Looking back at newsworthy events in 1968

Ken Hadland with a 1,200 lb. polar bear and other trophy animals in the Wild Life Ark.
By : 
Mary Jo Dathe

As goals and aims are reviewed each year by the "powers that be," there is always looking ahead to what the future may hold -- new industry to provide jobs, housing developments, pride in our new and improved educational facilities, quality of life and so on.  Just for fun, let us instead take a look back 50 years and see what changes took place in 1968 that impacted our present day.  Names may be unfamiliar to some readers; for others we may stir memories and recognition of people and places.

News on the scene as reported by the Tribune included the following: Harold Biel sold his lots on East Main and relocated to Highway 16 East.  Reed's Tamarack Diner was open on South Broadway for its second year.  Northwest Aluminum opened a store in the former Leisen Appliance on North Broadway. Mrs. Paul Bartz in the Valley Hotel sold out.  Alinks sold their clothing store to the Thor Jorgensons and Roy Nelsons, to open as Jornels on North Broadway.  Fred Bicknese, a grocery man since 1939, retired, and Buster Johnson took over Bicknese Food Store on South Broadway.  Rudy Rozendal sold his locker plant on Pleasant Avenue to John Kraut who also opened a retail meat section in the locker.  Gordon Peterson and Jim Hruska bought Atwood Motor and changed the name to Peterson Motors.  Bill Barry's Plumbing & Heating Shop was south of the library, changing hands.  Wally and Ann Osland purchased Jorris Funeral Home, a Jorris family business for 64 years.  Catherine Horsman was at the HiWay Cafe, Mrs. Harvey at the Coffee Shop, and Delores Calhoun at the Friendly Inn (one of the businesses that was torn down east of the library.)  Sellers of snowmobiles included Roy East, Dennis Hillesland and Bob Jones.  North of town, Spring Valley Caverns opened in March.

Allen's Hall, c. 1875, on South Section was demolished to make room for creamery expansion.  The old city jail on East Courtland was taken down for light plant expansion.  Dr. Lee Podoll left for military service; Dr. Robert Snyder came in at the Spring Valley Clinic.  Attorney Paul Cross died after 16 years in business, and Jim Bork bought his law practice.  Bill Turgeon was appointed new fertilizer manager at Rendahl & Highum Elevator on Market Street.  The old UBC (United Building Center) lumber yard, once Burgess Lumber, on South Section was demolished.  A campground was established at the city park, and was soon heavily used by transients.  Home Federal remodeled its facade and interior, making a big change on Broadway.

News at the local churches:  St. Ignatius' new building was completed on South Washington at a cost of $130,000.  There was a story in the paper about the Assembly of God church in the old Lobdill stable on Church Street.  Three churches:  United Church of Christ, Evangelical United Brethren, and the Methodist Church merged; the Rev. John Payne was called as pastor of the new Faith United Methodist Church.  Visitation pastor for only one year at Our Saviors Lutheran, the Rev. Oluf Langehough, died.  Dr. Martin Luther church east of town celebrated its 100th anniversary.

News at school:  Teachers were enjoying their new salaries set in 1967: $5,350 beginning, with a max of $9,095 after 11 step advancement.  King & Churchill operated 11 school buses carrying 775 students, more than half the 1,300 total.  Spring Valley football team won the Maple Leaf Conference championship --- the year before the track team won the conference title the third year in a row.  The school was praised for a good ag program and a new basic metals program was to be added.

Other news:  Folks were still reeling from the impact of Hanna Mines closing down in 1967, which had affected 150 employees.  Spring Valley merchants were dismayed on hearing that Rochester retailers planned to remain open on Sundays --- greed was cited.  Fillmore County announced plans to build a county airport west of Preston, and there was talk that maybe Spring Valley should have its own airport.  Ken and Curt Hadland's 370 species H & H Wildlife Mobile Museum was touring the county to acclaim.  Spring Valley Sportsmen's Club was developing plans for its 15-acre park with ponds south of town to include a clubhouse, archery and rifle ranges, and pistol, trap and skeet shooting areas.  The community organized a benefit for victims of the Charles City, Iowa, tornado.  The federal government announced a new Green Thumb program for rural areas where eligible retirees could work for non-profits to earn $1.60 an hour.  The summer Corn Days event was enjoyed by 3,300 attendees, and the city fathers were still “exploring" the suggestion to rebuild the old Lake George site west of town to control flooding.

Of course there was much more going on in the community, but the above items were considered newsworthy and are only highlights from coverage by the Tribune reporters.  So be it!