Herald JournalHerald Journal, June 9, 2003

A look back to Howard Lake in 1942

By Lynda Jensen

Remember sugar rations, the great 20-minute black out, and scrap iron drives?

Those who do should have a clear picture of Howard Lake in 1942, during the grip of World War II.

During this year, the Wright County Fair was cancelled because of the war, although the second annual Strawberry Festival ­ the predecessor to Good Neighbor Days ­ went on as usual, attracting 17,000 locals.

This is evident in the following article, June 25, 1942.

17,000 people attend 2nd annual Strawberry Festival

Each afternoon and evening found the ground packed with people. The large parking space south of the tourist park was jammed with cars packed in close order as was also the case of the parking lots in the fair grounds.

Besides these two places, cars were found parked along the main road north and south of the tourist park and in the large expanse of ground adjoining the creamery building.

In the same newspaper, Henry Bringman of the Standard Oil Station reported that he collected more than three tons of old rubber in the past week.

An article in the Sept. 24 Herald reported "Scrap Rally Day," Saturday, Oct. 10. A large article encouraged residents to "Scrap Your Scrap to Slap the Jap."

Here is a sample of the news coverage in the Sept. 24 issue:

The quota for Howard Lake and vicinity is 200 tons. This is a government drive and we must do our share. There are heaps and heaps of old metal lying around in practically every yard in the village and on the farms, and every piece, regardless of how small, is needed to be molded into war machinery.

America can lose the war if we don't get in the scrap metal. Some people are bucking the salvage program. Some of the yelping has been against our selling metal to Japan before the war. Others have beefed because other drives have been flop ­ these were mistakes. But right now we haven't time to holler at each other. We must dig in and get all the scrap iron possible and get it in now.

During the rally day, $100 was given away in war bonds and stamps. In addition, awards were given for those people bringing in iron a long distance, as well as awards given to schools in this vicinity bringing the largest amount.

Packing uses into the Village Hall

Another interesting tidbit about 1942 is the documentation of several businesses crammed into the Village Hall, shown by the following article in the May 1942 Herald.

Our City Hall No White Elephant

Sunday's Minneapolis Star Journal had a drawing of the Howard Lake City Hall in its magazine section, together with the following information: "The city hall may be a white elephant in some towns, but not in Howard Lake, Minn. This building houses the (1) post office, (2) city council chambers, (3) fire department, (4) jail, (5) library, (6) beauty shop, (7) barber shop, (8) community liquor store, and (9) assembly hall upstairs with stage, dressing rooms and check room, used for plays, dances, card parties, town meetings, etc. and it was formerly used for basketball games."

The information was sent in by Ruth M. Lindahl.

Rounding out the end of 1942 was a black out observed Monday, Dec. 14, with an air raid siren beginning 20 minutes of complete darkness.

Residents with information or corrections are encouraged to call the newspaper office at (320) 543-2131 and ask for Lynda.

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