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November 26, 2015
Decorah’s famous Cliff House
The Cliff House in Decorah is pictured in this vintage photo from back in the 1960s. Ken and Cyrena Kinseth bought the hotel on the south edge of Decorah in 1963. They expanded the property into a thriving 108-room hotel and popular restaurant in the era. Area residents and guests fondly remember the popular Scandinavian smorgasbord, daily restaurant specials and lounge entertainment. (Submitted photo)
  • Bullet from Dillinger gangster on display here
    EIGHTY YEARS AGO: A bullet taken from the gun of Homer Van Meter, one of Dillinger’s gangsters, who was shot and killed a few months back in nearby St. Paul, has been secured by Jimmy McAndrews of Decorah. The bullet, which is proudly on display at the newspaper office, is drawing much attention.  
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  • Carolans retire from farm, move to town
    EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Mr. and Mrs. Phil Carolan have retired from their fine farm a few miles northwest of Decorah. They have packed up and moved to Decorah just west of the Catholic church. In the future, their farm will be operated by their sons, Will and Melvin – along with Phil making frequent trips to supervise the general operations. 
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  • Decorah Elks holds ping pong tournament
    EIGHTY YEARS AGO: The Decorah Elks Lodge will once again hold the popular ping-pong tournament in the lodge rooms in mid October. Three trophies will be awarded for the winners. Entry fee for participants this year is 35 cents. The fee is charged to take care of the expenses of the cups and the balls to be used in all matches. 
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  • Work commences on Wenthold farmhouse
    EIGHTY YEARS AGO:  Work has commenced on the farmhouse of the Wenthold Brothers, prominent Winneshiek County farmers living about three miles southwest of Decorah. Last winter, a fire destroyed their home. The brothers, Frank and Ed, have reportedly just completed the construction of a new grainery and a modern new garage. 
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  • Swimming pool bond issue passes easily
        EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Vote on a new swimming “pool” bond issue passed 800 to 319. Bond issue amount was $15,000. Most folks in this area apparently favor an artificial lake, pond or lagoon over construction of a new cement swimming pool. Local council members are seeking input regarding the issue as the swimming debate continues. 
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  • Dampness in new high school delays opening
    EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Dampness in the newly constructed and enlarged high school building, which is bounded by Vernon Street and River Street here in Decorah, delayed the opening of the school year by a week or so. Classes began here at public schools on Sept. 16, 1935. Students and parents are anxious to tour the new gymnasium on the north side of the school.  
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  •     EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Twelve new rooms are being added to the Winneshiek Hotel. Price tag for this most recent development project is estimated at $10,000. Construction will begin here soon. The Winneshiek has been crowded to capacity all of the past year with the rooms in demand during all seasons. All of the new rooms will be equipped with bathrooms and some will even have both a shower and a tub. 
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  • Hitching grounds offer good place to park cars
    EIGHTY YEARS AGO: The city hitching grounds is gradually providing a popular place for parking autos, especially on Saturday nights when parking on the city streets is at a premium. A big new floodlight has been erected at the grounds situated at the rear of the Ness Grocery Store, lighting up the entrance for those interested in parking there. 
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  • Decorah Schools begin classes on September 9
        EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Young people in the area desiring a first class high school education are encouraged to register at Decorah High School.  The school advertisement in the newspaper boasts the fact that Decorah High has football, basketball, baseball and track and intramural sports for both boys and girls. Registration is Aug. 22 and 23, and school starts here on Sept. 9, 1935. 
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  • Carlson Co. completes Hwy 51 paving project
    EIGHTY YEARS AGO:  The Fred Carlson Company of Decorah has completed the paving of Highway 51 north of Postville. Now the company has brought in a big crane to Decorah to start work on grading in the vicinity of the new West Decorah Bridge east of Fifth Avenue near the river dike. 
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  • Home Ice Cream Factory opens here
    EIGHTY YEARS AGO: The Home Ice Cream Factory has opened here in town. J.C. McArthur is proprietor. He says super ice cream will be manufactured for retail trade only, and ay reasonable prices. An expert ice cream man has been put in charge. The business is located at 301 W. Water Street on the corner west of the Grand Theatre in the downtown area. 
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  • Men will raise frogs here commercially
    EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Ernie Bergman and Leonard Goltz have announced   plans to raise frogs commercially in Decorah. They have informed the newspaper that they have a couple of suitable ponds spotted for their enterprise. 
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  • Using gambling devices is now against the law
        EIGHTY YEARS AGO: After Saturday, June 22, 1935, locals will no longer be able to pull back the spring lever and try their luck with marble machines, dice, punch boards or any other gambling device whatsoever – without violating the law. All owners and operators of such devices are notified and must remove them prior to June 22, 1935. Most locals agree … that this is good news indeed for our community. 
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  • Decorah High School leads the entire state

     EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Decorah High School is leading the entire state of Iowa by winning first place in the “Every Pupil Academic Test” in Class A schools. This is the highest record ever attained by Decorah High.

    …FRONT PAGE NEWS: The three drinking fountains in the business district of Decorah, which are situated in front of the Ben Bear Company, at the Decorah Library and in front of the Band Box Millinery, were opened for the 1955 season.

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  • Pistol plowed up at Luther College farm

         EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Interesting goings-on up at the college. A pistol has been plowed up on the Luther College farm. The pistol, which may be over 100 years old, will be added to a large collection at the Norwegian-American Historical Museum at Luther. It is a cap pistol.

    …The annual church dinner over at St. John’s in Fort Atkinson was last Sunday. Price for the delicious meal was 35 cents per person.

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