutting down of the Hormel company meant a business depression that would close many of our stores, hundreds of families would have to seek work elsewhere, hundreds of houses would be vacant.” On Aug. 30, 1921, Thom-

son was arraigned and pleaded guilty. On Sept. 6, 1921, the man who, according to The Herald, “had it in his power to tear down an industry about which the city of Austin, its homes and its commercial life had grown,” was sentenced to 15 years hard labor at the Minnesota State Prison. The city of Austin, on the other hand, having survived what The Herald termed “the greatest crisis in her history,” anticipated a much brighter future.


Austin Daily Herald


A special supplement to the AUSTIN DAILY HERALD

1931 to 1940

Austin weathers Great Depression Hormel helped keep Austinites working Austin Daily Herald Not only did the stock market crash during the Great Depression, but so did hopes and dreams. Some people lost everything they had, a few prospered. Everybody suffered a little or a lot. T he g eneration who lived during the Great Depression is older now, but memories of that era remain vivid and alive more than ever. “We had to do without and make sacrifices all the time, but that was just the way life was at the time. Others suffered more. A lot more,” is how one Austin survivor described it. The Great Depression was a worldwide economic downturn, starting in 1929 and ending at different times in different countries. Almost all countries were affected. The worst hit were the most indus-

A street scene at the 300 block of North Main Street, Austin, taken in 1930. Austin’s business community largely survived the Great Depression well, thanks to stability of the Geo. A. Hormel Company during the time. Herald file photo. Herald file photo trialized, including the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Canada, and Japan. Cities around the world were hit hard, especially those based on heavy industry. Construction virtually halted in the United States and other countries. Minnesota far mers and rural areas all over America suffered as prices for crops fell by 40-60 percent.

meet with limited resources. Far mers and others who could grow their own garden vegetables, kept chickens and livestock and milked dairy cows fared better than others. Everyone “tightened their belts” and got by with less, but it was worse in the countryside. Dust Bowl hurts, too The Dust Bowl of the Austin’s history of the 1930s lasted about a deGreat Depression was one cade. Its primary area of of sacrifice. Making ends impact was on the southMining and lumbering areas were perhaps the hardest hit because demand fell sharply and there was little alternative economic activity. The Great Depression wreaked havoc both economically and psychologically.

ern Plains. The norther n Plains were not so badly effected, but nonetheless, the drought, windblown dust and agricultural decline were no strangers to the north. In fact the agricultural devastation helped to lengthen the Depression, whose effects were felt worldwide. The movement of people on the Plains was also profound. As John Steinbeck wrote in his 1939 novel “The Grapes of Wrath,” “And then the dispossessed were drawn west — from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico; from Nevada and Arkansas, families, tribes, dusted out, tractored out. Car-loads, caravans, homeless and hungry; twenty thousand and fifty thousand and a hundred thousand and two hundred thousand. They streamed over the mountains, hungry and restless — restless as ants, scurrying to find work to do — to lift, to push, to pull, to pick, to cut — anything, any burden to bear, for food. The kids are hungry. We got no place to live. Like ants scurrying for work, for food, and most of all for land.”

Spam brand lunchmeat is born Austin Daily Herald No single product in human history is better known for its heroics during wartime, its accomplishments during peacetime and its popularity during mealtime than Spam Classic. After more than six decades in the marketplace, Spam is still the unique, high-quality kitchen staple the world has come to know and love. Hormel Foods first pro-

duced Spam luncheon meat in 1937 in Austin, Minnesota. Guy McAllister of Austin was working at the Hormel Packing Meat Packing Plant in the meat grinding room at

the time. He recalled adding 50 pounds of ground ham to each mixture of Spam. “I was there when the first can of Spam came out,” McAllister said. “There was a 12 ounce can first and it was called canned spiced luncheon meat. I thought it was a good product. Hormel always has made good products.” Who came up with the name Spam? Jay C. Hormel wanted a name as distinctive as the taste, so he held a contest.

Kenneth Daigneau, an actor and brother of a Hormel vice president, pocketed the $100 prize money. He named this spiced canned ham Spam at a New Year’s Eve party in 1937. According to the web site:, Spam became one of America’s favorite luncheon meats almost immediately. By 1941, 40 million pounds of Spam had been sold, and with America’s entry into World War II, Spam was called to action overseas.

With Allied forces fighting to liberate Europe, Hormel Foods provided 15 million cans of luncheon meat to troops each week. Spam became an essential item in soldiers’ diets, earning praise for feeding starving British and Soviet troops and civilians. Following the war, world leaders including Dwight Eisenhower, Margaret Thatcher and Nikita Khrushchev all credited Spam for its role in the Allies’ victory.

Austin High takes home basketball title Austin Daily Herald Austin High School boys basketball has changed plenty since 1935, but the keys to victory have not: size, speed and teamwork. The state champion cager Scarlets, led by Coach Dick Arney, had it all. In the 1930s, the team played at the Austin Armory, long before threepoint lines, crossover dribbles and, well, high scoring. The team’s lowest scoring game that year was a 12-7 victory over Rochester. T he Scarlets attempted 63 shots, their opponent 23. News reports from the Austin Daily Herald touted the Scarlets’ team play and strong defense. “Austin should enjoy the best cage season they have had for a long time,” the Herald predicted as the 1934-35 team began practice. Most of the team was returning from a strong effort the year before. The star that season was 17-year-old junior and third-year starter, Art Hanson, the tallest on the team at 6-feet, 3 1/2 inches, according to the Austinian yearbook. The Herald called him a “brilliant ball handler, smart defensive player and is outstanding in the ‘hole.’” He played center for the first half of the year, but switched to forward after he fell ill with chicken pox. A 6’ 1” senior guard named Don Hemmer played center in Hanson’s absence and kept the job through the post-season.

A special supplement to the AUSTIN DAILY HERALD

Celebrating 125 Years



1941 to 1950

Institute begins research Austin Daily Herald Founded by Jay C. Hormel, the Hormel Foundation and Regents of the University of Minnesota’s graduate school entered into an agreement in 1942 to establish the Hormel Institute in Austin. According to the agreement made between the Hormel Foundation and the Board of Regents, scientists at the Institute may accept funds from sources other than the Foundation, when such money is in support of the purposes of the Institute, according to a 1960’s Austin Daily Herald article about the early history of the Institute. The Institute became known as a Lipid Research Center mostly due to the demands at the time — food deterioration after World War II. Research focusing on antioxidant and food preservation was also a high priority. In 1942 the Institute had the purpose of promoting

Scientists working in the original Hormel Institute. Photo provided

education and research in various areas. A Herald article asked “What is going on in that new red brick building on the Belt Line?” Here’s what then-Institute director Dr. Walter O. Lundberg said, “Through our research activities at the Institute we hope to gain information which is useful to the public and to science in general. Spe-

cifically, we want to get information about fatty materials, — exploring them from the standpoint of how we can make more use of them, what their nutritional value is and what is bad about them in connection with disease.” Through the years changes in the Institute have been made and the Institute has always been highly regarded with respect.

In 1960 activities were expanded by the construction of a new building on the north edge of Austin, using matching funds for the Hormel Foundation and National Institute of Health. The Institute employed eight people in 1944 and grew to 124 in 1982 with a growing budget — in 1944 it was $15,000 to $2,796,753 in 1982. The inde pendent research facility focus is on conducting research and providing education in the biological sciences with applications in medicine and agriculture, according to the Institute’s Web site. Today grants from the Hor mel Foundation account for about one-third of the lab’s grant income, giving the Institute $1.3 million in the year ending June 2004. This fiscal year, the Foundation is giving more than $1.5 million. Another funding source for the Institute is the National Institute of Health.

Terp was center of Austin night life Austin Daily Herald Austinites have always enjoyed listening to live music. Dancing the night away has been a form of entertainment here for many, many years. The most famous dance ballroom in Austin is, of course, the Terp. From a June 11, 1995, article in the Austin Daily Herald, the Terp Ballroom was the finest in the Northwest and the largest in the state outside of the Twin Cities. It opened in May 1938 to the music of two orchestras, the Don Lawson and Paul Moorhead. The ballroom measured 130 x 110

Chuck Halls Dance Band played at The Terp in 194041. Herald file photo feet and had a spacious 95 x 70 feet dance floor. It had booths, a refreshment section, orchestra platform, lobby, dressing rooms and office. The ballroom could accommodate 2,000 guests and there was plenty of parking space in the parking lot. Another great plus

of this ballroom was it had air conditioning and sound equipment. The Terp was the “hoppening” place to be. Dances were held four nights a week on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and some holidays. It was also a place for area proms and wedding dances. Then a tragedy struck the site on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22, 1945, when fire destroyed the Terp. The loss was estimated at $140,000. Fortunately all the records were saved. The owner, Carl Fox declared that a new ballroom would be constructed on the same site as soon as material could be obtained and the

ballroom would be larger and of a different design. The new Terp opened a year later on Dec. 6, 1946, with the Henry Charles Band performing. The new Terp had a larger dance floor and booths that could hold 1,500 guests. The ballroom had a dual ticket-office entrance, carpeted lobby and lounge, checkroom, restrooms, two bars, dressing rooms, stage and office. There were 14 chandeliers made of mirrors and glass. Soon after the opening, the Terp was sold along with the ballroom — the Prom in St. Paul and the Surf in Clear Lake, Iowa — to William Karzas of Chicago.

