Humboldt marks sesquicentennial

HUMBOLDT – Residents of Humboldt are celebrating a big birthday; 150 years is quite a milestone.

To celebrate the sesquicentennial, plenty of activities have been held through the week including a water fight organized by the Humboldt Fire Department.

It has been around since 1884, making it a paltry 129 years old.

Fire Chief Tony Hosford said that it’s been about 30 years since they organized water fights. Crews from Storm Lake, Emmetsburg and Vinton, his own department and even a group of retired firefighters came to battle each other for hose supremacy.

He was enjoying hosting the event.

“Humboldt has a very community-minded Fire Department,” he said.

He was glad to see the retired guys.

“I offered them applications to get back on,” he said. “None of them took me up on it.”

Pete Stattelman was one of those. Now 54, he served more than 24 years.

He offered some tips to water fighting.

“Stay in good shape,” he said. “It’s a young guy’s game.”

In spite of getting dressed up in heat-trapping turnout gear, he was still enjoying the day.

His suggestion for a birthday gift for Humboldt: “One hundred more days like today,” he said.

Kristy Smith, of Humboldt, found herself a comfortable spot in the shade to watch the water fights. She was attending several events during the celebration including the cemetery walk held Friday.

She rated it a good learning experience.

“I met A.B. White,” she said. “He was the owner of a mercantile.”

In addition, Stephen Taft, the founder of Humboldt, made an appearance.

However, one famous native son missing from the walk.

“There was no Harry Reasoner,” she said.

She’s got a gift idea too.

“Another big celebration for the community to come together,” she said.

Tim Carlson, of Humboldt, has been around a while too. He said he’s lived in town since he was 2.

He too attended the cemetery walk and said he enjoyed learning about his community’s history.

His selection of seating at the water fights placed him downwind of the water mist.

“It was a good place till I got wet,” he said.

He was also going to participate in one of the birthday events. In fact, he’s been working on it for months.

“The beard contest,” he said. “I’m going to enter that.”

For being a 150 years old, Humboldt is pretty well-preserved.

Stattelman is optimistic about the future.

“Humboldt has a lot of great history,” he said. “The way it’s going, it’s got a heck of a bright future.”