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Back and Forth: Memories at Red Wing's Sheldon Auditorium

Thousands of folks have attended outstanding stage presentations and epic films since 1904 at Red Wing's T.B. Sheldon's Memorial Auditorium.

Although I haven't been back there since I left my radio career nearly 56 years ago, my memories of that beautiful structure remain current. Today I'll go back to 1955 when the Red Wing Lions Club staged a two-night show on Oct. 3 and 4.

This show included a local orchestra directed by Reynold Christensen and the Interlocutor was Bob Sundberg. He also owned Sundberg Grocery at the corner of Plum and Main Streets. Peter Lyman, my boss and program director at KAAA, was the director.

The Lions Club had been in existence in Red Wing less than a decade but had already cut a large path for community betterment. Its funds had made possible an electric scoreboard at the athletic field.

It sponsored the kiddies Halloween activities, the "Block of Dimes" for the Polio Foundation, a party for rural members of the East Goodhue Soil Conservation District and the international "sight-saving" project and aid to the blind. So this venture brought in a lot of cash for the Lions projects.


This stage show was an outstanding community performance. A sweet little high school girls trio included Barbara Richardson, Margaret Kaehler and Leah Nell Kolberg. The playbook doesn't give a song title, just "The Armonico Trio" which Barbara told me in recent year that I had named the trio. Could be, I was involved with many singing groups on KAAA radio.

There were several other acts in this action-packed 2 and ½ hour show. The Red Wing Lions had great community sponsorship in their playbook, many businesses have gone and their owners also. I look back at Holmes Rexall Drugs, Chatfield's Hardware, also the H.W. Wilson Hardware, NYBO's "Eating out is fun-try it at NYBO's," Betcher Insurance Agency, Beeman Hardware, Meadowland's Produce, Zibble Insurance Agency, The Oriola Café at 416 Plum Street, O.H. (Pete) Betcher, Prop.

Ray Johnson Printing was there along with A. Swanson's Sons Furniture and Funeral. Tomfohr Implement Co., an International Harvester dealer, was located at 231 Bluff Street and was a sponsor. Or course Red Wing Shoe Co., Reidell Shoes and Meyer Machine were included."Watch for Big News from Coca Cola at your grocers next week" was the ad from John and son Jim Grantman.

And on the back page all the Red Wing Auto dealers filled the space. Tesdall Motors (Ford) Larson & Quinn (Buick) McCoy-Curran (Dodge-Plymouth), Bob Rehder, (Mercury), Main Motors (De Soto) and Jorgenson's Chevrolet, (Oldsmobile and Cadillac).

This writer experienced many great memories at the Auditorium for films like The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur or High Noon. And that old theatre balcony was a great place for movies with a pretty girl.

Next week:Days of Yesteryear at the Olmsted County History Center Aug. 10-11.

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