Looking Back

Compiled by Joan Isaacs from the files of the Deer River Newspapers.

110 Years Ago—Deer River celebrates the Fourth of July. Rain in the morning delayed the program. After the speeches the crowd adjourned for dinner, many going to the M.E. Church where the ladies gave a splendid collation in the church. The Grand Rapids ball team failed to come. However, teams were organized and a game was played with the “scrub” team winning eight to nothing. Races, broad jumps, sack races were part of the festivities with fireworks in the evening. After the fireworks a dance was given by the band and it was in the early hours of the morning when the merry-makers departed for home.

100 Years Ago—Bertha Breid becomes bride of Stafford King at the residence of her parents. With the great number of automobiles in Deer River, the first serious accident with the road machines happened last week when the E.J. Tizzard car turned over on the Cohasset road and the occupants barely escaped with their lives. Robert Kelleher, former settler at Ball Club lake, came to Deer River as an advance recruiting officer to seek enlisters which he will report, and a captain will come to take the new ones into the service later.

90 Years Ago—Editorial: H.E. Wolfe, Editor—Speed demons tearing recklessly down our highways may well ponder over a new provision in the Minnesota traffic code, which provides any vehicle traveling at an unlawful rate of speed forfeits any rights which it might otherwise have had at crossings or intersections… Reasonable speeds are set at 15 miles an hour in closely built up sections… 20 miles in residence districts or business sections… and 35 miles in all other places. Deaths: John B. Rahier, Effie Civil War veteran, near 87 years old.

80 Years Ago—C.C. Scharfenberg opens jewelry store. Advertisements: Finnish Scythes cost $1.65 at Andrew Hannula Company. Eight-ounce package of Kraft cheese is selling at G.O. Johnson Red Owl Agency for 17 cents. Charming, dressy, cool and comfortable frocks can be purchased at M.J. Baker company for 94 cents. Two-piece suit styles sell for $1.88. Dorothy Lamour and Ray Milland are starring in “The Jungle Princess” at the Lyceum Theatre.

70 Years Ago—George G. Heck, who has been manager and owner of the Deer River telephone exchange since March 1933, announced the sale of his business to Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth E. Giles of St. Paul… Mr. and Mrs. Giles, both formerly of Deer River and graduates of Deer River High School, took charge on July 1. Giles has been working for Northwestern Bell in St. Paul.

60 Years Ago—Wild Rice Festival (held Aug. 24 and 25): Dianne Sinkola is Miss Wild Rice of Deer River for 1957-58 season. Other queen candidates were Corrine Davis, Sharon DeWitt, Pat Danielson, Judy Snyder, Marie Maki and Julie Ann Nelson. Deer River High School band under direction of Bob Stoyke emerged winner of first place in parade marching units; first place winners in the Talent Show were Jim and Jerry Merhar, Marble, who played electrical guitar instruments, second place went to the Ingstad brother-sister singing duo of Marcell and third place went to Kathy Bahr who did a strenuous and pleasing acrobatic number.

50 Years Ago—Wild Rice Festival (held Aug. 4, 5 & 6): 500 young people attend teen dance with music by “Back Roads,” adult dance had music by Dorothy’s Band; Skip’s Beauty Salon and Sun Dance Steak House won first prize for float in parade; Patricia Murray was chosen Wild Rice Festival Queen. Laura Kenoyer and Paula Schenck were chosen attendants. The winning entry in the Kiddie parade was “Hillbilly Wedding” composed of Douglas and Duane Gielen, David and Darryl Evans, and Leigh Evans. “Most original prize” went to Georgie Dahl and Elizabeth Quaal. “Most colorful costume” category was won by Mary and Susan Kozisek. The “Most Noisiest” first prize went to North End Noisies, consisting of Laura and Peter Shaw, Michael Erickson, Steven and Greg Maki and David and Daniel Roth. Square dancing was held Sunday afternoon in the arena.

40 Years Ago—Wild Rice Festival (held July 29, 30, 31): Pam Isaacs is chosen Wild Rice Festival Queen. Despite unseasonable cold temperatures and daily rainfall, the festival went on as planned, and most Lions were pleased with the event. Exceptions were the flea market which was drenched after a delayed start and the Kiddie parade which was held inside the Deer River arena. Mrs. Vic Williams told The News office this week that the St. Mary’s dinner may have served a record number of persons. Over 1,100 dinners were served. Roger Moede, variety show chairman, and his associates, Sheila Sjolund and Audrey Moede, may have a hit on their hands. That is the report that reached The News office this week following the one night performance of the “Gong Show.” Celebrity Gong Show judges and talent experts were Allan Groth, Red Sjolund and Helen Olson.

30 Years Ago—Wild Rice Festival (July 10 & 11): Junior Miss winner was Sue Sondgeroth. Other candidates were Cheryl Pietila, Sarah Williams, Audrey Stuber and Lora Rasley. Sportsman’s Club estimated this year’s turtle feed was perhaps the most successful in Wild Rice Festival’s history. Proceeds will be used for firearms safety program for sixth graders. Dick Cain resigns from the Western Itasca Review. He has written for the paper since 1979. Jane and Milo Brenden have purchased Martinson’s Grocery Store in Talmoon. The new name will be M & J.

20 Years Ago—Bigfork community breaks ground for new $6 million school. The old 1933 section will be demolished to be replaced with a new 800-square-foot classroom, laboratory, shop and athletic facilities. Deer River football passing team brings home championship from University of North Dakota. Members of the team are Justin Isaacs, Lloyd Kongsjord, Jake Olson, Chris Isaacs, Josh Tupper, Grady Dahlberg, Quinn Hastie and Kelly Hanson.

10 Years Ago—Vi Bumgarner, Deer River, has made pies for the United Methodist Church Wild Rice Festival luncheon for 59 years. She has decided that 2007 will be her last year to participate in this event. Bumgarner, who is 93 years old, then added, “Unless they need a pie or two.” A free summer lunch program is offered at Deer River High School. Youngsters to the age of 18 are able to take advantage of the free lunch and snack. There is a $2.75 fee for adults.

20 Years Ago—Bob Wilhelm, left, and Bob Lundeen, both of Deer River, are the gentlemen responsible for starting the annual Bike Rodeo at the Wild Rice Festival. Wilhelm, concerned with safety issues for youngsters after the 1976 death of his 13-year-old son, Lance, in a bicycle accident, approached Lundeen, who was police chief at the time. The two put their heads together and came up with an idea which was both fun and instructional for kids. The bike rodeo averages about 200 youngsters each year. The Wilhelm family donates a new bike plus additional gear for prizes in Lance’s memory.

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