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.
Mike Worcester, "Lost Cokato: The "3.2" Joints," In the Midst Of, Cokato Historical Society, Vol 37, No. 4 (September, 2017).
On election day 2006, the voters of Cokato shocked many, including themselves, by approving a ballot issue which allowed the city to issue licenses for the sale of strong beer, wine, and liquor. It brought to an end the status of Cokato being a “dry” town, a legacy dating back over ninety years.
We’ve written before about how Cokato became a dry town and what that meant. Our purpose here is to note how even with that dry status, area residents could buy beer at what were called “3.2 joints”.
Once National Prohibition ended in Minnesota in early 1933, the 3.2 establishments could apply for licenses. Many did over the years. By 2007 when the city was given the authority to issue licenses for strong beverages, only one was left, Nelson’s Bar & Grill, on Millard Avenue.
Mike Worcester, Cokato Historical Society, In the Midst Of. (Winter, 1999) vol. 19 no. 1.
Tuesday, March 12, 1912, was a usual spring day in Cokato. Temps were in the low-thirties, the sun was shining, and the dirt streets had turned to ankle deep mud. So why then, did the entire
student body of the Cokato public school slog through those messy streets and gather in front of city hall on the morning of March 12? That particular Tuesday was not just any day for the
town—it was election day.
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