Jackie Graves. Photo provided

Austin fighter’s fists earns national praise Austin Daily Herald In 1941, a “gritty and likable little scrapper” named Jackie Graves won his 204th fight in 205 tries, and was crowned the top bantamweight Golden Gloves boxer. Some 20,000 amateur fighters across the country competed in Golden Gloves, and the 118-pound Austin southpaw captured the attention of the Chicago crowd. “Jackie swarmed all over Duncan from the start and fired punches into him so fast and savagely the eye scarcely could follow his fists,” the Morning Tribune wrote of Graves’ semi-final bout, which was stopped 87 seconds in. The title fight that followed ended in a decision for the 19-year-old Graves. His employer, Jay C. Hormel, called him the

Hormel Hammerer, and showed up to his big fights. Graves was better known as the Austin Atom. While on the comeback trail in 1950, one publication called him “the greatest drawing card in the history of the fight game in the Northwest.” Graves trained at the Shaw Gym and fought often and spectacularly at Austin’s Marcusen Park. He battled alcoholism in retirement, but trained hard in his prime. “A devout trainer who does roadwork even when he has no fight scheduled, Graves shuns tobacco and hard liquor,” a newspaper reported along with a photo collage of Graves leading up to the biggest fight of his career. “After a recent engagement, he celebrated with a malted milk, (and) considered it a real ‘bender.’”



Austin Daily Herald

A special supplement to the AUSTIN DAILY HERALD

1951 to 1960

Named streets still remembered Austin Daily Herald

Presbyterian Church destroyed

Nearly 50 years after the Austin City Council decided numbered streets and avenues would be more helpful than arbitrary names, the occasional old-timer still uses the words “old Garfield” or “old Water.” The council finalized the plan in February of 1959. The city was divided into quadrants, aligned by the east-west Oakland Avenue and north-south Main Street. The Herald wrote after approval that the plan is “similar to Rochester’s and is the type generally adopted by cities in setting up a new street system, as it is considered the easiest in locating addresses.” The council scrapped an alternative proposal that would eliminate the “firsts,” which would have ef fectively made Main Street’s 100 building the 200 building, and the southwest office building near the Downtown Motel the First on Second building.

Austin students send mouse into space ABOVE: Central Presbyterian Church burns in this Oct. 18, 1953, photo. Ground was broke for the new church on Octobert 1954. LEFT: Church members clean up after the destuction of the Central Presbyterian Church in October 1953. Photos provided

By December of 1957,

four years before Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, and 12 years before the United States put a man on the moon, eight Pacelli High School students got caught up in their own rodent star wars. The rocketeers’ initial launch, of Mousenik I, failed as a live mouse returned not-so safely to the earth. The students had padded the rocket with foam rubber, but the impact was too great for the mouse to survive. The primary builders, Richard King, Gary Solyst and Paul Germer, under the supervision of physics and chemistry teacher Sister M. Duns Scotus, planned to equip a second mouse with a parachute for Mousenik II. The same Herald issue that carried the feature story about the Mousenik plans also had some related stories: one about nationwide coverage of the launch; the other about an Austin Fire Department call to the King family basement the previous night when a zinc sulfide mixture —  the rocket fuel — overheated and exploded.

Austin becomes home to first shopping center in state Austin Daily Herald It was the first of it’s kind in the state — Sterling Shopping Center. It was once a pasture were residents could knock a golf ball or get a root beer at the corner stand of Oakland Avenue West and 12th Street Southwest. With a housing boom in Austin, a shopping center would lurk in the shadows and become Austin’s biggest development in history to date — over a million dollars in investment in two blocks.

Who could have imagined that in 1959 the Sterling Shopping Center would be celebrating their 10 year anniversary? Chester Weseman and Robert Naslund, former Sterling Builders, set out to build an innovation in a community like Austin. With land purchased from N.F. Banfield Corp., Austin native James Horne helped sketch preliminary plans for the city shopping center with a Minneapolis firm laying out the site plans.

A special supplement to the AUSTIN DAILY HERALD

Celebrating 125 Years



1961 to 1970

Austin schools bring home titles Austin Daily Herald How good was Austin basketball under Ove Berven? Good enough that an area writer tried raising $100,000 to send the coach out of the state. The Herald reported on the “retirement crusade” on March 10, 1961. Harold Severson, a freelance writer from Kenyon, proposed the plan in a letter to the Rochester Post-Bulletin. “I feel that $100,000 is a very small sum indeed when you think of the relief it will bring all of us, who want to see somebody besides the Austin Packers in the state tournament from this region. I figure this sum will enable Ove and his family to retire to Florida, California or the Bermudas permanently,” Severson wrote. A Post-Bulletin writer doubted it would work. “When a team can lose its entire starting five

1958 Austin State Champions in Minnesota centennial year. Front row: Manager Carlson, Reed, Marlenau, Booher, Osborn, Manager Wright. Row two: Kezar, Berven, Dean, Goodwin, Voss, Miller, Baudler, Peterson. Photo provided from a state tournament finalist and come back the next season with another all-winning record, as Austin has done ... there must be an endless flow of talent coming up from the low grades,” Ben Sternberg wrote.

Berven would resign without the payoff in 1964. In 25 years, his teams won nine Big 9 titles, 21 District Two titles and made 14 state appearances with championships in 1946 and 1958. Coach Marty Crowe too

led a diminutive Pacelli High School team to a state championship in 1958. The Shamrocks took the private school title again in 1965 under Coach Don Carlson. Among Austin’s more dominant players was Bur-

Peace rally was held in Austin Austin Daily Herald “Peace March and Rally Slated Here Saturday” the Austin Daily Herald headline read. It was Nov. 24, 1967, and another controversial war had divided America: the Vietnam War. According to the 1967 newspaper article before the event, the peace march would begin in the parking lot at the Austin Municipal Swimming Pool, still the starting point for civic events in the downtown area today. Marchers were to travel 1 1/2 miles down N o r t h M a i n S t re e t t o wh at w a s t h e n c a l l e d “Au s t i n C o m m u n i t y Park” or to what today

“This is not intended to be a protest or dissension against President (Lyndon B.) Johnson’s Austin Daily Herald cost of the fighting with Vietnam policy,” one of three suggestions from an the org anizers, Monte Eighteen men aged unnamed source. Bute, was quoted as say18 to 25 from Austin and That person proposed the surrounding area ing. “but rather a rally buying all the land in were among the 58,200 South Vietnam and givappealing to national and U.S. soldiers killed in the ing it to the peasants to world leaders to make a Vietnam War. deprive the “Viet Cong of genuine effort at negotiThe Herald published their main talking point ating peace.” front page stories by — land reform;” giving The lineup of speakers The Associated Press $3,100 to every family of at the rally included many most days at the height five in South Vietnam; and of conflict, and the war ministers: Ralph Colby, giving $50,000 to every was the subject of many Viet Cong soldier in return Daniel Corcoran, Stanley editorials by publisher for their loyalties to capiHanks, Donald McCord, A. Richard Gross. One talism. The price would be John Superant, Adrian from February of 1972 the same as one year of Stier and James Buryska, discussed the monetary fighting. plus a college professor, J. Rodney Kellar. has added a “Bandshell” seemed intent on downThe Nov. 24, 1967, peace on top of the name. playing what it was really march and rally came and It was Austin’s first about (i.e. protesting the went without apparent insuch event and organizers Vietnam War). cident.

22 local men die in Vietnam

dette Haldorson, who was named to the 1956 and 1960 U.S. Olympic basketball teams before professionals were permitted to play. In 1956, he and four AAU teammates on the Bartlesville, Okla. Oilers were named to the squad after defeating a team of college all-stars in a tournament. Haldorson, the 6-foot, 8-inch leading scorer for Bartlesville, played with would-be Hall of Famers Bill Russell in 1956 and Jerry West and Oscar Robertson in 1960. Haldorson was the only U.S. basketball player named to the team in both years. Other sports notables: Feb. 8, 1963: AHS Packers set a basketball scoring record with a 100-52 win over Owatonna. Jerry Miller led the team with 27 points. Nov. 28, 1958: Art Hass’ AHS Big 9 football champions have five players named all-conference: QB

Ron Anhorn, ends Mike Marineau and Clayton Reed, tackle Terry Maus, and guard Larry Maus. June 30, 1959: AHS star Daryl Richardson signs with the New York Yankees as a third baseman and outfielder. The scout who signed him also signed Packer Bill “Moose” Skowron, but called Richardson the best high school player he’d ever signed. June 12, 1964: Coach Dick Seltz and the AHS Packers win the state baseball tournament 3-0 over Minneapolis West. Seltz squads went to state 16 times, also winning in 1954. May 29, 1965: Coach D o n C a rl s o n’s P a c e l li High School baseball team wins State Catholic High Schools tournament. Pitcher Dave Lobb shuts out St. Paul Cretin 3-0 while allowing three hits. The team starred Ray Halvorson and Gary Quednow.

Austin man wins Pulitzer Prize for poetry Austin Daily Herald Described as a prolific American poet who published more than a dozen books of poetry and approximately 20 works in total, Richard Eberhart was not only Austin’s recipient of the Austin Public Education Foundation’s Distinguished Alumni award but also a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet. Eberhart won the Pulitzer in 1966 for “Selected Poems: 1930-1965” and a National Book Award in 1977 for “Collected Poems: 1930-1976.” Richard Ghor mley Eberhart was born in 1904 in Austin. He grew up on a 40-acre estate called Burr

Richard Eberhart was a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and native of Austin. Academy of American Poets

Oaks, which is now residential lots. In his career he published a volume of poetry called “Burr Oaks” in 1947 and many of his poems reflected his youth in rural America. His poetry would take him far beyond Austin, where he graduated high school in 1921.


