Reviving memories with a Progress editionPublished 9:25am Friday, April 8, 2011
Column: Between the Corn Rows
During the years I’ve been involved with the Tribune, there have been 26 annual Progress or Profile editions. In reality, the real total is 45 with the first Progress being published in early 1966 and the latest one for this year dated Feb. 27. And as I mentioned in last week’s column, the Profile issues were from 1993 to 2005.
My first involvement with this journalistic project was in 1985. That year the four extra sections of the Sunday Tribune were dated March 29. Now, just for the heck of it, here are some highlights from this 1985 Progress edition.
Section A was based on area communities and agri business. My part of this section consisted of articles and photos of businesses and people in New Richland, Wells, Hollandale, Freeborn, Mansfield, Ellendale and Maple Island. All this involved lots of time and travel. However, at that time I was a full-time Tribune staff member.
During the Ellendale visit, I happened to see a large bus parked on a side street. This vehicle was a bookmobile. I went into this traveling library, took a photo, and interviewed the two operators. From them I found out this bookmobile was sponsored by Southeastern Libraries Cooperating (SELCO) and based in Owatonna. In early 1985 this bookmobile was making bi-weekly stops in Ellendale, Emmons, Twin Lakes, Conger, Alden, Albert Lea’s Good Samaritan Society, Glenville, Hayward, Oakland, Hollandale, Clarks Grove, Manchester, Freeborn, Hartland, Litomysl, Hope and Geneva.
By the way, when did this traveling library concept cease operations?
Section B was based on auto, financial, industrial and real estate topics. My part consisted of articles and photos of the local Trades and Labor Assembly organization, Lea Foods (now Cargill), Enderes, Vasco, Becker Hi-Way Frate and Vinylex. That last firm was then a producer of plastic drainage tubing and located near the grain elevator south of New Richland.
Section C had entertainment, medical and retail themes. For this section I had no bylined articles and a few photos. One of those photos was of a young lady, a student at Michael’s Scientific School of Cosmetology on East Clark Street, in a sun tan lounger. This 36-bulb European-style tanning unit was reportedly the first of its type in the state.
The themes for Section D were church, education, real estate and retail. By the way, there’s no error with my listings for these Progress sections. For some now unknown reason, retail and real estate themes were listed twice each.
Back in that era one of my major news coverage assignments was based on county government. Thus, I could feature the county’s new telephone system, the new elevator located between the 1887 courthouse structure and the north annex, and the completion of an annex to the Freeborn County Highway Department building on North Bridge Avenue near Bancroft. (That elevator and the north annex no longer exist.)
Helping with these and other topics were Truman Thrond, then the county administrator, and the late Commissioner Arnold Biedermann, county board chairman that year.
Another of my contributions for this section was an article and photos based on Lou-Rich Machine Tools Inc. of Hayward. The name of this then new firm was based on the co-owners and founders, Lou (Louis) Larson and Richard (Dick) Ackland.
While I was in Hayward that spring, I also covered two other topics.
One was the planned conversion of the community’s former elementary school building into a furniture factory and retail outlet for a Grafton, Iowa, firm. Sadly, this project never became a reality.
The other topic was about the Hayward Hardware and its Bear’s Den room operated by Leo and Sara Aeikens.
Included with Section D were five full pages of Down Through the Years which has always been an interesting and informative part of the Progress and Profile editions.
One of the full page ads in Progress ‘85 was for the new Northbridge Mall scheduled to open in a month or two later. Another full page ad was for County Market that replaced Boyd & Jack’s. Still another full page ad in this edition featured the board and staff of the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce. And the fourth full page ad was for Farmstead Foods, the firm that replaced Wilson & Co.
In next week’s column we’ll have the complete answer to one of those mystery photos featured in the April 3 issue.
Ed Shannon’s column has been appearing in the Tribune every Friday since December 1984.