Elmore set to mark 150 years

ELMORE – Elmore is celebrating its sesquicentennial this weekend, but did you know the city is even older than that?

When the town first materialized in 1856 on the Minnesota prairie near the Iowa border, it was called Dobson. The name was changed to Elmore in 1863 by state legislators to honor Judge A.E. Elmore, according to information compiled by the late Kathy Gill.

Mayor Bill Hurd wants the sesquicentennial to be a celebration of the benefits of close-knit communities.

“Small towns offer values that I hope we don’t lose,” he said.

One of the highlights of the day will be the dedication of the Veterans Memorial at 9 a.m. Saturday at Riverview Cemetery. Hurd said Congressman Tim Walz plans to be present.

The parade will start at 2 p.m. Saturday and everyone is welcome to participate. There’s no pre-registration, Hurd said; just show up.

It’s been more than 20 years since Elmore had an all-school reunion, so that was included. A program and supper begins at 5 p.m. Saturday at Elmore Academy, the former Elmore High School auditorium. Reunion materials can be picked up from 5-8 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Academy.

The fire department street dance featuring The Whitesidewalls starts at 8 p.m. Saturday. There is no admission charge.

Lots of other activities are planned, from garage sales, to the Show & Shine! Car, Motorcycle & Tractor Show from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the city park, to the swap meet with vendors all over the city.

The pit has been dug and the dirt is in place for the mud volleyball tournament that begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday on West Willis Street. There is room for 12 teams with six players on a team. To participate, contact Mike Volz at (507)?525-0727.

If you’d prefer to stay clean and cool, the new Elmore Library at 107 E. Willis St. will open its doors from 3-8 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

And there’s all that history:

o 1857 – Clara Stockman is the first baby born in town;

o 1881 – Four religions in the area all share the Dobson school four miles north of town as their meeting place;

o 1896 – Elmore had five saloons;

o 1909 – Elmore Park built;

o 1915 – Electricity came to Elmore, along with two theaters, the Lyric and the Princess;

o 1923 – Two passenger trains every day, 6:30 a.m. to the Cities and returned by 10:30 p.m.

o 1946 – Favorite son Walter “Fritz” Mondale graduated from Elmore High School.

“It’s always been a place to do business with people based on your work,” Hurd said. “People know each other and there’s a level of trust you don’t have in other places.”