Tricounty News

Kimball City Hall recognized by Preservation Alliance

The Kimball City Hall, originally Kimball Prairie Village Hall, was named by the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM) as one of 18 successfully revitalized civic landmarks in the state. Eighteen sites are representative of a wide range of historic projects completed in Minnesota.

Preservation or demolition of historic sites and landmarks pose difficult decisions for communities. According to the PAM brochure, “Choosing rehabilitation instead of demolition will provide long-term rewards for communities and benefit all Minnesotans through our strengthened Civic Legacy.”

An exhibit of banners depicting each of the 18 sites will be provided by the Preservation Alliance to display in the year ahead. In an ambitious project spanning seven years and six phases, the 1908 original Kimball Prairie Village Hall and Kimball City Hall is the only City Hall in Stearns County on the National Register of Historic Places still in full use as a City Hall.


U.S.-Dakota War documentary set to air

Wiping of Tears-RGBA documentary examining the U.S.-Dakota War will air statewide on public TV starting Dec. 26.

The two-hour production is entitled, “The Past Is Alive Within Us: The U.S.-Dakota Conflict.” It was created through legislation Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township, authored as chairman of the House Legacy Division in 2011.

“The program combines historical information and contemporary stories,” Urdahl said. “The goals are to provide a better understanding of the events which took place, explain how Minnesotans are still impacted today and to spur critical thinking. Footage from a ceremony at Ness Church in rural Litchfield is included.”

Twin Cities Public Television – Channel 2 in most cases – will first air the film 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 26, with repeat showings also available. Check local listings or visit, for more information.

Long ago and far away

Christmas at our home began on Christmas Eve morning, one I remember well. My sister, Dad and I took the sled and went to the forest behind our home and found a nice tree. Dad cut it down and we took it home and it was decorated with homemade ornaments. Since no one had electricity, there were no lights. In the evening we could hardly stand the excitement as we were told we could go to Midnight Mass, which was by horse and sled, the children sat on the floor with straw and warm blankets wrapped around them. It was seven miles, I remember. Everyone kind of left at the same time, with bells on the harness of the horses. We were so happy. We went to the main church; the horses were tied up to the trees, blankets from the sled were put on them while we were in church. The church had large white pillars inside with fir boughs fastened around all the way up. The altar was lit up with lots of candles, the choir sang.

If I close my eyes, I can almost hear it again. When I went home again, we went to the same church. It now is a landmark, everything looked exactly the same.

At Christmas today, I bring out my memories and feel I’ve lived one hundred years, then put them away in a special place in my heart until next year.

Happy Holidays to all.

Note: Mary was born and raised on the island of Newfoundland which was a British Colony until March 1949.

Civil War digest: This week 150 years ago Dec. 9-15, 1863 Dec. 2-8, 1863

Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday, Dec. 9, 1863

As the U.S. Congress heard President Abraham Lincoln’s annual message that was read by the clerks, Major General John G. Foster superseded Major General Ambrose Burnside in command of the Department of the Ohio. Burnside, criticized for his handling of the Copperhead movement and for not supporting Major General William Rosecrans at Chickamauga, had for some time wanted to leave his departmental command.

A mutiny of Negro troops at Fort Jackson, La., below New Orleans, was put down by white Federal officers. It arose over alleged mistreatment by one officer of his soldiers.

The English blockade-runner, Minna, was taken off of the coast of Charleston, S.C., just one of many captures during these months.


Pneumonia is fatal to Magnus Johnson

Ex-Senator was laid to rest in Dassel Cemetery yesterday afternoonW-Magnus-Johnson292

Reprinted from the Tri-County News Sept. 19, 2002. Text and photo originally published in the Tri-County Messenger Sept. 17, 1936. Thanks to Ruth Brower for loaning the history treasure for this week’s Historical Society column.

After staging a game fight for his life for over three weeks, Magnus Johnson succumbed to pneumonia at 3:27 a.m. Sunday,
Sept. 13, [1936]. His death had been expected for several days, and all the members of his family were at his bedside when he died at the Litchfield Hospital.

The fatal attack of pneumonia was the second he had suffered in the past year. Last January he developed an attack in a St. Paul hospital where he was recovering from being struck by a car on the streets of that city.