Museum Staff, "The Fire Chief's Worst Fire," Firefighters to the Rescue A Century of Fires in Cokato, 1896-1996 (Cokato Historical Society, 1996) 39-40.
Cokato Hotel Fire, June 8, 1977.
Being a volunteer fireman for 31 years is quite a record. Lyle Severson became a fireman at the age of 23 at the urging of his father-in-law, Eldon Wessman, who was a fireman. He served as chief from 1976 to 1981. As long as he is able to pass the yearly physical, he wants to continue on the department, especially since he and Alvie Cole are vying for a friendly record of service.
His biggest challenge was the Cokato Hotel fire. The alarm came in about 2:30 a.m. on June 8, 1977. By noon the structure was ready to collapse. Firefighters were on the scene until that afternoon when the scene was turned over to investigation by the state fire marshal's office. It was a traumatic time since five lives were lost. He knew the victims as good old guys who lived in the only affordable housing for single people at the time.
Michel Nelson. "The #1 Fan." In The Midst Of, Cokato Historical Society (Summer, 1997) vol. 17 no. 3. Revised.
Every football game. Every wrestling-match. Every baseball game. Every basketball game. And practically every other athletic event that Cokato high school played from the early 1940s until Paul Christenson was moved to the Willmar Presbyterian Family Foundation facility in the fall of 1985. Not only did Paul attend every home event, but he attended every away event by riding the team bus. For Paul, every loss was agony and every win was ecstasy.
Martha Jacobson,"The Titanic Disaster and its Cokato Connection," In The Midst Of, Cokato Historical Society (Fall, 1993) vol. 13 no. 4.
RMS Titanic, April 10, 1912. Photo taken by F.G.O. Stuart (1843-1923). Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
In this day when we hear of global disasters almost as they happen, is it not surprising to learn how slowly and by what manner, news was carried--and often distorted--as recently as the early years of this, the twentieth century?
On April 25, 1912, the Cokato Enterprise reported that a Cokato couple perished in the treacherous waters of the North Atlantic. This story--recreated below--created much speculation by local residents and more recently an inquiry to the Cokato Historical Society from the Titanic Historical Society, Indian Orchard, Massachusetts.
MRS. WM. LAHTINEN DIES WITH HUSBAND
Refuses Chance to Be Saved and
Both Go Down With Ill-Fated Titanic