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Looking back: Train accident topped local news 75, 100 years ago

50 years ago

From the Aug. 1, 1963 edition of The Dakota County Tribune

New hospital construction to start soon

Federal approval has been given on all six low bids totaling $976,362 for construction of the new Farmington community hospital, according to H.M. Johnson, president of the hospital board.

Contracts are being prepared and mailed to the low bidders at the July 9 opening.

"When the contracts have been signed and returned, construction will be underway. This should be within a week, says Johnson.

A groundbreaking ceremony is being planned, but a definite time has not been set, although a bulldozer and construction office have already been moved to the site of the new hospital.

Nelson plans shopping center in Rosemount

Ken Nelson, president of Town's Edge Shopping Center, Inc., Farmington, today announced plans to develop a shopping center in the present commercial area of the Village of Rosemount.

The center will be built on a site of approximately two and one-half acres, being a combination of properties presently owned by Mr. and Mrs. Gerald McCall, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Gibson, Mr. and Mrs. H.J. Geraghty, and Mr. and Mrs. William Bartelt. Construction of the center will result in the removal of the Bartelt residence, a second residence presently occupied by Mr. and Mrs. John Pivec, the Gibson Barbershop and the Rosemount Hotel.

Nelson stated that his plans are to augment the present merchandising establishments in the area rather than to attract competition. He stated further that several businessmen presently operating in the existing commercial area had indicated a desire for the expanded facilities, and the additional parking that the center will provide.

Nelson stated further that with the construction of the new banking and post office facilities in the area within the last few years, it is his hope that the shopping center can be developed in such a way as to provide complete commercial facilities in one area for the convenience of the Rosemount community.

Over 6,000 square feet have already been leased, Nelson said.

Local school group makes suggestions

Construction of a 12-15 classroom elementary school building is the recommendation of a Building Subcommittee to the Citizens' Committee, Farmington School District.

The Building Committee meeting Tuesday night based their recommendation on the projected five-year needs of the growing district. The present elementary system was six rooms short the past year. Four elementary classes were held in the 1913 high school building, one in a church building and one in an old one-room frame school building.

Projected enrollments indicate 6 or 7 rooms will be needed within 5 years, in addition to those now short. The growing high school population will shortly require the rooms now being used in the high school by the lower grades. . . .

Other recommendations include a "simple" style of architecture and construction with utilities and service facilities planned to handle twice as many classrooms at a future date. . . .

75 years ago

From the Aug. 5, 1938 edition of The Dakota County Tribune

Gunmen hold up truck driver

30 Saturday morning. The victim of the hold up was Earl V. Sanborn, 3118 Thomas Avenue N., Minneapolis, who was driving a load of furniture from Rock Island, Ill., to Bemidji for the Cameron Transfer & Storage company.

According to Sheriff Joseph J. Heinen, two men driving a coupe, pulled up alongside of Sanborn threatening him with a gun and forcing him to stop. After the holdup, the pair raced toward Farmington.

Fire starts in empty corn crib

A $6,000 fire of unknown origin destroyed six buildings on the P. J. Hynes farm, known as the old Michael Johnston place seven miles northeast of Farmington during the supper hour Tuesday.

Fanned by a strong south wind, the flames started in the double corn crib and razed the machine shed, granary, barn, silo and chicken house. Although the fire was beyond control, members of a nearby threshing crew, neighbors and the Rosemount Fire department saved the horse barn, milk shed and the dwelling. . . .

The fire was discovered by Joe Hynes, a son of the owner, who was working in the field. He raced to the home farm and notified his father and the threshing crew. The crew left their threshing and all rushed to the nearby burning buildings. Among the first to arrive were Wm. Sieben, Walter Hoffman, W.C. Trevis family, the Rolfings, Walkows and Cecil Crow.

They formed a bucket brigade and were joined soon after by the Rosemount Fire department, but their efforts were fruitless against the heavy wind; however, they kept the flames from the remaining three buildings. Once when the fire swept into a field of shocked grain, the firefighters quickly checked the spreading conflagration. Six sows and other livestock were all saved.

Destroyed were 2,000 bushels of succotash and 250 bushels of wheat in the granary; 15 tons of hay in the barn; six feet of ensilage, and three corn binders in the machine shed. . . .

Local folks get souvenirs from wreckage of Olympian trains

Eleven carloads of twisted and broken scrap iron, the remains of two recent Olympian railroad wrecks in Montana, passed through here Friday enroute from Montana to Milwaukee, Wis., where the iron will be re-melted into new equipment.

The arrival of the train was designed to be a secret, hence quite a crowd was on hand to get souvenirs and photographs of the train which stood on the sidetrack in the south yards several hours.

The locomotive, tender and trucks of other cars that crashed into Custer Creek were included in the trainload; however, the passenger cars took another route to Milwaukee. It was first reported that the locomotive that pitched into the creek did not pass through here, but Banker R. G. Shirley identified the cab number from photos clipped from daily newspapers at the time of the horrible crash. . . .

The 11 flat cars of scrap iron weighed many hundred tons - this is before local people lugged away souvenirs.

Nellie Craig of Billings, Mont., a niece of Pat Walsh of Farmington was on the Olympian when it crashed at Custer Creek. Pat said his niece was in the passenger coach that balanced for a short time over the washout gap and then finally tumbled into the roaring creek. She and the other passengers in this car got out before the car rolled into the angry waters. . . .

100 years ago

From the Aug. 1, 1913 edition of The Dakota County Tribune

Walter Grant is killed at Mendota

Another of Farmington's railroad boys is called to give up his life to join the great army who are annually killed in the hazardous calling. This time it is Walter Grant, a young man who until recently has made his home in Farmington. You or I may make a misstep and live, but the railway brakeman who is off his guard for a moment is pinned between the cars or falls beneath the wheels.

Walter was with his crew at Mendota Wednesday morning at 3:30, and as we understand it was taking a car from the train to put on the siding. He uncoupled the train and signaled for the engine to pull ahead past the switch. He gave the signal for the switch to be turned and then signaled the engineer to back.

Unfortunately in some way the switch was not turned and this section of the train was backed into the main train. It seems that Walter was riding on the end of a car next to the engine and when they came together the engine mashed through the end of the car, crushing his head, death being instant. . . .

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

(651) 460-6606