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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Fires in Early Minot – Brick Buildings--

1887 was a memorable year for Minot….the Railroad started building tracks to west and the first ordinances, (Fire Ordinances), were passed due to about fires burning down about two thirds of the buildings on Minot’s Main St. The buildings that were destroyed were hastily built wood frame buildings. In 1888 more buildings were destroyed by fire. These include the original Parker House Hotel and two other retail stores on Main St. In 1893 fire again destroyed a good part of Main Street including the Occidental Hotel. A contractor, HT Van Wagoner came to Minot to build the Leland House Hotel. Because of the fires he decided to stay and construct a City of Brick. He established a brick kiln about where the Holiday Inn is located… perhaps Minot’s first manufacturing plant. This produced about 600,000 bricks per year, many shipped to locations around the state. Wagoner’s buildings were well constructed and some of his work can still be seen around town.

Occidental Hotel - destroyed by fire in 1893

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Montgomery Wards –

The building that was home to Montgomery Wards started life in 1933 when construction began. It is on the Northwest corner of Main Street and 1st Avenue. It replaced two smaller buildings that over the years, housed a lodge hall, a meat market, telephone exchange, a bank, post office, department store, and drugstore, among others. It became Montgomery Wards in May 1934. All floors with the exception of the top floor were used for retail. There was also an automotive repair department on the south side, near the alley. The Greenberg Men’s Store was next door. Greenberg’s exploded and burned in 1947. In 1958 Montgomery Wards added 25 feet to their building, expanding into the former Greenberg’s location. At that time they moved their automotive repair department to 3rd St Northeast, next to the White Ice Cream Building. The building was known as the Emporium and was owned by James McClintock of Edina, Minnesota. In September of 1982, the building was purchased by local business men and renovated to what it is today

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Early Minot City Ordinances –

Ordinance #4 – Provided for a fine of $1.00 up $100.00 and-or 30 days in jail for anyone convicted of drunkedness or disorderly conduct. Ordinance #6 – prohibited anyone from letting horses, mules, cows, sheep, goats or swine to run at large in the city limits of Minot. Ordinance #16 – anyone found loitering in the vicinity of tippling houses, beer houses, eating houses, houses of ill fame or bad repute, pool or billiard rooms, or anyone who shall lead an immoral or profligate life shall be termed a vagrant. This was punishable by a fine of $5.00 to $50.00. If the prisoner could not pay the fine it could be worked off at the price of $1.00 per day. If the prisoner refused to work he was to be closely confined on a diet of bread and water only. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Valker-Christensen Company –

This was a wholesale-retail seed and feed business, operating  one of the largest seed houses in the state, eventually making a specialty of processing and distributing grass seeds throughout the United States and many foreign countries. It was founded in 1920 by George Valker and A. M. Christensen. Christensen, who became sole owner in 1928, came to this state in 1910 as a teenager. He walked from Chicago to his uncle’s farm west of New England, North Dakota and then got a summer job at the Dickinson experiment station. The boy became so interested in his work there that he devoted much of his life to the seed business. Later in his career, he also served as president of the Dakota Transfer and Storage Company and the Minot Building and Loan Association (now Midwest Federal), as well as the Minot Association of Commerce.
This company started an office building in Downtown Minot that was not completed for over 20 years and was referred to as the Sparrow Hotel. Later Clarence Parker would purchase the property and finish the building as the Clarence Parker Hotel.

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

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Early Evolution of Main Street – Part 3

1916 --  looking north from what is now Third Ave. --- in the middle of the intersection of Main Street and Second Ave. was the horse/dog watering fountain which arrived in 1911. Businesses you would see on the west side of the street included Valker’s Greenhouse, The Fair Store, Public Drug Co., the Lyceum Theater, Arcade Theater, Second National Bank and the Orpheum Theater. Some of the businesses on the east side of Main Street included the Jacobson Opera House, (which also was the home to Jacobson Hardware, the Opera Barber and Bath House, Union National Bank and the Post Office). Other busineses on the east side of Main St were Ward Count Abstract Company, Grow Clothing, the Branch Store, the Dacotah Hotel, Rowans’s Undertaking Parlor, Minot Plumbing & Heating and Minot Light, Power and Telephone Co.

 The Lyceum Theater

 The Orpheum Theater

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Evolution of Main Street – Part 2

 1905 – looking north from what is now Third Ave – on the west side of Main St. you would find the Law Office of Jim Johnson, Kallak’s Dry Goods Store, Roise’s Wardrobe Clothing Store, and Hawley Drug Store. Kallak’s Dry Good Store was located on the corner where The Wells Fargo Bank building is. There was a vacant lot or two between the Law Office and Kallak’s Store. On the east side was Rowan Furniture, the Bijou Theater (operated by the McCutcheon Brothers), Thatcher Printing Co, Cleven and Hanson Grocery and the Morrill Hotel (later renamed the Waverly Hotel). Also on Main St. in 1905 you would find power poles with 4 rows of overhead lines.

