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Living History: Crowd packs theater at grand opening of Cozy

Jaden Erkenbrack led his reluctant calf, Ruby, through the pet parade at the Wadena County Fair on Aug. 14, 2003. File photo.

55 years ago

Excerpts from the Aug. 22, 1963 Pioneer Journal

• 13 cars derailed in train wreck

About 9 a.m. last Wednesday, a train wreck, which derailed 13 cars of the Soo Line Railroad, took place where the township road intersects with the track about a mile west of the Highway 78 bridge over the outlet of Rush Lake.

The train, No. 201-A-East, had 70 cars in total, with the back section being the area of derailment, which left the caboose and last two cars on the track.

Approximately 800 to 1,000 railroad ties will have to be set back into place along with almost 80 twisted rails.

The train was hauling grain at the time of the wreck, with an estimated 80,000 tons of the commodity being spilled following the crash. Many of the cars were badly damaged.

There were no serious injuries reported.

80 years ago

Excerpts from the Aug. 25, 1938 Pioneer Journal

• Crowd packs theatre at grand opening of Cozy

Wadena theater-goers found a new thrill in motion picture entertainment last night in the grand opening of J.C. Quincer's new streamlined, modernistic Cozy Theatre.

The playhouse was packed for the opening performances.

Remodeled at a cost in excess of $30,000, with complete new sound equipment, a balcony seating 200, a lounge and other outstanding features, The theater gives Wadena one of the finest show houses in the northwest. Construction was started in May and completed last week.

Working day and night, Quincer, his son, Clarence, and their staff of workmen were crowded at the last minute to have the building ready for the grand opening performances and presentation of the outstanding talkie, "Rich Man, Poor Girl."

The opening was a gala event. Among the many congratulatory messages received were telegrams from Robert Young, Lew Ayres, Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy and all the leading moving picture producing companies of Hollywood as well as from film executives in Chicago and New York.

The theater offered new comforts for its patrons with its heavily carpeted floors, cushioned seats, colorful neon lighting and air conditioning. Adding to the quality of entertainment was the newest in sound equipment.

The new theater was designed by Perry Crozier, St. Paul architect, with Carl Swedberg as general contractor. Special lighting effects were designed by the Felton Sign Company of Hibbing while the air-cushion seats were installed by Air-Loc Seat Industries of Minneapolis.

Since May, the Cozy has been showing at Memorial Auditorium, presenting its final shows there Monday night.