Published On: Wed, Jul 6th, 2011

Randolph celebrates 125 years

RANDOLPH — At least 4,000 people converged on Randolph over the weekend to help the southern Cedar County community celebrate its 125th anniversary.

The event featured a beard judging contest, parades, dances, and several contests, including a greased pig contest and a mud volleyball contest.

You just couldn’t help bumping into an old friend or long lost relative here last weekend.

The downtown sidewalks and streets were packed with people during the Randolph Q125 celebration.

There was an excitement in the air as old friends greeted one another with a handshake or a hug and sometimes a kiss. It was a good time to come back to Randolph for those who had grew up in the community and then moved away after graduating from high school.

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Patti (Viergutz) Verzani traveled close to 1,000 miles from her home in Helena, Mont., to be back in her hometown for the big event.

“We came 960 miles — half of it was under construction.  We followed a pilot car for a lot of miles,” she said.

The Viergutz family history is steeped in the town of Randolph.

Her grandfather F.S. Stegge was owner and president of one of the first banks in Randolph.

Her mother worked in the bank and married Vernon Viergutz who became the president of the Board of Directors of the First State Bank.

Patti graduated from St. Frances High School in 1966 and has good memories of growing up in Randolph.

“Everyone has good memories of Randolph. It is a nice simple life here and the people are nice,” Patti said. “I come back a lot.”

All of Patti’s children made the trip to Randolph when the town celebrated its 100th birthday in 1986.

Her daughter Lisa came with her again for the Q125.

Some of the children born to Paul and Toni Mannion, who lived in the Randolph community, took advantage of the Q125 to have a family reunion.

Mary Jean (Mannion) Duffy, who lives in O’Neill, said several of her siblings traveled from as far as Florida, Texas, Kansas City and St. Louis to come back for Randolph’s Q125.

“There were 13 kids in the family. Nine are back,” Mary Jean said.

Brothers Joe, Tom, Dennis, Jerry, David, Steve, Ray and John (who is now deceased), along with sisters Mary Jean, Colleen, Kathy, Vicky and Debbie all graduated from either St. Frances High School or Randolph High School.

In 1961, the Mannion kids were dressed alike for Randolph’s 75th Jubilee Celebration — they still have the photo their proud mother took of them in their matching outfits 50 years ago.

Their mother had sewn look-alike dresses for the girls and shirts for all of the boys.

The Mannion kids were dressed alike again this year. They all had look-alike t-shirts to wear at the Q125.

Colleen (Mannion) Rhoades from Kansas City has fond memories of Randolph and of growing up with 12 siblings here.

“I have wonderful memories of Randolph,” Colleen said.

She remembers a joke a man told concerning the large Mannion family that lived on a farm near Randolph.

“He told people he had driven past the Mannion home and saw a stork out front with no legs. The stork had been to the Mannion home so many times it had worn its legs off,” she said.

David Mannion, St. Louis, said he was in town for Randolph’s 75th, 100th and now the 125th celebration.

He was eleven years old for the 75 year celebration and remembers riding on a float.

His parents  received some special recognition at the Centennial Celebration.

“My parents were the Pickle King and Queen that year,” David said.

Steve Mannion, a 1973 Randolph graduate, has lived in Austin, Texas, for 30 years.

Steve’s memories include playing sports while growing up in Randolph.

He said he liked the intimacy you have when living in a small town like Randolph.

“Everyone knows everyone. They know everything about you — even the stuff you don’t want them to know,” he said.

Joe Mannion drove up from Kansas City for the Q125 and to see his siblings.

Joe attended school in Coleridge before his family moved to Randolph, where he graduated from high school in 1957.

“My parents moved to Randolph because they wanted us to go to a Catholic School. Before that I lived on a farm north of Coleridge,” Joe said.

The Mannion kids have relatives living in Coleridge. Jack and Mary Ann Brandl are an uncle and aunt and Charlotte Mannion is an aunt.

John and Valerie (Meyer) Milder came from Scottsdale, Ariz., for the Q125.

They rented a house in Coleridge so they could spend a few days visiting relatives and friends.

John, who has lived in Scottsdale for several years, said he was enjoying the small town atmosphere.

“Everyone is extremely friendly here,” he said. “When we couldn’t find the place we were going to — we pulled into a farm and asked for directions. They told us and we were on our way.”

Linda (McFadden) Lulow graduated from Randolph High School in 1966. She moved away when she was around 18, but she made her way back to her hometown over 35 years later.

Linda and Norm moved to Randolph seven years ago from Norfolk.

Norm didn’t grow up in Randolph but they both enjoy living in a small town.

“I love it here,” Norm said.

Norm and Linda put a little extra effort in celebrating Randolph’s Q125.

A snowman, who is wearing sunglasses and seems to be enjoying the summer weather, stands in the corner of their yard on the west edge of Randolph. It looks like he is cooking a few snowballs on the grill.

A sign next to the snowman reads: “Going All Out for Randolph’s Q125”.

It wasn’t just the ones who traveled back to Randolph for the Q125 that enjoyed the big event. Those who spent their entire lives in Randolph were happy to take part in the celebration, greet old friends and reminisce about the good old days.

Mick Peterson has a lot of memories he can share about life in Randolph.

“Dr. Peters delivered me — I was born in Randolph,” he said. “I am happy I grew up here.”

Peterson has fond memories of the trains that traveled through Randolph when he was a young boy.

“We would run along side of the trains in the fields and yell at them. One time they stopped and gave us a ride in the caboose. Another time they told us if we showed up on a certain day we could ride in the train locomotive,” Peterson said. “That was a big event for us. My little brother Jim was only around four years old at the time.”

According to Peterson the trains came right through Randolph and would stop at the water tower, which was located at the end of the block close to where the city office is now.

“The engine, which was a steam engine, would come right up next to the water tower and fill with water,” Peterson said. “The trains would bring in coal and unload it — the coal would then be sold to the residents.”

Peterson said his grandfather came to Randolph in 1908 and ran the elevator.

“Later he sold the elevator and worked in the bank for a number of years, and then he ran a variety store,” Peterson said.


Peterson has some letters, bills and some unusual items that were in a roll-top desk that was found in the store.

He still has a “Mr. Zip” that had been in the desk. It is one of the cards that was put in everyone’s mail box when zip codes first went into effect.

Patty Brodersen and Loraine Backer couldn’t resist showing up and helping Randolph celebrate 125 years.

Brodersen was decked out in a straw hat with flowers and wore an apron over her dress.

The apron, which was from the early 1950s, had been handed down from her husband’s mother.

Both Brodersen and Backer grew up in Randolph and graduated from Randolph  High School.

The two ladies live in the country outside of town and are neighbors.

They both agreed, “Randolph is a good town to live by”.