Austin Daily Herald


A special supplement to the AUSTIN DAILY HERALD

1971 to 1990

Hormel workers strike

Demonstrators blocked the main entrance to the Hormel plant, a public street and Interstate 90 exit with cars and protesters during the Local P-9 strike at the plant. Herald file photo Austin Daily Herald On Aug. 17, 1985, 93 percent of UFCW Local P-9 union members voted to strike against Geo. A. Hormel & Co., setting the stage for a year-long battle that would pit company against union, local chapter against national union, and neighbor against neighbor. Hormel at the time of the strike employed some 3,500 people in Austin, and its meat packing workers were the highest paid in the nation. Tension between the company and the Local P-9 union started before the strike, when in 1978 the company threatened to move meat packing operations out of Austin. Hormel later relented, and announced that it would build a new plant in the city. The union contract that was drawn up in 1978 had some significant concessions on the part of the workers. One was to increase production once the new plant was opened and for the workers to give up their incentive earnings, which amounted to as much as $12,000 per worker. That amount was to be repaid to those individuals once the new plant was built, as an add-on to wages. When the $12,000 was repaid, the incentive would continue for those workers still at the plant. The union also had to agree to not strike for three years after the completion of the plant. Some members of the union were upset with these concessions, including Jim

Guyette, who challenged the union leadership for control of P-9 and won. Guyette criticized the concessions and won election to the executive board of P-9 in 1981. When the newly built Hormel plant opened in 1982, it faced a whole new set of issues with Local P-9. Along with the many issues already upsetting Local P-9, Hormel planned to cut wages 23 percent, from $10.69 to $8.25 per hour, and also made deep cuts to health benefits. Though upset, the workers could not strike right away because of the 1978 agreement. Even though they could not strike, the workers joined together to stand up to Hormel, forming the Austin United Support Group. They also hired Ray Rogers and his Corporate Campaign for $200,000. Rogers was hired to develop a public relations and fund-raising plan for the union. Rogers had been successful in coordinating strikes for the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union against the J.P. Stevens Company. By August of 1985, the Local P-9 had had enough. When they reached the end of the 1978, the union voted to allow the 1,500 meat packers to strike. The workers were especially incensed during this time because Hormel had announced that its profits were up 30.9 percent in 1985 over the previous year. The union found it difficult to believe that with such high profits, the company had to cut wages to stay competitive. The Hormel Company

had also spent $70 million on advertising that year — up 50 percent from 1984. Local P-9 and support groups began traveling the country with their message of resistance to Hormel’s contract offer, drumming up support among other UFCW chapters. Hormel continued to refuse to negotiate. On Dec. 20, picketers began a series of demonstrations and began blocking the plant’s gates. Hormel retaliated by going to court to limit the number of pickets. On Jan. 13, 1986, Hormel reopened the plant with replacement and strikebreaker laborers. During this time, the Midwest was in the middle of a major farm crisis, and the rural economy was in shambles. The $8.25 an hour looked good in an area where minimum wage jobs were the rule and farmers were losing their land. Several hundred P-9 workers crossed the line and became “scabs” in the eyes of their still striking co-workers. The strikers continued to work closely with the Support Group and responded with massive demonstrations, picketing and civil disobedience. Since the union members were forbidden by law to picket, demonstrating activities were coordinated by the Support Group and labor unions and other groups around the state and nation. On Jan. 20, 1986, the protesters organized a blockade involving several hundred cars and shut the plant down. Though the protests were relatively violence free, the Hormel Company demanded extra police

protection. The local police force and county sheriff contacted Minnesota Gov. Rudy Perpich, who called in the National Guard for almost two weeks. Despite these actions, P-9 did not let up throughout the winter and spring of 1986. They continued to protest with banners, letters to the editor to newspapers and civil disobedience. State and national media took an interest in the strike, and events related to the strike were on the national nightly news for months. Behind the scenes, there were bitter and tense discussions between P-9 and the national United Food and Service Workers (UFCW) organization. Some union leaders felt the Austin strike, where workers were paid more than union members in other parts of the country, would hurt union membership. Because of this bitterness, on July 3, 1986, the UFCW physically evicted P-9 from the Austin Labor Center. The local union than merged with the Support Group and moved into a rented building behind the Hormel plant. The striking workers were on their own, without any financial or organizational support from the UFCW. With Local P-9 out of the Austin Labor Center, the UFCW worked quickly to settle the strike. On Sept. 12, 1986, the strike was declared over, a little over a year after it began. An agreement was reached between the company and the new Local 9 union.

Herald editor retires after 40 years to chicken dinners and we often put in 60 hours or Forty-four years after more per week,” Burgeson he started with the Austin said in the Austin Daily Daily Herald, Clarence Herald article announcing Burgeson retired on Jan. his retirement. Burgeson started at the 22, 1971. “We covered everything Herald Nov. 1, 1926, as a from Boy Scout meetings 22-year-old sports editor Austin Daily Herald

and general news reporter. Burgeson took on the additional duties of wire editor when the Associated Press moved from “pony telephone” wire services to the more reliable leased wire service in July 1928.

Burgeson was named managing editor in 1930. In May 1970, Burgeson suffered a brain tumor and stroke, but was back at his desk two months later. He worked on a part-time basis for the remainder of his career.

July 3 marked 30th anniversary of Ellis Fire By Alex Smith After another week of work as principal of Ellis Middle School in the summer of 1986, Neil Hanson came home with thoughts of a weekend getaway with his family. “I went home in the afternoon of July 2 with the idea of vacation and taking the kids away for the weekend,” he said. His weekend, however, turned out to be the opposite of relaxing. At around 1 a.m. that night, he received a call from Brian Hecimovich. “Mr. Hanson, there’s a fire at Ellis,” Hecimovich said, according to Hanson’s written log of the fire. T h i r t y ye a r s h ave passed since former principal Hanson received that phone call and Ellis suffered the worst school fire in Minnesota history at that time. At first, Hanson just assumed it was a couple of pranksters from summer

school causing trouble. “I didn’t think anything of it,” Hanson said. After another alarming phone call, however, he decided to get in his car and check out the scene. “When I got to Skinner’s Hill, you could see the fire,” Hanson said. Upon arriving at the school, he was asked to open the front doors of the building; the doors were so hot that the key couldn’t turn the lock. Media outlets from across the state jumped on the story and a couple brought helicopters that night. “It was a big deal,” Hanson said. Current Austin Public Schools board member Richard Lees was a teacher at Ellis at the time of the fire. While the news spread like wildfire through town, Lees didn’t hear about the incident until he was teaching kids during drivers training a day after.

Flames burn through the roof of Ellis MIddle School in 1986. Photo provided

A partial excerpt from Neil Hanson’s notes, dated July 3, 1986: 1:05 a.m. • Call from Brian Hecimovich - “Mr. Hanson, there’s a fire at Ellis!” • Few minutes later, Donna Maas called. “Fire is bad.” 1:15 a.m. • Enroute to Ellis, saw smoke from Skinner Hill • knew it was bad. • Upon arrival — I was asked to open front doors — doors were so hot, key wouldn’t turn lock. 2 a.m. - Called Mr. Bannina

(didn’t know if Dr. Young was in town) and Bob Ackland. 4:30 a.m. • Came home - still in disbelief - Mary didn’t believe me. 7:45 a.m. • Returned to Ellis - Dan Conradt (KAUS Radio) interviewed me. (Later I learned it was used on Minnesota News Network) 9 a.m. • Channel 5 (Minneapolis), Channel 4 (Minneapolis), and Channel 9 (Mpls.) interviewed me re: my thoughts. Channel 3 (Mason City) participated also.