 Main St. Looking South - early 1900's
Main St. Looking North - 1910

Monday, April 13, 2015

Evolution of Main Street – Part 1 –

This week we are going to look at how Minot's Main Street evolved over the years. This from researching in old newspapers. I will start with 1887 

 1887 – Minot had only one street – Main Street, which at times was a muddy mess. Since it was a railroad boom town many new businesses sprang into existence in its first year. These included The Leland House, the Parker House, Collins Implement, John McJannet’s furniture store, Lincolns restaurant and Carl Aurlands Grocery Store. Other business established were Strain Brothers Mercantile, The bank of E Ashley Mears, John H Seiber’s Harness Shop and McClure’s Minot Rustler-Tribune. East of Main street on what is now Central Ave was the Charlebois Blacksmith Shop. The home and office of Minot’s first physician, about where Central Campus is belonged to Dr. Edmund Belyea… who also had a street named after him at one time. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Union National Bank –

Union National Bank began its existence in Minot in 1905, in the front of the Jacobson Hardware building. The second floor was home to Offices and the Post Office. The ground floor housed Martin Jacobson’s Hardware Store. In 1923 the building, bank included was gutted by fire. Within eight months a new building had been erected on the northeast corner of Main Street and Central Avenue, the same location  as the old building . Union National Bank remained at that location until 1963 when they built a new bank at 17 First Avenue SW. The bank is in the same location but became First Bank and is now known as US Bank. US Bank also has drive through tellers on South Broadway.

 Union National Bank - 1940
Union National Bank - 1972

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Fauchald _ New York Store –

Julius Fauchald was an early pioneer in Minot. He arrived in Minot from the lumber camps in Wisconsin in 1888. For two years he was a clerk in the Strain Brothers store, on of minot first mercantile or retail stores. Then for the next two years he was employed in a store owned by Perter P Lee. Eventually he became a partner with G.O. Frank in the New York Store. He bought out Frank’s interest and his brother Morris joined him in purchasing PP Lee’s store and combined it with the New York Store. Julius began sole owner in 1909. The New York Store eventually moved to the corner of Main St and Central Ave. Fauchald sold this buiding to Woolworth and established a smaller store next door to the south called Fauchald’s. This location was sold to Bader’s Women’s Wear after they lost their location in the Waverly Hotel Fire in 1943.

 New York Store - early 1900's
New York Store - 1928

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

One of a Kind Shop –

 October 1972 – Frank Lysy opened his store at 18 West Central Ave. One of a Kind is an Art Shop featuring a variety of artists work in addition to his own work. Lysy is also involved in silk screening and has that shop in at the same location. He has the ability to print on paper, cloth, plastic and almost any material. The items for sale in his shop included paintings, china jewelry, ceramics, candles and other art objects

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I Keating Furniture – 1961

 In 1961, I Keating’s Furniture was located in Downtown Minot on 1st Street SW, in the location of the Midwest Federal or “Big M” Building. Keating’s Furniture was founded by T.F. Keating in 1934. They were your store for furniture, Bedding, carpeting and draperies. Some of the lines they carried were Henry Ford’s Museum Collection, (a line of early American reproductions), Wakefield furniture, Bigelow and Wunda Weave Carpets and Simmons (Beauty Rest) mattresses. In February, 1961, I Keating’s claimed their one and only sale for the year of 1961 was in its final days
Pictured below is I Keatings in its location on 1st St SW .... Behind the store is the Midwest Federal Building under construction

Monday, April 6, 2015

MSU - MSTC -- WWII Contibutions

Minot State Teacher’s College – May, 1945  Victory Contributions  – MSTC Helped the Air Corp – 1939 – The Civilian Pilot Training began. This evolved into the Navy V-5 Program in August of 1944. A total of 905 pilots were trained during this period. 73 under the Civilian Pilot Training program, 479 thru th V-5 Elementary Course and 353 thru the V-5 Intermediate course. MSTC helped the Navy -- In July, 1943 MSTC received the first assignment of the Navy V-12 trainees. 723 young men were enrolled. 585 were transferred to midshipmen’s school to receive commissions or complete the last phase of training. MSTC Helped the Cadet Nurse Program – 375 young women enlisted in the US Cadet Nurse Corps  after receiving instruction from MSTC.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Parking Meters – Legal?? –

 August, 1947 …. Parking meters were used in Downtown Minot. The Taxi companies challenged the legality of having parking meters. Apparently the taxi companies opposed the use of parking meters by the City of Minot. The North Dakota Supreme Court ruled that inadequate steps had been taken to test the constitutionality of the right to use meters and therefore Minot could continue to use parking meters to regulate the use of its streets. I’m not sure when the meters were done away with but it was sometime after this.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

KLPM Radio

At one time KLPM was known as Minot’s oldest radio station going on the air in 1929. KLPM claimed that there was no special formula, just good radio!! KLPM was located at 1390 on the AM dial (FM radio was not around). They were the most listened to radio in Minot, and for a while maybe the only radio station in Minot. KXMC-TV – originally known as KCJB-TV --KXMC-TV was the first television station in North Dakota. The first programs were aired in 1953. They claimed to be the best in TV with shows from AC and CBS. In 1961 KXMC claimed to be the states most powerful TV station

 KLPM Broadcast

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

House Factory – 1965 –

Day & Zimmerman-Madway had a contract to build houses for the Minot Air Force Base. The plant was located just east of the North Dakota State Fair Grounds. At the onset over 165 men were employed turning out two houses a day. Plans were to hire an additional 100 men, go to 10 hour days and produce 5 houses per day. The House Factory used specialized cranes capable of lifting the 15 ton houses on to trucks for delivery. The Minot Air Force Base was expected to need about 800 houses. Other prospective clients were Grand Forks AFB and Malmstrom AFB in Great Falls, Montana