It was a shocking ending to Fillmore County's largest employer, the Hanna Mining Company, when the mines closed in 1966 and the last site was for sale.
It was a shocking ending to Fillmore County's largest employer, the Hanna Mining Company, when the mines closed in 1966 and the last site was for sale.
It is often commented that the face of Spring Valley changes from year to year, to say nothing of month to month. The Spring Valley Tribune purchases two bound volumes of their weekly publications, one of which is given to the local historical society for their files, and what a treasure that has been. Once in awhile, I peruse a volume, just for fun, and community progress is always evident.

The year 1966 saw many changes, as usual. The new pastor at Assemblies of God was Gerald Smith. Our Saviors Lutheran welcomed new pastor Reuben Groehler. His tenure was only three years, but he brought many new ideas to the parish as well as the community. As I recall, it was his "brain child" to begin a youth center to keep the young people entertained in a healthy environment, and the nonprofit organization opened the next year in the former Gamble store on North Broadway. Spring Valley Greenhouse changed hands when Dennis and Norma Hillesland purchased it, and continued a thriving business for many years.

A delightful front page picture showed Henry Kruegel, age 91, getting his hair cut at Leo Paul's barber shop, and still working at his woodworking facility on Park Street. There was an open house at the Twin Apartments on Farmer Street, a project of Gary Ruesink. Other ads noted were Ernie Malizia's Real Estate, Ernster's Gamble store, Larry's Plumbing & Heating, People's Natural Gas, S.V. Hardware & Appliance, Kaess Electric, and Hughes Furniture. The world's tallest man, Henry Hite, was scheduled to appear at Kvale's IGA Foodliner; he was 8'2" tall. At the VFW Post #4114, Tom Minnich, was elected new commander.

Local lad, Jim Gritzner, at Dakota Wesleyan University, was touring with their choir of 41 members. Sharon Gill was named to the dean's list at Waldorf College. In April, the Lobster House would reopen for the season, celebrating 13 years in business. All stores were to close 12 to 3 on Good Friday for church services. A Civil Defense four-county-wide test was done for all amateur radio operators and citizen band radio personnel. In May, Roger Simpson of the A & W Drive-In opened a self-serve car wash on East Jefferson, almost next door to the People's Natural Gas new office building. It must have been a landmark year for Joe Mlinar, selling his well-known State Theatre and Drive-in to Bob Buscher. Joe had come in 1925 with theater in his blood. Highly successful in many endeavors, one notable venture was the Torium in the present day community center, where many old timers recall the elegant dances, movies (where I saw my first movie, "Bambi," and rollerskating in the basement.

At school, the board presented their budget for the coming year, $573,438.00;

they would be graduating the largest class in history, 87 students. Suzanne Johnson received Standard Oil's Merit Scholarship award from Amoco, according to terminal superintendent, G.C. Williams. As summer rolled around, Harold Smith received recognition as the county's largest beekeeper, with over 900 colonies at 25 lots, processing 180,000 pounds of honey per year. Gilbert "Gib" Hovey became the first fireman to receive a pension. Gib served well, but most of us knew him as a popular rural mail carrier who handed out sticks of gum to his loyal following. Stafford Hansen purchased the Red Owl from Oscar Waibel, and three years later, Hansen bought property from Faith United Methodist, the former Congregational Church site. In 1973 he opened his new Red Owl store, now our present public library building.

In August, 3,000 people lined up for Corn Days. New teachers hired: LeRoy Battcher, Sheila Peleaux, Nora Turbenson, Lew Flattum, Jean Malizia and Steve Navara. In September, St. Ignatius purchased lots on which to build a new church to include a parish center for worship as well as room for recreational activities; they were serving 135 families.

On the social page? The Up To Date Club met at Mrs. Bertha Rafferty's, with president Mrs. E.C. Duncanson, the program given by Mrs. C.F. Parker. The Flower & Garden Club met at the club room at Osterud Agency; program by Mary Weise, Alma Rollie and Fern Jones; lunch by Mrs. Reuben Hintze and Mrs. J.P. Anderson. Other meetings included Cosmopolitan Club, Women's Sew & Study, and Midway Homemakers. New at the Tribune was Paul Durban; Harold Marzolf received "Dealer of the Month" award from Allis Chalmers executives.

At the Hanna iron mines south of town, Ken Weber came as new superintendent in January; in spring the mammoth dragline from the Range was reassembled for use here; then the "end-of-the-year" shock - the mines were to be closed. Other bad/sad news: a Valley youth, '62 graduate Harlan Riehl was killed in Viet Nam. In November the Commercial Hotel owners auctioned off all the furnishings, bringing to an end a long and illustrious history of inn-keeping from the 1870s. Around town: Mary Hadland purchased Dawn Cooper's beauty shop, later opening a shop in her home. At Spring Valley Community Memorial Hospital, Homer Bentley came on staff as the new administrator, filling a space left after the resignation of P.J. Osterhoudt in 1964. In December, the police department announced they had purchased a base police radio and Mrs. Duane Koebke would relay calls to the officers. The Tribune had its own good news - the first paper printed in three colors in a single ad. December was also the month when Dr. and Mrs. Roland Matson announced plans to convert the barn on their place to a fine home for their family. Bill Ostern opened the Co-Op at the corner of Broadway and highways 16 and 63, a site that has seen many changes over the years, and is now the Subway Shop.

Yes, the Tribune kept abreast of the many changes, and we are grateful for their continuing coverage. Stay tuned.