By Brenda Brand

100 years ago, July 4, 1918

• Straighten River

Pelican River May Be Straightened South of Pelican Rapids

The county commissioners held a ditch meeting this week to consider a petition for a ditch that would straighten the Pelican River from a point just south of the village limits well down toward Erhards Grove. 

The river flows through considerable low land there and twists and winds a good deal. Before reaching the neighborhood of Erhard Village it becomes a clear cut and beautiful stream. The straightening of the channel would probably reclaim considerable land that is now too wet for use.

The commissioners appointed viewers to ascertain whether the project was desirable and the probable cost as compared with probable benefits, and the matter will come up for final action later.

• Elevator Meeting

The annual meeting of the Farmers Elevator was held Saturday. The forenoon was devoted to business and the afternoon to pleasure.

There was a big turnout to the business meeting and a great deal of interest taken in the proceedings. A.P. Restad, F.S. Putnam and Peter Hanson were elected directors. After the business meeting the members and their families and all others who wished, went to Thompson’s Point on Prairie Lake for dinner, which was served by the West Lida Red Cross.

The Pelican Rapids band furnished the music.

75 years ago, July 8, 1943

• Independence Day

Independence Day, if observed at all this year, was celebrated Monda,y July 5. But so far as anyone can remember the celebration this year was the quietest to ever have occurred, especially in the rural communities. In this community there was much work to be done by the farmers-cultivating corn, putting up hay and other essential jobs-and as the weather was ideal for farm work there was very little celebrating.

The Bangor Farmers Club and 4-H Club enjoyed a picnic at Tucker’s picnic ground on Pelican Lake but the crowd was small and the program was short. There was some singing, reading and speaking, foot races, etc., and the youngsters enjoyed swimming and bathing in the lake. It was a pleasant outing and all present enjoyed it very much.

• Boys Take Heed

Boys have been breaking windows in buildings around town by throwing stones. A lot of damage has been done and I appeal not only to the boys but also to their parents to see to it that this destruction of property is stopped. 

– Merlin Rieman, Police.

50 years ago, July 4, 1968

• Derby Entrants

Keith Pischke and Paul Carter have entered the first annual Otter Tail Empire Soap Box Derby to be held in Fergus Falls. The Pelican Rapids Jaycees are sponsoring the event locally.

Both boys will be sophomores this fall at PRHS. Keith’s parents are Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Anderson, Jr. and Paul is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Carter.

Both boys will be vying for first place and a trip to the national derby at Akron, Ohio

• Air Force Commendation Medal Awarded

Captain James R. Wifall, son of Mr. and Mrs. Amos J Wifall has received the U.S. Air force Commendation Medal at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

Captain Wifall was decorated for meritorious service as a research engineer at the Office of Aerospace Research.

25 years ago, July 7, 1993

• Curfew won’t be sounded with chimes

Pelican Rapids youngsters won’t have chimes playing “Show Me the Way to Go Home” at curfew. The chimes cost too much.

Meeting June 29, council members voted to enforce a 1945 city ordinance calling for children age 16 and under to be home by 10 p.m. At the same time, it was noted that sounding the siren could disturb the sleep of those in its immediate vicinity.

Mayor Jim McDonald suggested that chimes be used instead, playing, he noted jokingly, “Show Me the Way to Go Home.”

Well, it probably won’t happen.

City Administrator Richard Jenson checked into the cost of chimes and found it to be in the neighborhood of $12,000.

An automatic timing device will probably be purchased, however, relieving police of the responsibility of triggering the fire siren every night at ten.

Police Chief Greg Ballard told the council that the cooperation of parents is necessary if the curfew enforcement is going to be effective. After one warning, parents will be fined for their child’s curfew violation, he added.

• Thorsons open “On the Edge”

Rob and Crys Thorson have opened a gift shop on the edge of the Pelican River. 

The shop has a wide selection of unique gift items, including cards, stationery, jewelry, kids books, toys, candles, soap, gourmet coffee, chocolate and other gift items.

The shop is located in the former Albright Realty brick building that was originally the Frazee Bank. 

The Thorsons began remodeling by removing wallpaper, changing the lighting and taking advantage of the building’s rich woodwork. Windows have the original copper edging, and the former bank’s walk-in safe now serves as a storage room. 

Crys teaches art for the Moorhead Public School System and Rob previously was the weather forecaster for KTHI. Both are Pelican Rapids natives.