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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Phones Commandeered - Pt 1 – May 7, 1917

It was a 53 minute ordeal on the night of May 7, 1917 when the Northern States Power Co. telephone office was seized during the largest law enforcement raid in the history of the state. Before the raid a group of deputies entered the telephone office at gunpoint and ordered the operators away from the switchboard… in essence shutting it down to any and all phone calls for 53 minutes during the raid. The raid was under the personal supervision of ND State Attorney General William Langer. Over 40 citizens of Minot had been deputized to participate in the raid. The attack in Minot was aimed at establishments said to be “dens of inequity”. Most of these were located on Minot’s “High Third” street. In 90 minutes 44 people had been arrested on charges such as gambling, prostitution, receiving proceeds from prostitution, operating a bawdy house and “blind pigging”. A “blind pig” was an establishment that served illegal alcohol as this was during the days of prohibition. Apparently several of those arrested were said to be prominent local citizens. Those arrested were dealt with in the local courts but there were very few convictions. 

typical switchboard operation in Minot

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