Taking the long way around since 1910

Published 7:01 am Sunday, October 9, 2016

Due to necessary road construction, I am sure you have all experienced having to make a detour or two in Austin this summer.

It seems in 1910 local citizens took it upon themselves to help with road improvements as recorded in the Austin Daily Herald article dated May 13, 1910.

“Sixteen Austin cars loaded with workers carrying picks and shovels, beside many fair women to encourage by their smile and presence, took the Oakland road west of Austin Thursday afternoon to make the rough places smooth and repair culverts and broken bridges.  At the church west of Oakland they met the Albert Lea party in nineteen cars and together they took supper, talked over the good roads problem and when the shades of night fell broke ranks and departed for their homes, feeling that the day had been well spent.”

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The article listed the 16 automobile owners which included Mr. and Mrs. G. A. Hormel, Mr. and Mrs. O.J. Simmons, Mr. and Mrs. Laird Guy, Dr. and Mrs. C.F. Lewis, Lafayette French Jr., Ralph Crane, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Hormel, Mr. and Mrs. E. D. Claggett,  N. F. Banfield, to mention a few.

“The Mitchell car went ahead and staked out the bad places in the road which those who followed were to work.  The Austin crowd reached the place appointed before Albert Lea put in an appearance, and several Austin cars went forth to meet them and help them on their road work.

The approach of the nineteen Albert Lea cars was described as a pretty sight, with their fine cars, pretty colors and merry greetings.

Much work was done and a thoroughly good time enjoyed.”

The article concluded with special notes regarding the group.

“Mrs. S. E. Pettingill drove her own little Maxwell car and was showered with compliments for her skill.”

“The J. M. Plum car broke down just before reaching the destination and was towed back to Austin by the Crane car.”

“The Austin party may have included others which we have not named, but the cars whirred by so fast this was all we could catch.  The speeders wouldn’t want their names published anyway.”

“Albert Lea autoists go out every Thursday for road work and are becoming hale and hearty as a result.  Austin may do likewise.”

“The best part of the picnic was watching some men use pick and shovel.”

“No, the women of Austin did not shovel.  They lifted tons, however, just by their voice and smile.”

These concerned citizens of the past showed a great example of how people can work together to make improvements for the greater good and have a good time doing it.

History Happy Hour: Stories of Orphan Train Riders, presented by author, Dorothy Lund Nelson

5:30 p.m. social, 6 p.m. presentation, Oct. 10

Free for members of the HHH, Mower County Historical Society and the Friends of the Library. $5 for non-members

Hearth & Home Series

10 a.m., Oct. 18

History of Spam presented by Spambassadors and flavored with Spamples. Free.

Best Bartender Contest Fundraiser

Doors open at 5 p.m., contest at 6 p.m. Wednesday,

Oct. 26

Choose your favorite bartender after they compete in eight challenges. Food available for purchase. Live music by JT Thompson. $5 at the door.