Farmer elevator demo brought back memories for Merle Hough

Merle Hough is a guy who hasn’t forgotten where he came from: Pelican Rapids. 

A Pelican graduate, Merle keeps up with his hometown—even though the company he founded in 1969 is headquartered in Detroit Lakes. 

The recent demolition of the Pelican Rapids Farmers Elevator was an opportunity to return to his hometown, as Hough Inc. company was contracted for the work. Son Michael is in charge of Hough now, and the company has expanded since to include underground sanitary and storm sewer, and water utility installation and demolition for private and public clients throughout Northwest Minnesota and Eastern North Dakota. 

The 1958-59-built Pelican elevator demolition earlier this month was of special interest to Merle, as the building was constructed about the same time he graduated from Pelican High. 

Now mostly retired, Merle Hough followed in the footsteps of his father, the late Elmer Hough, who farmed, raised sheep and cattle, and did excavating work in the Pelican area. Oldtimers will remember Elmer (died 1983) as the hard working, strong-armed fellow who did excavation work the old fashioned way—by hand. 

When Elmer dug a septic system, he didn’t motor around in a Bobcat. He did it with a pick axe and a shovel, laughed Merle. When landscapers and excavators started modernizing, Elmer was baffled by the equipment investment and the time it required to excavate by machine. “You’re gonna go broke—I can do that job by hand…in half the time,” commented Elmer, back in the day. 

Merle considers himself a proud Pelican boy, and still keeps in touch with his Pelican Rapids Press subscription—and visits to the Pelican Rapids Pool Hall. 

How cold is it? Ask the tow truck guys… 

Another climate indicator, in Minnesota winters? 

The tow truck guys. 

The Franco brothers, at Pelican Pete’s Towing and Auto Body shop, were towing vehicles out of the ditch due to roads icing over at a unusually warm 32 degrees above zero. Within about 24 hours, the Francos were towing and jump-starting vehicles that refused to start—as temperatures dropped to nearly 32 degrees below. 

Humor to get through the cold spell …

This bit of humor comes courtesy the Pelican Rapids Senior Citizen Center: 

There was this lady who discovered a way to hammer nails without hitting her thumb. 

She had her husband hold the nails. 

(Of course, you could also reverse the gender in this joke!)