OFF THE BEAT What ever happened to royal Rochester?

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``Rochester, Minnesota's Queen City.'' f you were a resident of Rochester from 1879 until sometime after the turn of the century, that phrase probably had a familiar ring. But to most current residents the phrase is a little less familiar.

The name ``Queen City'' was coined in 1879 by Delbert Darling, according to Bev Hermes, an Olmsted County Historical Society librarian. Darling used the phrase to advertise a school he operated called Darling Business College.

The name apparently stuck.

There was a Queen City Band in Rochester in 1894 and the Queen City Orchestra was formed in 1895. At the library a souvenir booklet from 1929 refers to Rochester as Minnesota's Queen City.

A Rochester City Directory published in 1929 lists Queen City Bottling Works, Queen City Cafeteria, Queen City Creamery Co., Queen City Finance Co., Queen City Oil Co., Queen City Monument Co., Queen City Nursery and Queen City Silver Fox Farms. Directories from more recent years list similar entries, but you get the idea.


In fact, the name is still being used in some quarters.

Rochester is home to two businesses that still use the name: Queen City Construction and Queen City Real Estate.

Kyle Krueger, owner of Queen City Construction, said the business was named by his father, Ron Krueger, in the 1950s.

Kyle recalls his father saying Rochester was the Queen City, Minneapolis and St. Paul the Twin Cities and Duluth the King City.

That slogan might have stuck here and in the Twin Cities, but it apparently didn't go far in Duluth.

A spokeswoman for the St. Louis County Historical Society archives said records there refer to Duluth as the Zenith City and the Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas.

But as far as crowning the city King of Minnesota? It's not in the books.

It's also a safe bet Marc Chapdelaine, executive director of the Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau, won't be promoting a revival of the name here.


``I'm from Manchester, N.H.,'' he said, ``and it was called the Queen City and I always hated it.''

``It was on billboards . . . everywhere. We couldn't be the capital, so we were the Queen City.''

-- Aleta Capelle ------ A pitch he'll never forget

hen Kent Hrbek was a kid growing up in Bloomington he used to dream about smacking homers into the seats and making diving defensive stops on the grass at old Met Stadium for the Twins.

Nowadays, Minnesota kids dream about blasting long fly balls into something resembling a giant garbage bag and snaring grounders that bounce off the playing field like Super Balls on concrete.

Few kids ever get the chance to actually live out their dreams as Hrbek did.

But last Saturday, 8-yearold Patrick Murphy of Rochester came close. He threw out the first pitch at a Twins-Rangers game as part of a ceremony hosted by Hrbek.

Patrick, son of Tonna Heating and Cooling President Dennis Murphy, was taking part in ALS Night at the Dome. ALS is amytrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's Disease.


Murphy was the lucky Carrier products dealer who was invited to throw out the first pitch in appreciation of Carrier Corp.'s $30,000 donation to the ALS foundation. But Dennis deferred the honor to his son.

Hrbek is a Carrier spokesman and his father died of ALS.

-- Greg Sellnow ------ Malady of the week

irst, a note about last week's malady, ``exploding head syndrome.'' No sooner had the paper hit the streets last Friday when a woman who declined to give her name called to report an increasingly common malady that might warrant our attention. (We're not making this up) She called it CRS. We can't explain fully what that means without perhaps offending some people. But the first two words are ``Can't remember . . .''

Imagine this conversation in the physician's office.

``It's only CRS, Doc? Whew, I thought it might be Alzheimer's.''

Now, as promised, a discussion about toad licking. espite appearances to the contrary, this is a serious subject. For years some youths have taken to licking toads for a quick high. Apparently, the skins of some toads contain a toxin that when ingested produces LSD-like hallucinations, according to a recent article in Patient Care magazine.

The practice of licking toads or smoking chopped up toad skins has become an increasingly serious problem in some parts of the country. Medical experts say some of the possible side effects of taking in the toxin from toad skins are seizures, cardiac abnormalities and even death. The skin of just one toad can be lethal. -- Greg Sellnow

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