Flooding and fixes, P. 2B

Changes at the nature center, P. 3B

Hy-Vee takes down mall, P. 4B


he Austin community and Mower County are on the cusp of many changes. Vision 2020 continues pushing projects forward, such as the $35 million Austin Community Recreation Center moving forward at the downtown Austin Municipal plant Site. The Hormel Institute is just months removed from its second major expansion, flood mitigation efforts continue around town, Hormel Foods Corp. celebrated a 125 years and opened a new Spam Museum downtown, and the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center is under new leadership as it nears the completion of its $7 million interpretive center. As the Herald looks back at the last 25 years in these pages, we share stories from our archives and touch on many that will have an effect on the community moving forward. —Austin Daily Herald

Hormel celebrates 125, Spam Museum, P. 5B

A memorial for the ages, P. 8B

Hormel Institute pushes forward


he Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota continues pushing ahead with cancer research. Here is a rundown of the center’s history: 1941: The Hormel Foundation is founded by Jay C. Hormel, the second CEO of Hormel Foods Corp. and the son of its founder, George A. Hormel. For many years, The Hormel Institute is the sole recipient of the foundation’s funds, outside of the Hormel family. 1942: The Hormel Institute is founded on Nov. 20 by Jay C. Hormel, with a mission to conduct research in biological sciences with applications in medicine and agriculture. The Hormel Foundation enters into an agreement with the University of Minnesota to operate a 400-square foot biological research lab in the horse stables of the Hormel family’s estate outside of Austin. The estate is now Gerard Academy. 1943: H.O. Halvorson, Ph.D., becomes The Institute’s first executive director. Halvorson serves as an advisor to Jay Hormel on food stability. 1949: Walter O. Lundberg, Ph.D., becomes its second executive director, serving for more than 25 years. 1960: The Hormel Institute moves in June from its original location in the horse stable, now at 12,000-square feet not counting animal barns, to its current location at 801 16th Ave. NE, next to Hormel Foods’ corporate headquarters. Its new home

is the most cited in the world in molecular biology for five years. 2006: A busy year for The Institute, as it signs an agreement for collaboration with Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and breaks ground on a $23.4-million expansion. While the agreement with Mayo is the start of the entities official partnership, a Mayo representative has been on the Institute’s board of directors since the lab’s Members of the Chinese delegation from Henan Providence inception. 2008: The Institute finishes pose for pictures out front of The Hormel Institute before its expansion, which triples the Jan. 1, 2016, expansion celebration. Herald file photo its size and takes it from utive director. 60 to 120 employees. The has 10 labs to start. 1981: Holman is named to expansion, which opens on 1963: Dr. Ralph T. Holman the National Academy of Oct. 3, creates 20 new statefirst names Omega-3 fatty Sciences in Nutrition. of-the-art cancer research acids in a scientific journal. 1985: Harald H.O. Schmid, labs. He also names Omega-6 — The Institute partners with fatty acids. His work involves Ph.D., becomes its fourth executive director. IBM, bringing a BlueGene/L collaboration with people all 2001: The Institute names Dr. Supercomputer to its lab. over the world and from 15 Zigang Dong its fifth execuAt the time, it’s the world’s different countries. fastest supercomputer. 1960s: The Institute supplies tive director. 2004-2009: The research — The International Carcino“Arnold” the pig for the TV of Dong and Dr. Ann Bode, genesis Symposium is held show “Green Acres.” The associate director — which in Austin, attracting cancer show aires from 1965 to makes the world’s No. 1 researchers from around the 1971. 1975: Holman becomes, cancer research journal world. The Institute’s third exec- “Nature Reviews Cancer” — — Dong is selected as a National Institutes of Health Merit award recipient. 2011: The Institute officially announces in October its plans for a $27-million, •Paint the Town Pink started with Paint the Rink 74,000-foot expansion, Pink in 2011, and Paint the Town started the next which it says will add 120 year. Since, the event has raised $825,000 and jobs. expects to surpass the $1 million mark in 2017, when 2014: The Institute breaks it aims to raise $300,000. ground on its expansion •The Area Cancer Auction started with a modest project. $5,318 raised in 1980. But the annual auction has 2016: The Hormel Institute grown into a cancer-fighting juggernaut with many unveils its expansion, the events peppered throughout the year. To date, it has Ray Live Learning center and raised just under $2.5 million. the $4.3 million cryo-electron microscope.

Packer boys reach title game, P. 10B

This is a clip of a story published in the April 19, 2012.

10 for tomorrow Austin Daily Herald

Like Howie Mandel on NBC’s “Deal or No Deal,” Laura Helle unveiled the final 10 Vision 2020 projects one by one Wednesday night as a standing-room-only crowd sat in anticipation at the Hormel Historic Home. Austin High School senior Matt Lunning reveals “Downtown Austin a Destination Point” Wednesday as one of the final 10 ideas to be developed as part of Vision 2020. Helle, HHH executive director and 2020 steering committee member, introduced idea committee members who in turn picked up one of 10 briefcases, opened them away from the audience and slowly turned them to reveal what was inside. The event, called the “Big Reveal,” was a milestone for Vision 2020 — a grassroots community bet-

Idea Selection Committee 10 Vision Statements 1. Community Wide Technology 2. Expanded Bike/Walk Trail System 3. Community Recreational Center 4. Embrace and Maintain our Waterways 5. Gateway to Austin Attraction 6. Revitalization of Austin Utilities Building 7. Education Leaders 8. Business Friendly Environment 9. Community Pride and Spirit 10. Downtown Austin a Destination Point

terment project launched in 2011 looking for 10 ideas to implement by 2020 — which narrowed a list of more than 4,000 ideas submitted by the community in September 2011 to 91 in December 2011, 30 in January and 10 last night.

Cancer fighters

Austin High School senior Matt Lunning reveals Downtown Austin a Destination Point as one of the final 10 ideas to be developed as part of Vision 2020 On April 18, 2012, at the Hormel Historic Home. Herald file photo



Austin Daily Herald

A special supplement to the AUSTIN DAILY HERALD

Austin flooding

Flooding and fixes


he city of Austin has survived quite a few floods during the past few decades. As the area experiences 50- to 100-year floods on an increasing basis, city staff implemented large-scale flood mitigation efforts to combat Austin’s flooding woes. Those efforts continue to this day. 1970s: Austin starts buying property located in areas prone to flooding to minimize damage caused to houses and businesses. The city would eventually acquire more than 275 residential properties and 10 commercial businesses as of 2014. 1993: Residents spent most of Monday, Aug. 16, recovering from a flood that swamped the area when the Cedar River rushed over its banks early Saturday afternoon. 2000: Austin's second largest flood takes place on July 10. The Cedar River floods to about 23.4 feet, or about 8 feet higher than its banks. 2004: The area's largest flood on record hits Austin on Sept. 15. The Cedar River overflows to a record 25 feet, submerging much of North Main Street under four feet of water. The flood prompts a serious look from city officials at preparing a new flood plan. 2004: Late in the year, after the city of Austin creates a plan to seek $27 million in Local Option Sales Tax funding from the state, a committee is formed to persuade residents to support the .05 cent sales tax increase in a 2006 referendum. 2006: The referendum passes overwhelmingly in November, allowing city officials to begin flood mit-

ABOVE: A man gestures as a truck trudges through rising flood waters hauling a forklift in September 2004. The 2004 was the area’s largest flood. BELOW: Mayor Tom Stiehm cuts the ribbon, reopening Main Street North in 2014. Herald file photos

igation efforts the following year. 2007: Work begins on various flood mitigation projects, including preparations for the North Main Flood Control project which covers the Cedar River in downtown Austin. 2008: Austin gets another massive flood on June 12, the third highest on record. The Cedar River overflows its banks to about 22.4 feet. 2010: Austin gets its sixth-highest flood on record on Sept. 24 but sustains minimal damage thanks to previous flood mitigation efforts. The Cedar crests at about 20.6 feet. 2012: In summer, work on the largest portion of the North Main Flood Control project is delayed as the city works with Sinclair Oil to sort out contamination issues on a former Main Street gas station the city planned to acquire as part of the project. 2013: Work starts on the North Main Flood Control Project in December. 2014: By November, about 95 percent of the North Main Flood Control project, including new flood walls, a raised North Main Street, and new substations, are finished. 2015: The flood wall project is completed and Austin unveils the Pillars of the Community Program to recognize 76 community members. 2016: In July, the first Pillars of the Community honorees are announced: George Hormel, Jay Hormel, Dick Knowlton, Dick Schindler and Jon Erichson. On Sept. 21 and 22, Austin’s flood mitigation efforts are put to the test with a storm that drops 3 to 4 inches and more to the north.

History highlights Weather from 1991 to today •On Oct. 31, 1991, a Halloween blizzard and ice storm brings much of the state to its knees. •On June 27, 1998, strong winds hammered southeastern Minnesota during a brutal windstorm that wreaked havoc around Mower County, knocking over mobile homes and cutting power and telephone lines around the area. •On June 17, 2009, a tornado hits Austin, damaging homes and buildings, ripping up trees from their roots, flipping cars and knocking down power lines. The northern part of the city was most damaged with Todd Park and the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center among areas hardest hit. •On June 17, 2010, another storm hits the Austin area and Albert Lea and the communities on the outskirts of Austin like Blooming Prairie. But with ideal conditions for tornadoes that day, Austin residents were aware that the tornado could switch and head toward the city at any time. •In 2011 and 2012, dry conditions lead to a prolongued drought across the region. •On Sept. 5, 2012, a storm knocks out KSMQ’s primary broadcast tower. •On May 2, 2013, Austin has measurable snowfall for the first time on that date as a 9 inches of wet, heavy snow falls.

A special supplement to the AUSTIN DAILY HERALD

Celebrating 125 Years



Community/Education This story appeared in a Sept. 25, 2013, tab celebrating the opening of I.J. Holton Intermediate school.

A new era for Austin schools

I.J Holton Intermediate debuts new approach

Big changes at nature center the director/naturalist in August 2016, and forLarry Dolphin retired mer intern and Austin nafrom the Jay C. Hormel tive Luke Reese took over N a t u r e C e n t e r a f t e r the post that same month. Meanwhile, work more than 28 years as

Austin Daily Herald

Mower County sees boon from wind turbines Mower County has seen a boon with 341 wind turbines in the county, which will bring in wind production tax money. The county could get $1.5-$1.7 million a year from the credit moving forward.

continues on the $7 million interpretive center, which will feature new educational exhibits. It’s slated to open on Earth Day, April 22, 2017.

PICTURED ABOVE: An artist rendering shows the new interpretive center. PICTURED BELOW: Larry Dolphin walks through the nature center.

