A Look Back

30 years ago THE WASHINGTON COUNTY BULLETIN January 6, 1993

Calling it “an odd place to find a cemetery,” staff writer Judy Spooner nonetheless highlightedAtkinson Cemetery, located on Point Douglas Road, near McDonalds. Annexed by the city as an abandoned cemetery in 1979, the piece of land with sparse grave markers was near the homestead of John and Hannah Atkinson, which time had since turned into a Kmart. The somewhat mysterious cemetery, meanwhile, had been located in its day at a place called “the Corner community.” But as to why it existed in the first place? That was a mystery. With the mainstream religion in the area being Congregationalism at the time and domination by a single political party, speculation was that the burials were of outsiders to the once mainstream ethos in the area. Cottage Grove historic preservation officer Robert Vogel said, however, that Cottage Grove residents at the time lived long if they survived childhood.

“It was a healthy place to live,” he was quoted as saying, with residents of the then rural area reportedly well-educated as well.

40 years ago THE WASHINGTON COUNTY BULLETIN January 6, 1983

Coming in for news some 40 years ago, recent terrorist bombings near a base had caused tension for a Cottage Grove resident and others stationed there, an article by staff writer Doug Champeau made known.

Taking place in Darmstadt, West Germany, the car bomb attack injuring a U. S. army captain had happened Dec. 15, making people paranoid in the close knit suburb of Frankfurt am Main in the state of Hesse. As to just who was responsible for the blast, a loose-knit terrorist group called the Revolutionary Cells or possibly Red Army sympathizers were thought to be at blame, as the bombing had made U.S. soldiers fear for their families and dependents.

“There’s an attitude that if the Army wanted you to have a family, they would have issued one,” Sergeant First Class George Sigstad told the Bulletin at the time. Members of the Military Police (MP) finishing tour in Germany had their deployments extended for security in the bombing’s wake.

50 years ago THE WASHINGTON COUNTY BULLETIN January 6, 1973

Coming in for notice through staff writer Barb Hunter, a Cottage Grove resident named Don Gibson, was suggesting that 100 acres north of 80th Street and running along the ravine by the Minnesota Federal Building be developed into a village park. Gibson himself owned 35 of the suggested 100 acres for a park, with two houses on site dating to the 1800s. Foreseeing an all-purpose park to include hiking trails along with a playground, baseball fields, camping and more, the northside resident was willing to play the long game, planning to seek time on the council agenda. Location was also a factor.

“Always in the past we have taken the worst land, land no one wanted, and made a park out of it,” Gibson was quoted as saying. “But parks are for people. We should want the best land for parks.” The prospect of commercial development was not one Gibson desired, as it was possible that his house was in fact the Atkinson house, meaning one of the first settlers in South Washington County. “Once it’s gone, it will be gone,” he said of the area he sought park status for on the northwest side.

120 years ago WASHINGTON COUNTY JOURNAL January 14, 1903

Organized the same year in which Minnesota became a territory, the Minnesota Historical Society had since amassed a library collection totaling some 72,326 titles. Located in the state capitol building as of 1903, it was a free reference library, the newspaper records being kept in a fireproof vault. Current topics The eruption of Mount Pelee (west of Cuba) is said to have lessened the flow of oil in the Beaumont oil fields (Texas-Louisiana border). Enormous grain mills are being built in the vicinity of Spokane, Washington.

January 7, 1903

News Gathered During the Week The race between the Atwoods and Nemos for first place in the bowling tournament at the Kenyon alleys is becoming interesting. Neither of the teams seem to lose except when arrayed against each other.

The official printing and publishing of the county was divided among the three papers off the city at legal rates. The JOURNAL* received the financial statement. The Messenger the delinquent tax list, and the Gazette the commissioner’s proceedings and all other official printing.

*emphasis contained in original.

Territorial Dispatch THE MINNESOTA PIONEER August 9, 1849 DIED.

At Black Dog Village* on the St. Peter’s River, on the 26th ult., Margaret, wife of Hazen Mooers, aged 56.

The deceased was one of the early inhabitants of the country and lived through life with an open heart and hand. She was well known to all the pioneers, and will long live in the memory of her Indian relatives.** *located in modern Eagan **Margaret Grey Cloud Woman Ayrd Anderson was half Scottish and half Dakota/Sioux, being related to Wabasha II (also spelled ‘Wapasha’) and likely born herself at Prairie du Chien Wisconsin, per Find a Grave. Interred in the village cemetery, her remains were later moved to the Lower Sioux Agency when development came to Eagan, the original cemetery site used as a gravel borrow pit to help build a nearby bridge approach. The incident, which also affected other burials, prompted changes in state law regarding grave disturbance.

January 11, 2023