anoka county history

In May of 1914, a new set of advertisements appeared in the Union. Readers were advised to “begin laying plans” for a “festival of joy.” A week of “first grade educational entertainment” was on its way. These “seven glorious days of clean enjoyment” would include orchestra, opera singers, alpine yodelers, a Shakespeare play, a scientific demonstration, and daily lectures on such topic as the Panama Canal, the story of New Zealand, love and brotherhood, and the future of America.

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In 1953, television, a recent addition to many homes, offered a handful of channels in black and white and displayed a test pattern at night. Disneyland was just beginning to take shape in Uncle Walt’s imagination. Most families had only one car, and many of them piled in the kids for long, desinationless weekend drives. If they’d driven Highway 10, 2 or 3 miles west of Anoka, they might have come upon a venue that in many ways embodied the decade. Santa Claus Town, the summer home of the jolly old elf, opened for visitors in June of that year.

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I got a call the other day from a friend in St. Louis. She had seen television reports about the awful flooding in Minnesota and was concerned about us. I assured her we were fine, but I couldn’t explain why. Why is most of Anoka County dry only a few hours after a heavy rain?

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Occasionally some new idea captures the fancy of the general public to such a degree that its popularity exceeds all reasonable expectations. Such was the case with rock gardens in the 1930s. The July 15, 1931 Anoka Union newspaper explains, “Never in the history of Anoka have people been so interested in rock gardens and flowers of all kinds as this summer of 1931.”

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Every year the Anoka Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution honors a Woman in American History. She may be living or dead; a DAR member or not, famous or, as is often the case, a woman who doesn’t make the headlines, but works quietly behind the scenes making a positive difference in the lives of others.

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