This story appeared on Feb. 28, 2011

School board approves year-round school at Sumner Elementary Austin Daily Herald Sumner Elementary School students will see a little more sunshine in the classroom this fall. T h e Au s t i n P u b l i c School board unanimously approved a modified calendar for Sumner and up to four sections of Woodson Kindergarten Center Monday. The modified calendar, also called a 45/15 schedule or year-round schedule, means Sumner would

start school earlier than other district schools and end at the same time as everyone else. District officials will send out inter-district enrollment letters this week to parents across Au s t i n . T h e l e t t e r s , due March 18, will give Sumner parents the ch a n c e t o o p t o u t o f the modified calendar and district parents the chance to enroll their c h i l d r e n i n S u m n e r. Once enrollment num-

bers are finalized, Sumner will plan for an August start. If there aren’t enough s t u d e n t s e n ro l l e d i n Sumner for this fall, district officials will have to go back to the board and decide whether to continue with the modified calendar. This is unlikely, as a majority of parents approve of the calendar switch according to parent survey results g a t h e r e d by S u m n e r staff.

Austin Daily Herald For the first time in decades, Austin has a new school. I.j. Holton Intermediate School opened Sept. 3, after years of planning and much last-minute preparation. The school is the product of more than two years of work by Austin Public Schools and community members in response to a growing student population. District officials learned Austin would welcome more students in 2010, after demographer Hazel Reinhardt completed a district study. Reinhardt told district officials that Austin schools would grow by more than 400 students over a five-year period, based on Mower County birth records. “I don’t think people realized the degree to which our schools increased,” said Mark Stotts, finance director. Yet the Austin Public Schools board grew concerned in November 2010 after an internal study showed all Austin schools except for Austin High School were over capacity; some schools such as Southgate Elementary had to convert closets and storage space into classrooms

to fit students. The board commissioned a facilities task force to tackle the problem by asking about 40 area educators, elected officials and community members to come up with potential solutions. “ We wanted to include the public from the very beginning,” Austin Superintendent David Krenz said. The task force worked over a four-month period to come up with the seemingly obvious answer: The district needed a new school. Stotts was the chief coordinator behind the task force and gathered necessary information for task force members. He didn’t know how the task force’s work would turn out — he has repeatedly said any answer to the district’s overcrowding issue had to come from community members — but he knew the task force would come up with constructive solutions once members realized how much of an impact an extra 400 students over a few years’ time could be. “Getting the task force to buy into the demographics study was key,” he said. “Once the task force agreed that yep, we were going to have growth, things went a lot more smoothly in terms of developing a plan.”


Austin Daily Herald


A special supplement to the AUSTIN DAILY HERALD

History highlights

Business Outgoing Hy-Vee store manager Todd Hepler takes cell phone video as an excavator tears into the main Oak Park Mall entrance in March 2016. Herald file photo

Austin’s business community has endured countless changes over the 125 years of the Austin Daily Herald, but some major ones have come in the last 25. Arguably the biggest is the sale of Oak Park Mall in 2015 to the city of Austin to build a new HyVee and work continues on the new grocery store. The mall had fallen into disrepair and ownership was frequently behind on property taxes.


Hy-Vee starts tearing down the outside of the mall Austin Daily Herald, March 25, 2016 Todd Hepler arrived outside Oak Park Mall Thursday and spoke the words that many in Austin have anticipated for several months, if not longer: “It’s coming down.” Work to turn the former Oak Park Mall space into a

new 60,000- to 90,000-squarefoot Hy-Vee grocery store took a pivotal step forward when Hy-Vee Construction took down the old front entrance of what was once the food court. “Obviously, today’s an exciting day,” Hepler said. Hy-Vee acquired the mall last November with help from the city of Austin, the

Austin Port Authority and a $3.65 million grant from The Hormel Foundation. To Hepler, people have been waiting to see action at the mall site for many years. Along with many years of hundreds of thousands of dollars in delinquent taxes, the mall’s condition and the condition of the parking lot became a

point of public contention. Early mall demolition has already caught a lot of public interest, and Hepler said many customers were out taking video of the work. “Everybody’s talking about it in the store,” he said of customers and employees. In fact, many even com-

mented to Hepler and online a few weeks ago when parts of a wall were taken down in order to remove materials from the building’s interior. “It’s real positive right now,” Hepler said. Asbestos removal and some work has already been completed inside, and officials say demolition should take four to six weeks.

Fire devastates downtown Austin Daily Herald, 2009 year in review. A fire that started in the Mi Tierra restaurant and grocery store devoured several businesses and apartments in downtown Austin on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009. There were no injuries reported during the fire, which occurred on one of the coldest days of the year, with temperatures of 15 degrees below zero. Firefighters from Albert Lea, Blooming Prairie, Brownsdale and Rose Creek battled the blaze, which ravaged the old,

two-story structures, destroyed all of Mi Tierra’s businesses and damaged several other buildings. “It is a tragic loss,” said Sandy Forstner, executive director of the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce, days after the fire. Lee Hansen, of Hansen Hauling & Excavating, Inc., and Steve Davis, owner of Steve’s Pizza were later given honorary helmets for helping the Firefighters battle a blaze that rages through several Main Street businesses in Austin firefighters. Hansen was in 2009. Several departments from around Austin joined with Austin firefighters to try called to the scene shortly and put down the fire. Herald file photo after the fire started with a backhoe to clear away easily access the fire. Da- other emergency personArson was determined some of the debris so vis was recognized for nel to use his building as a to be the cause of the fire firefighters would more allowing firefighters and warming station. in February of 2009.

Businesses found a new frontier in 1998, opening up west of the Highway 218 North and 18th Avenue Northwest intersection. A Target opened on Oct. 11. Soon after, an Applebees Neighborhood Grill and Bar opened on the opposite corner of the intersection. Staples later opened in the strip mall. The site now boasts an Aldi grocery store, JoAnn Fabrics and more. However, Staples closed in 2014 and Target closed in early 2015.

Other moves:

•In 1994 the American Disability Act, Title III was passed, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in “places of public accommodation” (businesses and non-profit agencies that serve the public) and “commercial facilities” (other businesses). New and old businesses had to be designed and constructed to ensure handicapped accessibility. •Kmart closed in 2010, and Runnings opened in the spot in 2014. •Wal-Mart opened on 18th Avenue Northwest in 2008. •In 2013, Bellisio Foods Inc. took over Austin Packaging Company after APC ownership had filed for receivership. •In 2015, Younkers remodeled its store.

A special supplement to the AUSTIN DAILY HERALD

Celebrating 125 Years

Hormel Foods celebrates past, future at 125th When Hormel Foods celebrated its 125th birthday throughout 2016, it had a lot to celebrate. Hormel Foods Corp.’s 2015 sales at around $9.3 billion, up from about $2.8 billion in 1991, Chairman of the Board Jeffrey Ettinger said it’s been an exciting time to watch the company grow.


History highlights

Hormel celebrates history

Austin Daily Herald


Hormel & QPP •In 1991, Hormel celebrated 100 years. •In 1993, the name of Geo. A. Hormel & Co. officially changed to Hormel Foods Corp. Joel Johnson succeeded Richard Knowlton as president and CEO. •In 2000, Hormel acquired The Turkey Store, which was combined with Jennie-O Foods to form Jennie-O Turkey Store.

“So substantial growth,” Ettinger said. “Some of the mainstay items are still doing great for the company, including Spam or Hormel Pepperoni or Cure 81 Hams, but we clearly have added a lot of new franchises over the last 25 years as well.” The company added brands like Skippy and Muscle Milk, while continuing to innovate and move forward.

•In 2001, the Spam Museum opens on North Main Street, but its grand opening is put on hold following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C., and rescheduled for 2002.

LEFT: The new Spam Museum opened downtown in April 2016. TOP RIGHT: Fireworks burst overhead, wrapping up the Hormel’s 125th anniversary celebration in July 2016. BOTTOM LEFT: Kimberly Perry with brothers Reid, right, and Neil Perry perform during The Band Perry’s performance in July during the 125th anniversary celebration. BOTTOM RIGHT: Gary and Meridee Ofstedahl interact with one of the displays at the Spam Museum in July following the grand opening ceremony. Herald file photos

•In 2006, more than a dozen workers at Quality Pork Processors were diagnosed with a mysterious neurological disorder called progressive inflammatory neuropathy (PIN) after being exposed to brain tissue at the “head table” of the Austin plant. QPP was one of three hog processing facilities in the United States that utilized the method of compressed air to remove pigs’ brains. On Nov. 29, 2006, former and current workers affected by PIN demonstrated outside QPP, claiming the facility is not respecting their medical restrictions or processing their workers’ compensation claims. • In 2006, Hormel announced in November that president and CEO Jeff Ettinger would be the company’s new chairman, replacing former president and CEO Joel Johnson, who retired. •In 2011, Hormel Foods introduced Spammy, a fortified, shelf-stable turkey spread to help address childhood. •In 2012, The Spam brand celebrated its 75 years with a celebration and the introduction of the character Sir Can A-Lot. •In 2013, Hormel Foods acquired Skippy peanut butter, introduced Rev Wraps and celebrated the 50th anniversary of Hormel Cure 81 ham brand.

