If you get carried away with drinking a lot of coffee in one day, don’t feel guilty.

Think about Fergus Falls resident Gus Comstock. He set the world’s record by drinking 85 cups of coffee 92 years ago this month.

On Jan. 11, 1927, Comstock gained national attention by drinking the 85 cups of coffee over a seven-hour period at the Kaddatz Hotel on Lincoln Avenue in the heart of downtown Fergus Falls.

He started drinking coffee about 7 a.m. and finished close to 2 p.m. This broke the old record of 71 cups of coffee consumed by a resident of Amarillo, Texas.

A doctor checked out Gus after he drank close to 40 cups of coffee, each of them eight ounces. The doctor found almost everything OK, other than a slight increase in temperature for Gus.

His feat of drinking 85 cups of coffee was carried in newspapers all across the United States.

Gus, a World War I veteran who ran a shoe business and sold ice cream at county fairs during the summer months, was the toast of the town here in 1927.

I’ve read various accounts of this world record over the years, but have never found out how many trips Gus made to the restroom during his record-making coffee drinking day.

A thousand million dollars adds up to 1 billion

With all of the talk about $5.7 billion requested for a section of a U.S. wall along the southern border, it behooves us to ask: Just how much is a billion dollars?

The answer is that a thousand million dollars equals 1 billion dollars.

Glen Taylor, 78, owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Minneapolis Star Tribune and various printing businesses, is worth $2.6 billion. That makes him the second wealthiest person in the state of Minnesota.

Not bad for a guy who got started by printing wedding cards in a garage as a college student at Mankato State University.

If Glen wanted to be really generous, he could give 2,000 people $1 million each and still have $600 million in the bank.

No. 1 in wealth in Minnesota is 88-year-old Whitney MacMillian, the last member of the Cargill-MacMillan family to serve as company CEO.

Over the past year his wealth grew from $5.6 billion to $6 billion. He could give 5,000 people a $1 million dollars each and still have $1 billion left in the bank.

The late U.S. Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois was famous for saying, “a billion here, a billion there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”

Remembering Lenny Green

Many of us remember the first year of the Minnesota Twins, in 1961 at the old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. That site is now home to the Mall of America.

Lenny Green, the Twins leadoff hitter and center fielder from 1961 to 1963, died Jan. 6 on his 86th birthday.

Many Twins fans have wonderful memories of Lenny and the early years of Twins baseball at the old Met Stadium. He had great teammates including Harmon Killebrew, Bob Allison, Camilo Pascual, Tony Oliva, Earl Battey and others.

Green played 12 seasons in the big leagues.

He finished his Major League Baseball career in his hometown of Detroit, in 1968. That year the Detroit Tigers won the World Series.

Old warming house at Lake Alice recalled

During the winter months in the 1950s the warming house at Lake Alice was heated with a pot-bellied wood stove.

“There was a special bin inside for firewood,” says Lance Johnson in his book, “Fergus Falls and the Fabulous Fifties.”

Johnson further points out that on the west end of the warming house was a snack bar with a fold-up door.

“The menu offered Coke, Nesbitt’s Orange and hot dogs,” he said. “Skaters would smell the aroma of hot dogs even before the door was raised, which made them even more hungry.”

Tom Hintgen is a longtime Daily Journal columnist. His column appears Saturdays.


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