Looking Back photo - Dec. 4, 2019

McGrath school ravaged by fire

An early morning fire completely destroyed both the combination grade and high school building in McGrath. Fire departments from Isle, McGrath, McGregor, and Mora were unable to stop the blaze.

Photo taken from the Dec. 4, 1969 issue of the Messenger.

20 years ago: 1999

Mille Lacs County Attorney Janelle Kendall elaborated on her official debut as a singer-songwriter, a career she did on evenings and weekends. An open house celebration was held for the completion of the Isle Community Center. The Mille Lacs Band opened their second healthcare clinic, Aazhoomog, on the reservation.

30 years ago: 1989

Gwen Baldry was the new chairperson of the East Central Regional Arts Council. The Isle Area Civic Association sponsored a drive to “Light Up the Lake,” as part of the upcoming Crystal Carnival celebration. Onamia band director Bob Statz accepted a donation from the American Legion towards the school marching band.

40 years ago: 1979

The Mille Lacs County Jail passed a Minnesota Department of Corrections inspection for the first time since August 1978. Isle School Board withdrew a controversial decision preventing seventh and eighth graders from participating in varsity sports. Isle High School put on a production of the play, “A Handful of Rainbows.”

50 years ago: 1969

The Mille Lacs Community Choraleers and Pierz Community Chorus put on a joint Christmas concert at Pierz High School. The Isle High School once again hosted a mobile x-ray unit, offering free adult chest x-rays. Leo Scherf, of Isle, celebrated his 72nd birthday along with 50 years of offering banking service in Isle.

60 years ago: 1959

Thieves broke into Isle Municipal Liquor and Lakeside Motor Company building, breaking the former’s pinball machine. Ma and Bogge Miller moved to California, selling their cafe and building to Jerome Baer. The Minnesota Historical Society acquired Mille Lacs’ Rainbow Island from the Atlantic Elevator Company.

70 years ago: 1949

Mrs. Leo Gray received a letter from her husband stationed in Guam after a typhoon struck the military base. The Isle Theater featured a 10-minute, educational film on disabled veterans. An announcement from the state Commissioner of Conservation, Chester S. Wilson, detailed new regulations on muskrat and beaver trapping.

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