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Friday, April 24, 2015

Vault Lights - Sidewalk Lights

 Vault Lights or as they were commonly called, Sidewalk Lights, are glass prizms set into sidewalks to let light into vaults and basements below. Prizms were used instead of  flat glass to disperse the light. Flat glass would cast a spot on the floor below whereas the prizm would spread the light out over a larger area. The idea originated in the 1840’s as Deck Lights. They were used on ships to let light below decks, especially when an open flame would be hazardous. The idea caught on in cities in sidewalks to illuminate below grade.  Many businesses in Downtown Minot had the Sidewalk Lights in the sidewalks in front of the store. The basements of many businesses went under the sidewalk. This was because many had freight elevators in the sidewalk. The heat from the basement below helped to keep snow melted. The sidewalk lights also served as a light source for the steam tunnels in Downtown Minot. These tunnels contained the necessary pipes to heat many of the businesses in Downtown Minot. By the 1930’s they were on their way out as electricity became less expensive. Now they are endangered relics, or antiques. There are probably still some in sidewalks in Minot’s downtown area.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Minot’s First Christmas Tree --

The year was 1886 and the City of Minot was just getting started when the first Christmas Tree was set up to celebrate the holiday. In 1886 no churches had been built and few congregations had been established. One of the landmarks of early Minot was Jack Doyle’s Saloon. This was located on the corner of what is now Main Street and Central Avenue. This is where the first tree was set up and decorated. Nearly everyone in town was at the saloon to celebrate the holiday. The presents were hung on the tree and everyone received at the least a bag of candy. Jack Doyle’s Saloon later became the location for the PP Lee Block, then the New York Store and later F W Woolworth’s 

1907 - Leland Hotel on left - across the street was at one time Jack Doyle's Saloon

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Minot Auto Club – Traffic Signals

The Minot Auto Club was organized to promote road building and maintenance, to better regulate traffic and to prevent Auto thefts. It held its first annual picnic at Rice Lake in June of 1921. It was attended by over 4000 people and more than 512 cars. In 1930 after his sixth accident, Judge William Murray considered issuing himself a restraining order prohibiting his diving an automobile anymore. Traffic signals were tried in various locations, but most drivers ignored them. They did not use them again until 1939. The city installed a signal at 2nd St NW and 4th Avenue and also in downtown Minot. In 1935 the State Patrol came into existence and drivers licenses were required. The new Patrol Superintendent and his four officers went to county seats like Minot and issued drivers licenses to reluctant drivers for payment of a small fee

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Vice Zone – Ordinance #3 - Minot – 1897

 The third ordinance to be passed by the early Minot City Council in 1897 read: No persons shall in the City of Minot keep a “bawdy-house” or house of ill fame or other houses or buildings for the resort of prostitutes, or other persons for the purpose of prostitution… since this ordinance was passed in 1897 it would suggest the vice was considered a problem even then. The very first vice district it seems sprang up in a large coulee west of Minot, (the area now occupied by the Municipal Auditorium). When the occupants were forced out the next area in the late 1880’s was a separate area, like a small town, south of the city which disappeared about 1900. Things then got so bad in the west side of Downtown Minot, (First St SW) in the area of the now Federal building that a new ordinance was passed making it illegal to rent or own a house for questionable purposes. This ultimately forced the vice zone to the outside of Minot at the time to the area that eventually became known as Minot’s High Third Street.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Minot's First Fire Ordinances –

1887 – when Minot became a city, the first City Council found it expedient and prudent to legislate against certain types of buildings allowed in the business district. Those structures that were prohibited included tar paper shacks, thatch roof stables, tents without chimneys and haystacks. The Minot Council also declared that Minot should become a western metropolis of brick and stone walled buildings. An area between Reishus Ave (1st St. SW) and Ramstad Ave. (1st St SE) and north of Third Street (now 2nd Ave.) to the railroad track was to be considers a “fireproof district”. This was passed in 1887 and was the very early beginning of Minot’s building and zoning regulations. 

Minot - 1888

Friday, April 17, 2015

Evolution of Main Street – Part 5 –

Move ahead to 1947. Past businesses on Main Street included The U.S. Café, Goldberg Furniture, La-Plaza Café, Sgutt’s Men’s Store, Minot Gas Co. and Sears & Roebuck Company. In 1947 the Orpheum Theater was still in operation, Saunders Drug was next door and Minot Billiards (later referred to as “The Hole”) and the North Main Tavern. The Leland Hotel was now the Leland Parker Hotel. Union National Bank was on the corner of Main and Central. Woolworth’s was also on Main and Central. The Railroad crossing at the north end of Main Street had a cross buck and signal in the middle of the street


 Union National Bank
 Sgutt's Clothing - Interior
 Sears - Goldberg's Furniture - North Main
Leland Parker Hotel

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Early Evolution of Main Street – Part 4

1926 – Minot was 40 years old. The town was growing and Main Street business was thriving, changing and prospering, Businesses along Main Street at this time included the Hamre Funeral Home, Benno Drug, the Strand Theater, Nelson’s Grocery, Minot Furniture Co, and Leo M Finnegan Funeral Home. Also located on Main Street you could find Walter’s Grocery, City Bakery, Minot Hardware, Walter’s Grocery, Sullivan’s Flower Shop, Anderson’s Cleaners, the Waverly Hotel and the Hotel Leland. The Hotel Leland would eventually evolve into the Leland Parker, then a parking lot and now Art Space. The Waverly Hotel would burn down in January, 1943 on a very cold day leaving 4 bodies frozen in its ruins until late April or early May when the ice finally melted

 Strand Theater - 1920's
 Hotel Morrill - later renamed the Waverly Hotel
Leland Hotel