75 years, $197 million other $15 million in major projects for a total of $22.1 million. In 1941, The Hormel FoundaOver 75 years to follow, The tion made its first donation of Hormel Foundation has given $10 to Ducks Unlimited. In 2015, $197 million to the Austin comit donated $7.1 million in annual munity. The Foundation celeappropriations along with an- brated its birthday too in 2016. Austin Daily Herald

Hormel Foundation Chairman Gary Ray cuts a ribbon in September 2016 to commemorate The Foundation’s 75th anniversary. Herald file photos

•In 2014, Hormel acquired CytoSport Holdings Inc., maker of Muscle Milk and later announced Spammy research results •In 2015, Hormel acquired Applegate Farms and named James Snee as president. •In 2016, Hormel’s Snee became CEO and Ettineger retired, while remaining chairman of the board. Hormel acquires Justin’s LLC. The new Spam Museum opens.


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A special supplement to the AUSTIN DAILY HERALD

Law enforcement

County builds new justice center Austin Daily Herald Mower County closed the book on its largest — and potentially most controversial — construction project in 2010. After about 16 months of construction, the $28 million Mower County Jail and Justice Center was completed and opened to tours on Sept. 11 and 13. “This was the largest undertaking

Mower County has ever done, and we’re coming in on time and on budget,” said County Board Chairman Ray Tucker in September. “It should be a real good service to the people of Mower County.” In mid-September, the courts and the offices for court administration, the county attorney and correctional services moved to the

new justice center. The jail followed a few months later with inmates moving to the new jail on Dec. 27. The move came after years of debate about whether a new jail was needed and whether the facility should be located downtown or near the airport. “It got pretty ugly,” County Coordinator Craig Oscarson said.

Local, state officials step up war on meth Austin Daily Herald In 2004, state Sen. Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin, along with Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi, lobbied the Minnesota Legislature not to ignore the availability of tools in making methamphetamines. It was a war on meth, and the Austin city officials were involved in it. Prevention and production of the drug was on top of every Austin and Mower County official’s list. They won with the state government — it depends on who you ask if whether or not they have won the war on meth. There’s no argument, however, that crime came with meth in Austin and rural Mower County. C o u n t l e s s m a nu f a c turing arrests, countless dealing arrests, countless possession arrests and countless child endangerment arrests all followed the introduction of this powerful, addictive drug. One well-known Austin meth related case occurred was the January 2001 flash fire and explosion at a

Two killed in 2009 bus crash on I-90

A day at the casino ended in tragedy when two people were killed and 20 others were injured Nov. 18, 2009, when a tour bus rolled over west of Austin. The crash occurred two

Two men convicted in drug killing

southwest Austin home. James Chilson died from severe burns over his body when he and two others attempted to dump meth ingredients down a basement drain after being surprised by the appearance of an Austin Police Department squad car in an alley behind the home. At the time, a police officer was visiting friends and not aware of what was going on in the residence where Chilson was burned. Chilson and two others panicked at the sight of the police. It was later revealed that a flame from a gas water heater or the meth producers’ own lit cigarettes could have ignited the flammable chemicals being used to make meth. Two men were later charged and convicted in connection to the death. At the time of the fatal flash fire explosion in 2001, Chilson’s live-in girlfriend and her 4-year-old son, home at the time of the fire, escaped injury. The case made history in Minnesota and brought to the forefront the dangers of meth to individuals, par-

ticularly children. Three years later officials reflected upon the first arrest made under Minnesota’s new stricter meth laws. “There was nothing we could do,” Sheriff Amazi said about times before suspected drug traffickers got away. Carrying ingredients to produce meth was made illegal. Those possessing ingredients with the intent to make meth were arrested and prosecuted, all in the name of prevention. That same year for the first time in Minnesota’s history, three people were charged with siphoning anhydrous ammonia from tanks left in fields or farm supply stores. Used to produce meth, the highly flammable liquid puts people at risk for quick money to make drugs. In 2002, thanks to a Mower County Sheriff ’s Deputy, one of the largest seizures of methamphetamine drugs was made after a routine traffic stop. While on patrol along Mower County No. 61 north of the Jay C. Hormel

Nature Center, the deputy recognized a vehicle and its driver, who was wanted on an active warrant. The driver and his passenger pulled over. When they exited the vehicle and moved to the rear of the car, the deputy noticed them place something above a back tire. When the deputy investigated, he discovered a quarter pound of the drug — the purest form called “ice,” with an estimated street value of $11,000. In 2004, police discovered a meth lab in one of Austin’s busiest neighborhoods. A search of a home in northwest Austin fond precursors of the drug in the basement. The corner home was located across the street from a large day care and only four blocks from St. Augustine Catholic Church, elementary school and Austin High School. This search reminded others of the deadly 2001 flash fire after a meth lab was discovered. The home was a duplex and could have easily produced the

same results. Important to note in the 2004 lab bust was the safety of the residences near and around the lab on the busy street. Not only the concern for an explosion, but for those cleaning up the lab after the discovery. “What was this? Maybe, the 11th or 12th drug lab firefighters have gone into in the also three or four years?” said fire chief Dan Wilson. “Our people have their self-contained breathing apparatuses to protect them, but think of this lady, she was living there while they were manufacturing the drug in the basement.” Meth leaves devastating effects on users and their family. The community also gets it’s own fair share of scares from meth related crimes and arrests — over-crowded jails, home burglaries for money to buy the drugs, unproductive work force and children without parents. Prevention and stricter laws has been top on the officials lists for years since the drug entered into rural Minnesota — and it remains with education.

miles west of Austin on I-90. The bus, operated by Strain Motor Coach Company in Rochester, was retur ning from the Diamond Jo Casino in Iowa when it crossed the center median, two westbound lanes and went into the ditch on the north side

of the freeway. The bus overturned in the ditch, coming to rest on its side. The driver, 52-year-old Ed Erickson, of Elgin, Minnesota, suffered an apparent aneurysm in his chest and lost consciousness shortly before the crash. Killed in the crash were

Rhonda Hill, 52, of Plainview, Minnesota, and Pamela Holmquist, 56, of Kasson, Minnesota. “This is a truly tragic event,” Capt. Matt Langer of the State Patrol said. “Everyone was retur ning from what was likely an enjoyable outing. Our

thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.” No charges were filed, and the driver’s medical condition was determined to be the cause of the crash.

Ten gunshots fatally killed 18-year-old Michael Hjelman on July 15, 1997. Steven Erickson, 22 and James Iverson, 21, were charged in his death. Iverson pleaded guilty to second degree murder in January 1998. Erickson was charged 10 months after Hjelman’s death in a jury trial of first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and theft of handguns. The two had stolen guns from a house after a three-day drinking party. At 2 p.m. on July 15, they changed into black clothing, loaded ammunition into the weapons, drove to Hjelman’s house and shot him to death. Their motive for the killing was over a theft of a quarter pound of marijuana that Erickson had not paid for from Hjelman. Witnesses testified at the trial that Erickson had heard rumors of a “hit” placed on him by Hjelman. Erickson was sentenced to life in prison at the St. Cloud Correctional Institute. Iverson was sentenced to 37 years in prison. One of the defense attorneys at the time, Gregory Colby, said, “When you look at this case, the several days of partying and the to mix in those guns ... sheer disaster. I don’t think kids realize how dangerous a situation like this can be.”

—Austin Daily Herald

—Austin Daily Herald

A special supplement to the AUSTIN DAILY HERALD

Celebrating 125 Years



Law enforcement/Health

Dayton signs bill spurred by Dexter child-chainers Austin Daily Herald On April 18, 2012, a piece of legislation that had become known as the child abuse bill sat freshly signed by Gov. Mark Dayton at the state capitol in St. Paul. “It’s a great day,” Dayton announced as he passed out pens from the signing. “I’m proud to sign the bill.” Dexter parents Brian and Charity Miller were convicted of chaining their then 5-year-old son to his crib and withholding food and bathroom access from him and his 8-year-old brother. They could only be charged with a gross misdemeanor because of the old law’s need for “substantial” bodily harm. The new bill, which local legislators penned and Mower County officials helped push through, rewords the “demonstrable Brian Miller and his wife Charity Miller, center and right, make their way into court during their trial. Herald file photo

Capt. Curt Rude captures headlines in ‘08 Austin Daily Herald No story drew more emotion, attention or controversy in 2008 than our Story of the Year: Austin Police Capt. Curt Rude’s criminal charges and election to the school board. In a hotly-contested election with a platform to address alleged staff reductions and micromanagement of superintendent Candace Raskin, Rude was elected to the board with the second-most votes ever in a school board election.

On the night of the election, Dec. 6, 2007, Rude allegedly took two bottles of the prescription drug OxyContin — which had belonged to his friend and former KAALTV reporter Mark Johnson, who allegedly died from an overdose — from the police department’s evidence room. He was later charged with felony theft, felony fifth-degree controlled substance crime and gross misdemeanor interference with property in official custody. Rude made his first appear-

ance in Mower County Court Jan. 7, 2008, when he pleaded not guilty to the charges. That same day, Rude was elected to clerk on the school board during their first meeting of the year. “I feel extremely gratified to be elected clerk,” Rude told media crowded at the courthouse and district administration conference room Jan. 7. “Your mere presence here will be a distraction,” board member Kathy Green told Rude.

Board members Don Fox, Diana Wangsness and incumbent Dick Lees supported Rude throughout his ordeal; they were referred to as the majority “bloc” during the election. “I hope we are not punishing students before they are guilty,” Lees said. Despite a petition asking Rude to resign or go on leave and public protest during meetings earlier in the year, Rude maintained his post on the board throughout the year.

