john evans

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.

facebook icon
twitter icon
comments icon

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.

facebook icon
twitter icon
comments icon

If you look though old issues of the Blaine newspaper, around 1972, you’ll find that grass and peat fires kept the fire department hopping. Starting in May and continuing through the summer, almost every week’s issue lists at least one or two incidents. Oftentimes children were suspected of being the instigators. Before the northern suburbs filled in, there were lots of open spaces and low-lying bogs that provided tinder for these nuisance conflagrations. One such fire-prone area was a peaty expanse on the east side of University Avenue north of 109th Avenue. Today it’s the site of Park of the Four Seasons mobile home community, but prior to 1973 when Four Seasons opened, it was a good place for fires to start.

facebook icon
twitter icon
comments icon

Every few years, a history buff writes some words for this newspaper about the old Anoka County town of Itasca (sometimes spelled Itaska). It was located on the Anoka side of the Mississippi River near the Sherburne County line. For a few years, in the middle of the nineteenth century, it looked like it might amount to something.

facebook icon
twitter icon
comments icon

If you stand on the west bank of the Rum River near the canoe landing behind the county fairgrounds, you can look across the river to lightly wooded slopes leading up to the former Anoka State Hospital and the bike path that runs behind it.

facebook icon
twitter icon
comments icon
up arrow
up arrow