Marking another year

By: 
Patrick Fisher, pfisher@newpraguetimes.com

In the last few months I’ve had a few people say to me that I’ve been at The New Prague Times forever. While it hasn’t been that long, this Friday, Aug. 19, I do mark 23 years at the newspaper. I arrived in 1999, just before Dozinky, the community’s Czech harvest festival. I was amazed at how many people attended. Then, like now, Main Street became packed with people on Friday for Cruise Night and on Saturday for the music and the Parade of Farm Pride. For the headline about the festival in the paper that year I asked if there was a Czech word we could use that was the equal to WOW! We found one and used it, although double checking that it didn’t have another meaning. At that time the city’s population was between 3,000 to 4,000 people. Since then the number of people who have moved to New Prague has grown. According to the most recent numbers, New Prague is now a community of more than 8,000 people. Over the years I’ve talked to some of my coworkers or others about how New Prague has changed over the years. I’ve found out there were three to four grocery stores along Main Street. According to town history Strike Force Bowl and Ace Hardware both started out as grocery stores. More recent history is that what is now The Local 105 was once a Maytag shop. That business moved to a new building on the east side of town next to the Ace Hardware. That building, which now houses Giesenbrau Bier Co., had the Maytag shop, a beauty salon and a dance studio. In 1999 New Prague had one elementary school, plus the middle school was slightly smaller. The high school was the newest of the three buildings as it had just been completed about four years earlier or less. Since then, the New Prague School District has added to the high school and the middle school, plus built two more elementary schools. Frankly I find it amazing how many places in town that now have businesses, housing, schools or streets were once nothing more than fields. It’s been something of an adventure writing and taking photos of the changes and daily life of New Prague and I look forward to the future and other changes.

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