Since coming back to Cannon Falls after a brief stint in the Air Force and some time working in the cities, John Althoff has been very involved in the Cannon Falls community.
From running Althoff’s Hardware Store to spending time on the city council and as mayor, John has enjoyed all of the opportunity to interact with people, claiming it to be both his favorite part of running a local business and acting in the city government.
Read about Althoff’s time in the Air Force, decision to come back to Cannon Falls after living out of state, and role as CF mayor.
Q: How long were you in the Air Force?
A: Four years. I got involved with the Minuteman Missiles out in Montana and trained for almost two years before I went out there. I was a launch checkout specialist. I took the Armed Forces test, and they rate you on electronics and business and all of that. I actually did well in all of them, it was really my choice for what I wanted to do. There was a shortage at that time in electronics. It was back in the late 60s, and because Vietnam was building up, the Cold War was strong, and we just got through the Cuban Missile Crisis, missiles were an important part of the defense, and we had to keep as many missiles in the green as possible. They were looking for electronics people, so that’s what I did. I worked in the lab on the base and checked out equipment. On a missile base, there's a missile, but around the missile, there's drawers of electronic gear and all that. Some of it is involved in the startup of the missile, some of it’s to keep everything stabilized, and if anything goes wrong, they took those drawers out, and they brought them to me in the lab.
Q: When you were younger, did you see yourself living in Cannon Falls when you were older?
A: While in the force, I guess I always had a yearning to come back. I didn't know how it was gonna go, and as a matter of fact, I almost stayed in the service. There were five of us in a class, and we were in a very specialized job. When we got out of training school, two of us went to Montana, and three of us went to Vandenberg out in California. I kept in touch with everybody, and the other four stayed in the service, I was the only one who got out. I always had that yearning to come back, but I didn't come back right away. I went to the University of Minnesota, got a degree there in another four years, then worked for a few companies in the cities and I finally got back here around the late 70s. I went into the family business and that's where I stayed.
Q: What is your role as mayor?
A: The city council meets two times a month, and there's a lot of business. There’s bills to pay, we’re involved in getting grants, there's issues that come up with public works, there's issues that come up with the police, there's issues that come up with the library, and they all have to be addressed. There’s committees for all of that, but eventually they have to come to the council to get approved. Also, doing my part to promote Cannon Falls. I was born and raised here. I love Cannon Falls, I'm gonna do everything I can to promote it. We’ve got a lot to promote. We’ve got trails, we’ve got a great park system, we’ve got people in the industrial part, we’ve got business here. I wish we had more housing, that’s something we’re working on, but there's a lot of things to promote for Cannon Falls.