Looking back: Fire killed turkeys 50 years ago in FarmingtonFive thousand turkeys were lost to a fire, Farmington residents had to deal with 12 inches of snow over four days and Santa paid a visit. Read on to find out what else was going on this week in Farmington's history.
50 years ago
From the Dec. 14, 1961
edition of the
Dakota County Tribune
Fire destroys 5,000 turkeys
Fire destroyed an estimated 5,000 ready-to-market tom turkeys in one of the two metal buildings at the Highway 52 Turkey Ranch at Empire, about 7 p.m. Friday.
Four fire departments, Farmington, Hampton, Randolph, and Hastings answered the alarm, and helped save the remaining 3,000 birds in that same building.
The Highway 52 Ranch, among the newest and most automatic in the state, consisted of two metal-and-wood frame buildings, each 320x76 in size.
The fire wiped out the east one-fourth of the north building, and damaged the interior of the remaining portion.
It was a “flash fire” of unknown cause, according to one of the owners, Miss Genevieve Stokes of Bloomington. The birds did not have time to “pile up” in one corner – many died there they stood....
The north building had contained about 8,000 tom turkeys which were to be marketed the following week. The loss was insured, Miss Stokes said.
12-inch snow in four days
This area was visited by a 12-inch snowfall and below zero weather the past four days. Near blizzard conditions prevailed on Monday night and Tuesday morning, snarling traffic and causing minor accidents.
Jerome Akin, official U.S. Meteorologist for this area, says that this is a normal snow fall for southern Minnesota in December, but because the snowfall has been light the past 7 or 8 years, we believe this 12 inches to be a lot of snow.
Highway crews in Dakota County, both state and county have been busy keeping roads open, since Friday night. A high wind Monday and Tuesday caused snow to drift in huge piles and blocked roads, especially north and south highways.
Santa to visit shopping areas
Observing the current Christmas season, Santa will visit Farmington Saturday, December 16, and the annual Christmas giveaway event will be Friday, December 22, in the retail stores in the village.
Santa Claus will be in Farmington all day Saturday and will hand out bags of candy and nuts to youngsters in the area. There will be a free show in the morning for children in the village at the theatre at 10 a.m., and a free show for rural youngsters at 2 p.m., following which the goodies will be handed out, compliments of the Farmington Commercial Club.
Friday, December 22, marks the big give-away event in the village and residents may register at the various stores.
Forest Birdsall farm home is destroyed by fire
A four-year-old girl who mentioned she didn’t like smoke led to the discovery of fire which destroyed the farm occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Forest Birdsall at 4:00 Thursday afternoon of last week.
Racing home from Vermillion after hearing of the fire, Mr. Birdsall narrowly escaped death when his auto sped across the Great Western tracks at Empire a second before a train came along. The farm is located a mile west of Empire.
The farm house, owned by Minnie Becker of Peoria, Ill., and contents of the home were destroyed by the fire believed to have been caused from sparks on the wooden-shingled roof. The Birdsalls escaped with only their clothes on their backs. A washing machine and a radio were the only articles saved from the burning structure....
By the time neighbor farmers began to arrive the flames had gained such headway their efforts were fruitless, although they and the Farmington fire department kept the fire from spreading to nearby buildings....
Forest pushed the accelerator to the floor board and roared down the road at high speed. Fearing his wife and daughter were in danger, the speeding farmer was oblivious to everything about him and did not hear the danger signal bell at the Empire crossing, neither did he see the approaching Great Western train. According to Al Kline and Wm. Rech, who saw the auto and train approaching the crossing, the auto cleared the crossing a second before the train crossed. The men turned their heads, fearing a tragedy. Forest never knew how near he came to injury or death until the men told him of the incident later.
75 years ago
From the Dec. 18, 1936 edition of the Dakota County Tribune
$250 will be distributed here
The big Buy-In-Farmington campaign, launched two months ago by 52 local merchants will end next Wednesday afternoon when the grand final prizes will be awarded to shoppers of this and surrounding community. A huge crowd is expected for this event.
Twenty prizes totaling $250 in trade will be awarded at the final event which starts at 2:30 p.m.
All tickets deposited since the campaign started will be eligible for prizes at the big event Wednesday. Sylvester Tilges, secretary of the Commercial Club, sponsors of the campaign, said Wednesday that a total of 336,600 tickets have been passed out.
Corinthian Lodge A.F. & A.M. elects
Corinthian Lodge No. 67 A.F. & A. M., Farmington, which has reached its sixty-ninth year, held its annual election of officers, Tuesday evening at the Masonic Temple.
Officers elected were: Worshipful master – H.L. Stevens. Senior warden – George A. Empey. Junior warden – Roman Kubista. Secretary – Dr. G.R. Day. Treasurer – P.C. Records. Joint installation of officers with Myrtle Chapter No. 13 of the Eastern Star will take place at the Masonic Temple Tuesday evening, Dec. 29.
100 years ago
From the Dec. 15, 1911 edition of the Dakota County Tribune
The Men and Religion banquet conference as announced to take place Tuesday evening at the Presbyterian Church found good support and was highly successful. The program was full of interest throughout and the speakers, Rev. J.F. Henderson and Rev. J.O. Nixon, left a fine impression as to the meaning and need of this movement....
The election of these officers was then taken up with the following result: President Dr. Geo. R. Day; Vice President, Prof. J.D. Burrill and Messrs. Wm. Amidon and Geo. S. Betzold; Secretary, Mr. C.B. Whittier; Treasurer, Mr. C.A. Carlsen. These officers also constituted an executive committee for drawing up the necessary constitution and bylaws for presentation and adoption by the members at the next meeting of the organization which is subject to call of the President.
William Cahill, Walter Amidon and Bub Feely enjoyed the novelty of having their seats changed during the last week.
The primary attendance is very good and they all seem to be entering into the mysteries of arithmetic with great enthusiasm.
Margaret Knight, Maynard Nelson and Harold Cable still lead their class in reading but are followed closely by Winnifred Rentfrow, Howard Thornton and Raymond Huberty.
Mermina Klaus, Donald Whittin, Mildred Hall, Clarence Campion, Cleone Stee, and Iris Vickers are very good in reading.
The boys of the high school will meet in their third game of basketball at Hoffman’s hall Friday, Dec. 15. The game is called for at 8:15. Price of admission 25 cents.
Edward Feely is taking Francis Scanlon’s place as rooter king for the high school during the basketball season as Francis is playing in the team. The yells were practiced after school Tuesday night. There are several new ones and most of the old ones have been made over to fit the occasion.