The dog was shot by a Northfield police officer on May 22, 1957 and it led to a student riot in downtown, garnering national attention for our fair city.
(Maggie’s column is not online. Click the image for a photo of the article which is readable.)
Longtime Northfielder, Rieber Paulson (photo below from the recent comprehensive plan public hearing), wrote a letter to the Northfield News last week, proposing that the we create a civic celebration in the spring to complement Defeat of Jesse James Days in Sept. and Winter Walk in December.
He’s proposing to call it The Shooting of Ytterboe Days.
I think it’s a great idea. If you do, chime in here with your ideas for the event and how it could become a reality for spring, 2008.
After hearing all the discussion at the city planning meeting on May 15, it is obvious that Northfield has a great deal to offer: beautiful downtown, good roads and delightful people. What is missing, it seems, is a broader tax base and a way to bring more business to the downtown area and its merchants.
We already have a marvelous fall festival in the Defeat of Jesse James Days and a wonderful Winter Walk in December, both bringing throngs of people to Division Street. What Northfield needs is a spring festival to round out the academic year in this place of cows, colleges and contentment. It seems that the opportunity is at hand. Fifty years ago this week our sleepy town was jolted by the blast from a policeman’s shotgun, killing Ytterboe, the St. Olaf College mascot, a Chow mix known and loved by all Oles. The dog had allegedly nipped at a child and was gunned down on campus on the hill next to the steps leading up to Rolvaag Library. The outpouring of students from both colleges created the biggest (and best) riot that Division Street has seen in 100 years.
What an opportunity for us today to create an annual spring festival celebrating the students and citizens of Northfield and their spontaneous response and riot over the shooting of this campus mascot. The Shooting of Ytterboe Days could be a four-day event. We could have a reenactment given four or five times during the celebration including: the shooting; the outpouring of throngs on Division; the policeman burned in effigy on Bridge Square; the quickly written songs and poems by citizens and students to quell the riot and eulogize the dog; the overnight repainting of an old hearse to carry the remains of Ytterboe to his resting spot on the hill where he was shot.
What an opportunity to bring thousands to Division Street to shop in our stores and to eat the basic hotdogs and corn dogs, with specials on Ytterburgers, puppy chow, and chow mein. Vendors could circle Bridge Square with their personal delicacies to help all of us chow down during the festival. Over the years the celebration might grow to rival other Northfield events. It certainly would help us remember what happened 50 years ago this week to bring international fame and notoriety to our city of cows, (Chows), colleges and contentment. — Rieber Paulson