McIntosh charged with murdering Madison Austin Daily Herald The case that gripped the city of Austin for more than a week in early November of 2015 is far from over. It all started when David Madison, 39, was found murdered on Nov. 1, 2015, in the Cedar River along Highway 105 south of Austin. A

medical examiner found Madison died of “non-accidental blunt head trauma and ligature strangulation,” according to court documents. That started a week that included police blocking off a home in northeast Austin and a home on South Main Street, which the Minne-

sota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension searched for evidence. At the end of the week, Michael McIntosh, 37, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty.  In the weeks leading to his death, Madison reportedly told people he feared McIn-

tosh wanted to harm him after tension formed between the men after Madison slept with McIntosh’s girlfriend while McIntosh was in jail for prior charges, according to court documents. Macintosh is still awaiting trial. He faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison if convicted.

bodily harm” clause to hold a midterm tier separate from “substantial bodily harm.” The new tier is punishable by two years in prison and up to a $4,000 fine, in contrast with five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for “substantial” bodily harm. Both are felonies. Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi said the bill would ensure any cases like the Millers’ would be treated as felonies in the future. “Hopefully it doesn’t have to be used,” she added at the time. Gail Loverink, of Mower County Human Services, asked Dayton for not one but two signing pens. Their recipients would be the two young Dexter boys whose child restraint case had brought the bill to life. Loverink said it was a form of closure for the children.

This is a portion of a story published Jan. 6, 2013.

$28M expansion unveiled to medical center staff Austin Daily Herald Mayo Clinic Health System-Albert Lea and Austin has officially completed the first phase of the expansion project at its Austin hospital. Local Mayo administrators, staff, and community representatives gathered inside the Austin location F r i d ay t o t a ke i n a sneak preview of the $28million, 85,600-square-foot expansion,which will open to the public (along with the main entrance)Monday. “It prepares Austin to move ahead and be the leader in healthcare moving forward,” said Dr. Mark Ciota,CEO of Mayo Clinic Health System- Albert Lea and Austin. The expansion itself

is complete, and will open in three segments as clinic staff get situated. Starting Monday, the expansion’s lower level and first floor will be open,which includes the hospital’s Rehabilitation Services,Orthopedics, Podiatry, Pain Clinic, Eye Center, retail pharmacy, the Mayo Clinic store and Jazzman’s, a coffee shop. The expansion’s third floor, housing OB/GYN, Family Medicine and Internal Medicine,will open on Jan. 14,while the second floor, housing Family Medicine, will open Jan. 21. The expansion is a welcome addition for clinic staff,who are glad patients won’t have as difficult a time navigating the Austin hospital’s floors to find the right department.

Large fight breaks out at Austin High School Austin Daily Herald A “large-scale fight” that included dozens of people brawling in the street outside Austin High School and repeated acts of violence, while onlookers took video and encouraged the participants to fight broke out Sept. 28, resulting in brief lock downs at Austin High School.

The incident started when AHS liaison officer Jim Lunt heard screaming and found a large gathering of students screaming and yelling. Austin police and Mower County deputies responded around 3:15 p.m. to AHS after the fights and a report of a suspect with a gun near the school’s west entrance. An investigation found the

fight may have stemmed from a prior fight between high school girls, which resulted in the adults gathering and the eventual “riot.” Odell Dorrea McCullough, 27, was charged with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and second-degree rioting with a dangerous weapon — both felonies. After initially plead-

ing not guilty, he changed his plea to guilty for second-degree rioting with a dangerous weapon on Dec. 18. Angel Alicia McCullough, 30, and Willie J.M. Brunt, 27, both pleaded not guilty to charges of felony second-degree rioting with a dangerous weapon and misdemeanor assault with a dangerous weapon.

Rod Nordeng, Vice President of Operations, Mayo Clinic Health System - Albert Lea and Austin, cuts the ribbon on the new expansion on Jan. 4, 2016. Herald file photo


Austin Daily Herald


A special supplement to the AUSTIN DAILY HERALD

Austin soldiers

Local soldiers join War on Terror Austin Daily Herald Throughout Austin’s long history, there have been many Remembrance Days. Every time a soldier left to fight another war in America’s history, families used prayer to remember their loved ones and guide them home with the help of angels. No one received more of those prayers than the men and women of the National Guard in recent history.

Uncle Sam called men, women often in last 150 years

The Minnesota National Guard’s history runs deep into Austin’s history. As far back as the U.S. Civil War and continuing through today’s global conflicts, Minnesota citizen soldiers have served their country with honor. Seven citizen soldiers from the local Minnesota Army National Guard unit fought in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Thirteen years later, the entire company of soldiers based in Austin was preparing for deployment overseas in 2004. They returned — all of them — in 2005, but 13 other soldiers from the Austin unit were deployed to various units fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Middle East.

Who knows how many more will be sent overseas in harm’s way in the name of fighting terrorism. According to the Mower County Historical Society’s “Mill On The Willow” history book, the Mower County Guards, Company K, 4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, left Austin in October 1861 and joined the 3rd Minnesota Regiment at Fort Snelling. A year later, it saw its first battle in Mississippi in September 1862. Six Austin soldiers were wounded. The first local National Guard company, Company G, was organized in 1882 as a cavalry troop. A year later it was reassigned as a part of the 135th Infantry Regiment, Minnesota National Guard. Company G volunteered for duty in the Spanish American War in 1898. The war ended before the soldiers saw combat duty and the soldiers were mustered out of service. The Minnesota National Guard was ordered to prepare for combat in 1916, when the Mexican-American Border War broke out. In February 1917, they returned home as heroes. Company G was successfully enlisting soldiers after the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917 or soon after the Spanish American War’s soldiers had returned from

Pfc. Jaclyn Edge hugs her little sister Jasmine in front of a wall layered with colored Support Your Troops ribbons at the National Guard Armory in Austin as the third group of troops with Bravo Company, 434th Main Support Battalion returned home. Herald file photo the Mexico border. The “Great War to end all wars” also required Austin men. President Woodrow Wilson called the Minnesota National Guard into federal service in June 1917. After the war, the citizen-soldiers returned home to their families, jobs and friends. But soon enough another generation of citizen soldiers was called to serve their country. On Feb. 25, 1941 for the fourth time in 59 years, Austin’s citizen soldiers of the National Guard boarded a train to fight another war. After the United States declared war and World War II officially got underway in

December that year, the Company H soldiers performed southern coastal defense duties off the Louisiana coast. Company H soldiers sailed for Europe in April 1942. In North Africa, the soldiers faced the elite Afrika Corps troops of Nazi Germany. During 44 months of World War II, the Company H soldiers saw combat for 600 days. Approximately 1,100 men passed through Company H during World War II. Of the original 84 solders who left Austin as part of the company, 19 returned home. Late in 1950, Company H began preparing for active duty during the Korean Conflict. The company was called

into active duty in January 1951. After being brought up to fighting strength, the company’s men were split up during the Korean Conflict. After the war, the company was redesignated a Combat Support Company. It would forever return its signature “Red Bull” division insignia that has set it apart from all other military units. Fast-forward to Operation Desert Storm and seven of its soldiers volunteered for combat duty in the Middle East, when Iraq’s leader, Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait. But no other conflict would require the services of more National Guard soldiers than the Bush Administration’s Operation Iraqi Freedom after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America. From 2004 to 2006, National Guard soldiers from Austin had been deployed to join Coalition Forces in Iraq.

Homecoming reunites soldiers, families

Two dozen Bravo Company, 434th Main Support Battalion (it has since been redesignated), Minnesota National Guard soldiers arrived home in Austin on a Tuesday night (Oct. 26) in 2005. They were welcomed by a crowd estimated at over 300 people at the National Guard Armory.

Eighteen months earlier, the Bravo Company soldiers’ unit was mobilized for deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom. They left families and jobs to serve their country. Coming home was something to be savored. Hans Gilbert admitted the homecoming was “pretty surreal.” He was one of the Bravo Company soldiers standing in the middle of the armory’s drill hall, while over 100 people shook hands, shed tears, and crushed them in hugs. “Support Our Troops” yellow ribbons and hand-made signs decorated by the soldiers’ families adorned other walls. Outside the armory that Autumn night in 2005 over 200 people waited for the arrival of the soldiers. Although members of the unit suffered wounds, all arrived home alive. By the year’s end, every Bravo Company soldiers had returned home. The city, with the urging of the local Family Readiness Group, had embraced the soldiers like no other time and the return home was marked with celebrations and welcoming gestures. Meanwhile, one by one, more Austin citizen soldiers were deployed to Iraq. One here, another there until 13 men and women were gone from the community.

Memorial ‘will be here forever’ Austin Daily Herald To d at e, t h e M owe r County Veterans Memorial has sold more than 1,115 pavers recognizing soldiers for their service, well past the goal of 1,056 pavers. Mower County Veterans Memorial Committee Presi-

dent Norm Hecimovich said veterans will always have a place to be recognized. “It’s well worth it,” he said of the memorial. “It’s something that will be here for forever.” The veterans memorial plans date to the early 1990s with a memorial wall that honors all the Mower

County veterans who lost their lives in U.S. wars. The first pieces were installed in 1993. But Hecimovich and others wanted something to honor all veterans, including those who served and returned home. The idea for pavers was bor n, but Hecimovich

LEFT: A bronze statue is one of the centerpieces of the Mower County Veteran’s Memorial.

thought 1,056 was a big — if not impossible — goal. The first were installed in 2010 before the committee reached its goal and celebrated Patriot Day, Sept. 11, 2015. In 2016, the committee announced it had space for 1,156 and plans for expansion so no veteran was ever turned away.

