By Brenda Brand, Columnist
100 years ago December 30, 1920
• Pelican Rapids Woman Receives Verdict
With a verdict of $2,000 and interest aggregating $220 awarded by the jury in district court this morning to Mrs. Hilda Eklund of Pelican Rapids, Minn., as insurance due her by the Supreme Council of the Royal Arcanum, one of the interesting cases of the Clay County Court was closed.
Mrs. Eklund sued for the insurance of her husband from whom she has heard nothing in seven years. About 15 years ago, P. August Eklund, then with the Clay County Land Company and a resident of Moorhead, disappeared suddenly from the city. He went abroad and was next heard of when he surrendered himself to officials at Scotland Yard England, claiming he was wanted in Moorhead for fraud. No claims were made against him and he was released, came to America, and then went to Oregon. The last heard of him was when he went to an Oregon hospital.
The Minnesota law presumes that a man is dead if he has not been heard from for seven years and the suit tried in court involved that point.
Mrs. Eklund kept up the insurance policy of her husband until a few years ago when the company refused to accept further payments.
75 years ago December 27, 1945
• Park Theater to Open January First
As has been announced, the Park Theater has been closed the past month for the purpose of making changes in the building itself, to redecorate and make other necessary improvements.
Theater goers will find a new show house and it is certain they will appreciate what the new owner, Mr. Henry Polkinghorn, has done to give Pelican Rapids a place of amusement as good as any found in another town in the Northwest.
The front part of the building has been completely changed. The ticket office has been placed in the center of the room, so tickets can be purchased outside the building as well as inside. The old ticket office will be used for dispensing popcorn, candies, etc. A foyer has been added to the front of the hall so late comers may have a place to stay until ready to be admitted into the show hall. The walls and ceiling have been redecorated and relighted in modernistic style and new appliances have been installed to improve the acoustic condition.
A new projector and other equipment for producing superior pictures on the screen have been installed also, and Mr. Polkinghorn says that he has made arrangements to show as high class films as can be obtained.
Mr. Polkinghorn’s brother-in-law, Warren Hillman, will have charge of the theater.
50 years ago December 31, 1970
• Jaycees Get Set For Fishing Derby
Pelican Rapids Jaycees are completing final arrangements for a fishing derby to be held January 10 on Lake Lida. Hours are from 1:00 to 4:00 pm at the derby site, located near the outlet on the north end of the lake.
Going as door prizes this year are a 22 hp Arctic Cat snowmobile and a Sony portable color television set. The largest fish will win, for the lucky fisherman, an Evinrude outboard motor, a Marlin 22 caliber automatic rifle, a Garcia fishing outfit, or a Thermos catalytic heater.
In addition to the prizes listed, Jaycees will give Norbest turkeys away to fishermen entering the first 50 game fish weighing in at a pound or more.
Fishing licenses and lunch will be available at the derby site, and Jaycees will provide the free coffee, minnows, and fishing holes.
The Jaycee fishing derby was not conducted the last two years because of poor ice conditions and heavy snow on the lakes. Ice has already reached a safe depth this winter.
25 years ago December 27, 1995
• Pair recovering from tractor accident injuries
Brother helps brother. Two Pelican Rapids men are on the mend after being injured in a tractor accident.
Kevin Nelson suffered a crushed chest when he was pinned beneath the tractor; his younger brother, Wesley broke his left arm lifting the tractor up so Kevin could slip out from beneath it.
It started out innocently enough, with Kevin driving the Allis Chalmers tractor he had just purchased and Wesley following along behind in his car.
They were coming down County Road 31 near Lake Franklin, heading for Kevin’s place when the tractor veered toward the ditch and tipped. Kevin hung onto the steering wheel so hard he ripped it off, but still ended up pinned beneath one of the rear tires.
Wesley ran into the ditch, grabbed the wheel of the tractor and lifted.
“I broke my arm,” Kevin remembers Wesley saying on his first lift. He tried again, this time inserting his arms up to the elbows because of the break. Again, he failed to free Kevin.
On the third try, lifting against the slope of the road ditch, Wesley was able to give Kevin enough room so he could slither out from beneath the wheel.
An ambulance rushed the two to a hospital. Wesley was treated at Detroit Lakes, where it was discovered that on his first lift, he had dislocated his wrist and broken a bone in his forearm.
Kevin was taken to Dakota Heartland hospital in Fargo and released the following day. The tractor tire lay across his chest, tearing cartilage and the crushing pressure damaged his ribs, lungs and heart.
“If it wouldn’t have been for Wesley, I wouldn’t be here,” Kevin commented.
Greg and Brian Nelson, two more of the Nelson brothers, went out to look over the situation, they grabbed on to the tractor to see if they could lift it. Despite their combined efforts, it wouldn’t budge.