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DAYS GONE BY: 1911 - Highway from Twin Cities to Itasca State Park's route debated

Eugene Dennis, Park Rapids, shows off his 9 pound, 2 ounce walleye he caught on Blue Lake in May of 1961.

Excerpts taken from the Park Rapids Enterprise. These entries are taken verbatim to preserve the flavor of the stories. That includes spelling errors and often, missing names.

100 years ago

May 25, 1911

The Wadena Pioneer Journal says an effort ought to be made to get the automobile highway from the Twin Cities to Itasca Park to come through Todd and Wadena counties. This, we believe, would afford a better roadbed than the proposed route on the east bank of the Mississippi, where the soil is sandy most all the way. On the Todd-Wadena route there would be a share of the distance on good clay and loam roads, which if properly improved, make the ideal automobile highway.

70 years ago

May 29, 1941

REA Electrifies 100 miles Tuesday on its "A" section

Tuesday was a happy day for officers, directors and members of the Itasca-Mantrap Cooperative Electrical Association. It was a day long anticipated, as it marked an achievement in the history of the local REA.

First, current on the sprawling network of lines was turned on at two o'clock Tuesday afternoon, and now 100 miles of main line, extending from Leonard on the north to Portage Lake on the south is energized.

As a result of this energizing, some 500 or more members of the cooperative electrical association will have "juice" to light their houses, barns and summer resorts, and to pump their water, operate their machinery and to perform many household and farm jobs easier and more quickly.

The "A" section, when all energized, will have a total mileage of 263 miles, and will serve 513 member customers. Members have spent $40,000 for wiring their property and $22,000 for appliances to use when the current is turned on.

The "B" section is now under construction and will serve territory east of Park Rapids and on the east side of Long Lake, and other extensions from the "A" section.

50 years ago

May 25, 1961

Eugene Dennis, of Park Rapids, set a hot pace for area fishermen this week when he produced a 9 lb. 2 oz., walleye at Fuller's Tackle Shop. Fishing out of Blue Lake Resort, he used a minnow to lure the prize winner from Blue Lake.