Back in the 1950s people in Battle Lake could ride the railroad tracks on the Galloping Goose to Fergus Falls for shopping and return home the same day.

The Galloping Goose was a short train that provided passenger service from Staples, to Oakes, North Dakota, west of Breckenridge-Wahpeton.

That same train brought passengers from Fergus Falls to Battle Lake, along the Northern Pacific tracks, to spend the Fourth of July.

The Galloping Goose is included in a publication, “Battle Lake Uptown History,” printed by the Battle Lake Review.

Basic information was taken from the 1991 “After the Battle” centennial book. 

Coordinating this effort was Carrie Stabnow Fisher who headed a committee which produced “Battle Lake Uptown History.” Fisher credits Janet Widness of the Battle Lake Review for outstanding design work for the publication.

The Galloping Goose was part of “Personal and Social News” published in The Daily Journal during the 1950s. As an example, a retired couple in Battle Lake would travel on the Galloping Goose to Henning, spend a night with relatives or friends, and return home on the Galloping Goose the following day.

Today train travel to and from Battle Lake and Fergus Falls is just a memory. Passenger train service ended in 1971, coinciding with establishment of the interstate highway system.

“Battle Lake Uptown History” also includes the many old photos of life in Battle Lake. An example is a delightful photo taken in 1910 in front of First State Bank. Driving a Brush Runabout vehicle is W.L. Winslow. His passenger was George Hopkins.

“Walk with us as we stroll through historic uptown Battle Lake,” note the authors on Page 2.

This publication is free and is available at uptown Battle Lake businesses.


Gophers’ 1962 Rose Bowl victory fondly recalled

The Minnesota Gophers almost made it to the 2020 Rose Bowl game. Maybe next year.

Some of us are old enough to recall and cherish the Gopher Rose Bowl victory back in 1962.

Minnesota, in its last Rose Bowl game 58 years ago next month, defeated UCLA 21-3. Star players for the Gophers included quarterback Sandy Stephens and lineman Bobby Bell.

Attendance for the game played in Pasadena, near Los Angeles, was 98,214. The game took place after the annual Parade of Roses. The theme in 1962 was “Around the World in Flowers.”

The 2020 Parade of Roses theme will be “The Power of Hope.”

One of the Gopher Rose Bowl participants in 1962 was Tim Cashman of Fergus Falls, a backup running back. Cashman starred for the Otters under coach Rocky Elton, graduating in 1959.

Stephens was one of the first African American quarterbacks in major college football and the first African American to be named an all-American quarterback.

Bell also was an all-American and went on to have an outstanding pro career as a lineman with the Kansas City Chiefs. His team defeated the Minnesota Vikings in the 1970 Super Bowl. 

Stephens, who later played in the Canadian Football League, carried the ball for two touchdowns in the Rose Bowl game and was 7 for 11 in passing. Gopher running back Bill Munsey scored the third Minnesota touchdown.

Minnesota had 21 first downs in the Rose Bowl game to UCLA’s 8. It was a thrill for Fergus Falls when former Otter star Cashman entered the Rose Bowl game in the second half.


“It’s a Wonderful Life” a Christmastime classic

“It’s a Wonderful Life” was and still is an American classic film that became traditional viewing during the Christmas season. The movie, filmed in 1946, starred Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed.

Fergus Falls native Frank Albertson appeared on the big screen of his hometown Fergus Theater. He took the role of Sam Wainwright in the film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” 

Albertson is best remembered for his trademark expression of “hee haw” while sticking his thumb in his ear.


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

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