COMMERCIAL CLUB

The records of Spicer's Commercial Club date back to 1930 with Norman Christensen as president; E. J. Rykken, treasurer; and H. 0. Thorvig, secretary. The dues were set at $2 a member.

It's interesting to note they often brought up changing the name of the village, but there were no suggested alternatives in the records so the name has stayed "Spicer." Other interesting excerpts from the minutes show how active the club members have always been.

In 1931 the Spicer merchants boycotted the butter substitute.

In 1933 they received a letter from the Great Northern Railroad asking for accommodations for the special trains being run to Spicer during the summer.

Members have always promoted the 4th of July celebrations, which have grown tremendously. In 1933 they needed $175 to put on the event. $50 is all that was needed for the fireworks and$10foraman to set them off. Compare this to other years. In 1963 the cost of the parade was $80. In '64 the fireworks cost $350 for 45 minutes' worth. In '67 and '68, fireworks were $250; in '71-$400; in '76-$750; 1977 fireworks cost $1,200, which also included spectator liability, with a limit to $300,000. In 1981 the fireworks cost $1,600. The costs have increased, but the parades and activities, plus the fireworks, draw many thousands of people to Spicer during the celebrations. (Fortunately only once, during the '50's, the fireworks boxes fell in the lake, so--No Show!)

The club has always promoted tourism in the Spicer area with buying ads in magazines and looking for better outlets in which to advertise. They had a booth at the Sportsmen's Show in 1947. Also in 1947, Stop and Go signs were put up on Highway #7 1, and a fulltime constable was hired. It was this summer that the Red Cross resumed swimming lessons, and a lifeguard was hired.

In 1953 the club was reorganized when the resort owners, who had been part of the club, formed their own group which is called the Little Crow Resort Owners Association.

On July 2, 1959, the Commercial Club filed this notice of purpose with the State: "To promote business improvement and business interests in the Village of Spicer and to render services of civic interest to the Village of Spicer and the residents of the community of the Village of Spicer in Kandiyohi County, Minnesota."

In 1962 a new bathhouse at the beach was being built, and in 1963 the club placed ads in journals advertising for a doctor and a dentist. In 1965, 12 new picnic tables were put in the park, and a shelter was built. That 4th of July, the parade had 65 units, five of them being bands. Ray Schinkle operated rides during the summers during those early years.

In 1976 Jim Rivard requested that the club sponsor an annual Marathon Race around Green Lake (12 miles) on July 3. The entry fee was $2, or $1.50 preentry. The club still sponsors these races, but the fee is not the same.

It was during this time the Street Dances were started, headed by Mary (Mrs. Gordon) Johnson. In 1978 they booked the Six Fat Dutchmen for $475, and KQIC-FM (Willmar) was booked for the Disco Dance. The dances have grown so large that where once they started with one extra law enforcement officer, they now require five extra deputies. The Spicer Firemen offered to help with the work for a monetary donation, which the club readily agreed to. This donation enables the firemen to buy fire fighting equipment. The prices of the bands have gone up considerably, so now the club pays as high as $5,000. Some of the bands have been Johnny Holm, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Chameleon, Rocking Hollywood, Sue Mages Group, and Norm Johnson of New London.

The Flea Market also was started at this time, headed by Elmer Carlson and Guy Saulsbury. This continues to be a big drawing card to the public. Also, an annual scholarship fund, for a high school student, of $200 was started.

During 1979 and 1980, "Spicer Is Nicer" flags and bumper stickers were purchased plus a "Spicer Is Nicer" banner to stretch across Highway #23. In 1980 a Miss Spicer pageant began and has continued to be one of the highlights of the 4th. Miss Spicer also represents Spicer at the Aquatennial celebrations in Minneapolis.

In 1981 Alvin "Andy" Anderson was put in charge of a Sacred Songfest which is held on an afternoon in the park, during the 4th celebration. Also, an annual Businessmen's Volleyball Tournament began, with a traveling trophy awarded to the winner.

In 1982 the club voted to pursue the purchase of land for a ball diamond, with Dave Mossberg, Eldon Wiedeman, and John Scheevel on the committee; later Jerry Reierson and Doug Dietz were added. After working on this property for two years, fighting water problems from rain and springs, the committee abandoned the property, and the lease was terminated. However, the project was not terminated, but a lands committee was appointed to work with the ball park committee. They were Andy Kroneberger, Allen Struck, Cliff Hammerschmidt, Mike Thalberg, and Mike Thorson.

In 1984 a new ball park site was purchased from Albert Pederson. The club bought 12 acres and Pederson donated 3.5 acres for softball, baseball, playground area, and parking. This land is west of Highway #23, across from the Green Lake Mall. The city bought the property, and the club in turn bought it back from the city, so Albert Pederson had the assurance of backing. There have been several benefits and donations to help with the costs.

With the help of Brian Nelson as organizer, the club cosponsors snowmobile drag races and speed runs on Green Lake, ATV (all-terrain vehicle) races, and sailboat regattas. Spicer and Green Lake were honored to be the site of the Minnesota Catamaran Championship event in 1990.

The Commercial Club does a lot of work to promote new business to the area besides donating to worthy causes, such as helping with equipment for water safety, sponsoring also a Santa Day, a Bikeathon, and the "Fun in the Sun" Triathlon. They have donated money toward uniforms for the New London-Spicer High School marching band. Obviously, the club has a very active group of members.