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Looking Back

40 Years Ago

Items from the Tribune of September 19, 1972

Morris High School's athletic field is now officially the "Bill Coombe Athletic Field," renamed to honor the late Mr. Coombe, whose death last Feb. 1 ended a career of 36 years as a teacher and coach, 26 of them in the Morris school system. Harold Luthi, chairman of the board of education, presents Mrs. Coombe with a printed and framed copy of the resolution approved by the board authorizing the re-naming of the field in tribute to Mr. Coombe. Jake Marks, faculty member, who escorted Mrs. Coombe onto the field for the dedication, joined Supt. Fred Switzer and Bob Stevenson who both spoke highly of Mr. Coombe's life and career.

The appointment of Dr. Merle N. Hirsh as professor and chairman of the Science and Math Division, University of Minnesota, Morris has been confirmed by the Regents of the University. Dr. Hirsh received his B.S. degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1952 and his Ph.D. From Johns Hopkins University in 1958. Dr. Hirsh is married and he and his wife, Velma, have three children: Jeff, 11; Karen, 9 1/2, and Jody, 8.

The regular meeting of the Morris City Council will be held in the conference room of the city library. On the agenda will be a discussion of new city facilities, in particular a new city office building, fire contracts with townships, and the approval of the new city budget.

Ronald V. Cin and Wm. J. Stimmler of Morris were among 692 students who were awarded degrees at commencement exercises at St. Cloud State College on August 21. Mr. Cin was awarded a master of science degree and Mr. Stimmler his bachelor of science degree. Also awarded a bachelor of science degree was Reid O. Hans of Clinton.


Here is a series of pictures taken during the demolition of the LaGrand Hotel that was seen in the Sept. 5, 1972 Morris Sun. The article that accompanies the pictures is as follows: Pacific Avenue in Morris saw one of the last remnants of an era erased this summer with the razing of the LaGrand Hotel building on the corner of Pacific and West 7th Street. Memories are all that remain of the once large structure that shared the avenue in the early 1900s with other distinguished institutions such as the Post Office, Elliot's Art Gallery and the Opera House, none of which now grace the thoroughfare, having met the same fate many years ago as the hotel did this summer. The 72-year-old building was torn down over the summer months by the Loher Construction Co. after several months of unoccupancy and disrepair. In its last days, although shabby and forlorn in appearance, there remained an aura of elegance about the edifice which hinted at the grandeur of the building when it was erected in 1900. The grand opening of Morris' new business block on the corner of Pacific Avenue and 7th Street, which included a luxurious hotel, according to an April, 1900 issue of a local newspaper, was held on May 1 of that year. Earlier the Morris Improvement Company had offered a prize for an appropriate name for the magnificent structure. Winners of the prize, from entries that came in from all over Minnesota and some from North Dakota, were Mrs. M.M. Fryberger and H.T. Bevans of Morris, who came up with the name, "The Teepee-Tonka". The following description of the building and the grand opening celebration appeared in the April 18, 1972 edition of The Morris Sun in the "Yesterday...In Stevens County" column written by Mrs. Eugene Day of Morris. The Teepee-Tonka was constructed at a cost of $45,000 and contained three stories and a basement. The walls were of brick with stone trim and the cornices and lintels were of galvanized iron. The building featured broad stairways and wide halls with a symmetry of design. Modern innovations included steam heat, gas and electric light fittings, telephone connections, hot and cold water conveniences for bath, toilet and lavatories. The floors and interior furnishings were of hardwood. Arrangements for lighting and ventilation were very complete on inside rooms as well as outside. In 1902 the name of the business block was changed to "The LaGrand Building" by which it has been known in one form or another for the last 70 years through numerous changes of ownership and management.