A look back at Laurel History: May 28, 2020

Fan ‘Em Crawford pitches winning game against Livingston in 1920
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Compiled By Kathleen Gilluly
Thursday, May 28, 2020
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Vaughn-Ragsdale opened its twenty-third store in Laurel in June of 1930 on the corner of East Main Street and Montana Ave. (the current location of Hair on Main). The chain originated at Columbus 12 years earlier and expanded to three other states in addition to Montana - Wyoming, Michigan and Illinois. “Not too big... Not too little... Just Right! Vaughn-Ragsdale, owned and operated by Western people...your own friends and neighbors... is big enough to serve you best, small enought to serve you well.” In 1930 Dresses were $4.87, 66x80 blankets $2.97, boys flannel pajamas 87¢, men’s suits $23.50, boys blazers $2.85, children’s durable stockings 15¢ a pair, and boys unions 67¢. The Vaughn-Ragsdale store closed in the 1960s. Photos by Lowell’s Fotos

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25 years ago

May 31, 1995

There are more than a dozen entrances into the Merchant Apartments, the sprawling white building at the corner of First Street and Montana Avenue, whose faded exterior reflects the fact it has been vacant for eight years. Almost every door has a “No Trespassing” sign tacked on it. But that directive is often ignored, say police. The neglected site has become “a party haven and meeting place,” as well as a continual target of vandals, according to Laurel Police Sgt. Mike Zuhoski. While the problems are longstanding, Laurel city officials are discussing what steps could be taken to fix them. “We do have the flexibility to take action of need be,” said Public Works Director Jim Flisrand. “The building code allows you to take certain steps. If they’re not done then you move towards demolition.”

Births were announced for Connor James Dove and Nicholas Allen Ungefug.

A Billings man was seriously injured when he fell from a moving freight train in the MRL yard in Laurel early Saturday. Richard Kavonius, 36, who lives on First Ave. N. in Billings was listed in critical condition over the Memorial Day weekend at Deaconess Medical Center. Kavonius was walking on a rail car and fell between two cars as they were moving, according to Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Linder. A train ran over his right leg, severing it 10-12 inches above his ankle. His left leg was severely damaged as well. MRL employees found Kavonius laying by the tracks shortly after midnight. Deputies didn’t suspect that alcohol was involved.

 

50 years ago

June 3, 1970

Burglars struck in Laurel again this week, entering the Mill Drive-In and the Golden Cue. It is thought the burglaries occurred in the early hours Tuesday. Police were called to the Mill Drive-In at 7 a.m. when the burglary was discovered. They were notified of the break-in at the Golden Cue at about 11 a.m. when that place of business opened. Preliminary reports indicate there is no firm figure as to the losses. In both cases the burglars, or burglar, broke in the cask drawers in coin operated machines.

The Park City Garden Club is presenting their spring flower show “Springtime in the Rockies,” Thursday at the civic center. The general public is cordially invited to the exhibit.

Mr. and Mrs. H.E. Gomer, of Laurel, attended commencement exercises at Eastern Montana College, in Billings, Sunday. Tom Frickel, nephew of the Gomers was among the graduating class. After commencement, Mrs. Frickel entertained at a luncheon in their home in honor of her husband. Guests included Tom’s mother, Mrs Mary Frickel, Mr. and Mrs. Gomer, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Dawes and Mr. and Mrs. Fred Herman, of Laurel, Mr. and Mrs. Rieny Birkley and Mr. and Mrs. David Frickel and daughter, Gina, of Billings. Mrs. Boussina Farid, a native of Egypt, was the guest speaker, when the Laurel Federated Woman’s Club met for the final meeting of this term. The dinner meeting, held in the Owl Cafe as attended by 14 members and 16 guests. Mrs. Farid, introduced by Mrs. Russell Cole, immediate past president of the LFWC, spoke of the conditions in her native Egypt and told of the work being done by the Cairo Woman’s Club. In addition to maintaining day care nurseries in the various villages and circulating information in the villages concerning Planned Parenthood, the Cairo Woman’s Club each year, hosts a bazaar, a gala affair attended by official dignitaries from other countries.

 

75 years ago

May 30, 1945

Pvt. Burnett Albert Pickins, N.C., left last week for Bremerton, Wash., after spending part of his sick leave here with his wife, Mrs. Elma Pickens, and their two children. Private Pickens recently returned from Iwo Jima where he was wounded last March. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Plato Pickens, now live in Bremerton. Upon the expiration of his leave he will return to Farragut, Idaho for treatment.

Customary Memorial day ceremonies were conducted Wednesday morning at Park City and Laurel cemeteries under auspices of two Laurel veterans’ organizations, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Unusually large numbers of people attended the ceremonies. George S. Smith, Billings attorney, delivered the orations at the two cemeteries; a guard of veterans fired volleys saluting the dead, and graves were decorated with flowers. Wreaths were placed in honor of the Unknown Soldier of the Spanish-American war, and World wars I and II.

Of the many odd events and coincidences being recorded in connection with the end of the war in Europe a strange one concerns Laurel people. Capt. Robert Lamb, husband of the former Evangeline Budge, was shot down over Germany in August 1944, was reported missing in action and later was reported a prisoner. It was believed here at the first of the year he might have been killed during the Christmas breakthrough while being moved farther into Germany. Recently his wife had a letter from him saying he was alive and well. Cpl. Larry Romee, son of Mr. and Mrs. Steve Romee and nephew of Mrs. Lamb, was with American forces going into Germany in the final stages of the war. Captain Lamb was at Merseburg, Germany, where he was liberated. Lamb and Romee did not know each other, had never met, but they identified themselves and had a reunion. A letter from Captain Lamb was received here Friday telling of the meeting.

 

100 years ago

May 26, 1920

The city of Laurel does not intend to let any opportunity for public improvements to make the city beautiful go by. This is shown in the improvements in the city park which are now under way. The fence around the park has been resent to include the ditch, and new posts have been put in which were donated by the local lumber dealers. The T.R. Holmes Lumber company, the Thompson Yards, Inc. and the Hall Lumber company. The ground has been thoroughly pulverized with disc and harrow so the trees which had to be planted and the grass will start out under the best conditions. I.D. O’Donnell of the famous Hesper farm, furnished 114 new trees to set in the park.

In a shut-out game, played in a downpour of rain, the Laurel Tigers defeated Livingston on the latter’s home diamond Sunday by a score of 3 to 0. All the fond hopes that Laurel fans experienced before the opening of the season for a team that would play air-tight ball are fully realized by the magnificent aggregation of players that have been assembled for this year. Fan ‘Em Crawford beat the record he established in the preceding game played with Livingston. He let not a man walk to first and there was only one twobase hit. In the nine innings, only four hits were secured by Livingston. Crawford used excellent judgement and grooved some pretty balls that Livingston could not touch.

A change in the ownership of one of Laurel’s business institutions, the Carlisle jewelry store, has occurred. The business has been bought by C.L. Calloway of Potosi, Wis., and Mr. Carlisle is to retire from active business here. Possession is to be given in about a month.

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Upcoming Events

Monday, July 6, 2020
Mondays, 1:30 p.m., 201 1/2 E Main St.
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
1st and 3rd Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., Council Chambers
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
2nd Wednesday, 5:35 p.m., Council Chambers
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Wednesdays, 7 p.m., 201 1/2 E. Main St., Laurel
Thursday, July 9, 2020
2nd Thursday, 6 p.m., Council Chambers
Monday, July 13, 2020
2nd Mondays, 6:30 p.m., at Wood's Powr-Grip, 908 West Main St., use the west entrance, open to the public. 

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