By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Residents who attended the trivia competition at Lester Prairie City Hall May 22 had a chance to watch members of the Lester Prairie Knowledge Bowl team compete, and learn about the history of the city.
The event, organized by resident Audrey Litzau and the Lester Prairie 125th anniversary committee, provided a fun afternoon of local trivia.
Advisor Lacy Schramm introduced the members of the team and explained the format for the competition.
The students were divided into three teams and answered questions compiled from the Lester Prairie history book, with additional help from former teacher Bob Henning.
Those in attendance learned the answers to questions such as what sport was banned on Sundays in the city in 1896 due to “loud and disgraceful behavior” (baseball); how many days per year was each male resident required to work building roads in 1860 (three); and what animal was banned within city limits in 1903 (pigs).
After the question period, residents were invited to share their memories of local history.
Charlotte Ehrke shared her memories of the time she spent working at the Alice Haney Nursing Home.
Ehrke said the opening of the nursing home supported local businesses, including the drug store, and brought jobs for women to the city.
She said she began working at the nursing home in 1956, when she was in sixth grade.
She was happy to get the job at the nursing home because it paid “big money” 60 cents per hour, compared to 25 cents per hour, which was the going rate for babysitting at the time. She added that, in those days, babysitting included house cleaning and other duties, as well as looking after children.
Her job in the nursing home involved carrying meal trays to the residents’ rooms.
Ehrke said medical care has come a long way since that time.
When she started in the nursing home, a broken hip was practically a death sentence, because the kind of surgeries that are available today had not been developed yet.
Victims of broken hips and other injuries were confined to their rooms and there was no television, Ehrke said.
The closing of the nursing home signalled the decline of business in the city, according to Ehrke.
Following the history quiz, there was a pie and ice cream social, followed by a showing of a video of the play, “The Unforgettable Prairie,” which was staged during the city’s centennial celebration in 1986.
The trivia event was one of the things organized by the Lester Prairie 125th anniversary committee leading up to the anniversary celebration, which will take place during Prairie Days, Friday and Saturday, July 15 and 16.
Another coming event related to the city’s 125th anniversary is a guided history hayride, Saturday, June 4 starting at 9 a.m. in Central Square Park in downtown Lester Prairie.