A special supplement to the AUSTIN DAILY HERALD

History highlights •In 2000, Austin only had to wait five hours for the first birth of the new millenium. At 5:11 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2000, Tierney Severson of Austin gave birth to a healthy 8 pound, 7-ounce baby boy. Her son, Grey, was 20 inches tall at birth. Grey was greeted by grandparents Robin and Randy South of Austin. Hospital staff at Austin Medical Center presented the newborn and his mother with a gift basket, and Grey received a lifetime subscription to the Austin Daily Herald. •In 2006, Mayor Bonnie Rietz, who had been the mayor of Austin for the last 10 years, announced in May that she would not seek re-election. Prior to her time as mayor, Rietz was a city council member for eight years. In November, voters elected Tom Stiehm, a retired Austin police detective, to replace Rietz. He defeated City Council member Norm Hecimovich, who said following the election that he will retire from elected office in 2009 after his current council term expires. Newcomers Jeff Austin and John Patrick Martin were also elected to their first terms on the city council. •In 2008, Austin’s own Angela McDermott won the Miss Minnesota pageant in June and competed for the Miss America crown later that year. According to her mother Jean, McDermott, 23, was crowned following tornado warnings at Eden Prairie High School’s Performing Arts Center.

Celebrating 125 Years



Community & Entertainment

Film about P-9 strike wins Oscar desire to relive the events of nearly half a decade beAustin residents had good fore, Kopple’s presentation reason to take special inter- of their story had caught est in the 63rd annual Acad- the nation’s attention. The emy Awards in 1990. Up for Hormel Company had cut an Oscar that year for Best workers’ wages despite an Feature Documentary, along extremely profitable year for with four other nominees, the company, and the local was director Barbara Kop- labor union decided to fight ple’s “American Dream,” to keep their wages by going which chronicled the Hor- on strike. But as the strike mel strike of the mid-1980s. wore on, the need to feed Although those featured their families began to draw in the film surely had no people across the picket lines Austin Daily Herald

and back to work. Through interviews, news clips and candidly filmed events, Kopple documented the conflicts not only between company and worker, but also among friends and families and within the union itself. In an interview with John Hall of Boston University, Kopple explained her desire to present the issues fairly. “It’s really important to me to let people speak, to let people be heard. What I try to do

in this film is to put the audience in a position of trying to figure out what they would do if they were faced with this kind of crisis in their lives.” Terrence Rafferty of The New Yorker called Kopple’s documentary a “masterpiece of social art,” even comparing it to a great novel. And a masterpiece it had proven itself, winning several awards in addition to its 1990 Oscar win. Among

its awards were the Grand Jury Prize, the Filmmaker’s Trophy and the Audience Award at the 1990 Sundance Film Festival. In the Boston University interview, Kopple equated the Academy Award recognition to playing in the Super Bowl. “All that pain, and all that long time that you’re out there, suddenly people are in some way recognizing what you’re doing. It’s very powerful.”

Austin’s arts bonanza Austin Daily Herald

It started in 2012 with Austin ArtWorks Festival and blossomed into an annual concert and new arts center. Five years after that inaugural arts festival at the downtown Austin Municipal Plant, the events are still going strong. In 2013, the festival added an annual concert — now called the Dick Schindler Memorial Concert — and kicked off big with Cloud Cult and Martin Zellar of the Gear Daddies. The Austin Area Commission for the arts would open the Austin ArtWorks Center at 300 N. Main St. in 2014. Austin ArtWorks Center Director Jennie Knoebel cuts the ribbon during the grand opening for the center. Herald file photo

Amanda Hocking hits the big time Austin Daily Herald In 2012, Amanda Hocking was a 27-year-old millionaire author who published her first book almost two years before. Yet there’s a big difference between the Austinite and other authors: Hocking published her nov-

els online, a risky move for an aspiring writer. That risk brought big rewards as she became a do-it yourself success story and an inspiration to writers around the world. All the fame came as a surprise to her, however. “It feels weird. It’s super, super weird,” Hocking said

in March. “It’s weird because I live here. I still do. My life is so normal.” Hocking, who was born and raised in Austin, is a paranor mal romance author who writes about anything from vampires to trolls to witches and zombies.

Molly Kate Kestner finds fame after song goes viral Molly Kate Kestner flirted with fame as an Austin High School senior in 2014 after the video for her song “His Daughter” went viral. The YouTube video was viewed more than 850,000 times in the first two weeks and more than 11.4 million times since it was posted on

April 20, 2014. The song is a gospel-like tune with a haunting story and captured attention from across the globe since Kestner shared it on her YouTube page. Kestner made her national television debut when she appeared on ABC’s “World News With Diane Sawyer” and “Good Morning America.” She later released the song on iTunes.


Austin Daily Herald


History highlights Sports from 1991 to today •In 1991, the Pacelli boys basketball team wins the District 2A title. •In 1993, Austin native Scott Delaney became a national champion at the Northern Plains Wrestling Tournament, winning first in the 115-pound freestyle and second in the 115-pound Greco-Roman competition. •In 2004, the Austin High School girls basketball team qualified for state, ending a 28-year drought. •In 2004, Austin wrestler T.J. Parlin won his second straight 130-pound state title and Austin’s 16th individual state title. •In 2009, the Austin High School’s boys soccer team made school history by reaching the state tournament. Austin finished 14-6 overall in a year that saw 14 different players score goals. •In 2010, the Austin Bruins junior hockey team starts its first season. The team has logged winning seasons in six of its seven seasons, won three Central Division titles and reached the Robertson Cup Finals twice. • In 2015, the Lyle-Pacelli girls basketball team, a team that once struggled to win, reached the state tournament and fell a game shy of the Class A championship game, losing a heart-breaker 54-53. •In 2016, the Austin dance team takes fourth place in the Class AA state finals in its 14th state meet.

A special supplement to the AUSTIN DAILY HERALD


Packers play for title Austin Daily Herald The Austin Packer boys basketball team fell one game short of their ultimate 2013 goal: A state title. The team still managed to put forth a historic run that captivated thousands of Austin fans all season. The boys finished 30-1 overall and won 30 games in a row over the course of the season that saw the team play its first game Dec. 1, 2012, and its last game March 23, 2013. Along with a perfect regular season, the boys won their second-straight Big Nine title and took second place in the Class AAA state tour nament after losing 50-33 to a loaded De LaSalle squad. The Packers took their fans through a postseason roller coaster ride, as the team had a flare for the dramatic. Austin narrowly beat Winona in the Section 1AAA semifinals 51-49. Top-seeded Austin trailed by as many as 11 in the first half and was tied at

Winona had three players closing on the ball with the other two streaking down to the other end of the court in anticipation of a turnover. Instead, Wessels dove forward and tipped the ball past Winona’s defenders into the hands of Ajuda Nywesh, who drove for a layup with four seconds left. Au s t i n t h e n n e e d e d overtime to beat Red Wing in the section finals. The boys beat the Blake School 59-56 in the first round of state. They again needed overtime to beat Marshall on their way to the state title game. The 68-65 win over Marshall in the Class AAA semifinals in a game that had seven ties, 18 lead changes and neither team led by more than six. They would go on to lose to De La Salle in the championship game. Austin had a balanced attack throughout the year, as the outside shooting touch Austin fans cheer after the Packers defeated Red Wing for the Section 1AAA championship of Joe Aase complimented at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester. Herald file photo the playmaking of Wessels 49-49 with time for one last a disaster as Austin point footing and the ball one step and the inside play of Tom play. That play looked to be guard Zach Wessels lost his inside the halfcourt line. Aase.

GM wins 3 straight titles Austin Daily Herald Grand Meadow senior Michael Stejskal was just a freshman when the Superlarks had their hearts broken in a state championship loss back in 2012, but little did he know GM was about to be taking over the nine man football scene in Minnesota. Stejskal was a wide receiver on the GM team that won state in 2013 and he was the quarterback for

the state champion Superlarks in 2014. The 2015 state title run was the toughest of the three for the Superlarks as GM faced deficits in the state semifinals and state finals. It was Stejskal who made the biggest play of the state title game when he found Terrell Rieken in the back of the end zone for a 12-yard TD pass on fourth and three to put the state championship away in a 34-20 win over Underwood.

Grand Meadow’s Michael Stejskal celebrates a touchdown with Connor King in Grand Meadow’s 52-14 win over Cleveland in New Prague in 2015 playoffs. GM would go on to win state. Herald file photo

Mullenbach wins 2016 all-around title

Austin junior Maddie Mullenbach came through with a consistently spectacular performance on Feb. 20, 2016, as she got on the podium five times and grabbed two state titles at the Minnesota Class A Gymnastics Meet in the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis. En route to an allaround title, she took first on the balance beam, third in the floor, and she took fourth in the vault and bars. She followed Sela Fadness as Austin’s second all-around state champ. —Austin Daily Herald

The Austin Daily Herald Celebrates 125 Years  

Take a look back through the archives of the Austin Daily Herald

The Austin Daily Herald Celebrates 125 Years  

Take a look back through the archives of the Austin Daily Herald