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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Minot Elks Lodge 1954 –

 The original Minot Elks Lodge #1089 was dedicated in 1909. It was located on the southwest corner of  Main Street and 2nd Avenue in Downtown Minot. On Wednesday, October 27th, 1954 the new Minot Elks Lodge opened on 2nd Avenue and Broadway, about a block west of the original Elks Club. The grand opening events were limited to Elks members only, except for an open house from 2 pm to 8 pm so non-Elk members could see the new building. The Elks Club in 1954 boasted of having about 1750 members and the new building was built at a cost of about $500,00.00.

 Elks Club - 1910
 Elks Club - 1962

Friday, May 27, 2016

Bon Ton Shop –

February 18, 1956 was the grand opening of the Bon Ton Shop on Main Street in downtown Minot. The Bon Ton shop was the store for discriminating women….. The store featured many nationally advertised labels. The departments in the store were Sportswear, Suits and coats, Dresses, Accessories and Tot-n-Teen wear…. Contractors were Mackley Construction, Minot Electric and Minot Plumbing. During the celebration customers could register for prizes, watch an informal modeling show and listen to organ music by Marge McFall…Making a special appearance at the grand opening was the 1956 Dodge La Femme. This was a Dodge Car designed exclusively for women ….

Thursday, May 26, 2016

American State Bank –

American State Bank of Minot received State Charter No.1347 on December 1, 1936 and began operation by the end of the year. The new American State Bank was organized to take over the deposit liabilities and business of the First International Bank of Minot. The new bank also occupied the offices of the former bank at 24 South Main Street . The first president of American State Bank was C.H. Parker. For 10 years American State Bank was located on Main Street then 1946 American State Bank moved in to the First Avenue Building. The assets of the bank had doubled by this time to 12 million dollars. In 1957, American State Bank moved to its present and final location on the northwest corner of 1st Street and 1st Avenue Southwest. The most outstanding feature of the new bank was its drive-in teller. This was the first in Minot at the time. In 1959, American State Bank installed the first electronic banking system in Minot. American State Bank is still operating today… It is now Bremer Bank

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Swenson Furniture:

Swenson Furniture was located on South Broadway at the entrance to the Kmart parking lot. Before the days of Kmart this was the intersection of Highway 52 and 83 South. The business started by Oscar Swenson in 1950 with an old canopy truck and $350.00. Customers would drive up the alley to the one stall garage which was also their residence. Later a partially finished home was added. This served as display room for the furniture and the family lived in the basement. They had to move as they were conducting commercial and at times industrial business in a residential area. The business moved to their final location and continued to thrive for a number of years. Swenson’s carried a full line of furniture, appliances and some plumbing supplies. The store became Marion’s Furniture and Tumbleweed Toggery was located on the south side. The building and both businesses were destroyed by fire about 1983. The Water Bedroom Store was in this location for a while and it is now the home for Computech, a computer sales and service store

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Trader Dan

Fast –O-Trade – Dan Hornbacher, better known as Trader Dan opened his first sporting goods store in a small location at 525 East Central Avenue in August of 1945. Changing the name to Fast-O-Trade, in 1949 moved to 16 North Main Street.. In 1961 Trader Dan built a new building on Highway 83 South. The new location provide a lot of outside room for boats, trailers and motorcycles. They akso carried a full line of sporting goods inside. Trader Dan stocked western clothing for hunters, archery equipment and all types of fishing tackle, along with firearms and ammunition. I have been informed that at one time Trader Dan would appear on late night TV selling his wares over the airwaves. I have been informed that for a while Dan Hornbacher went into the construction business with his son. Apparently they built a house which exploded due to a gas leak when lighting the furnace. Dan’s son was killed in the explosion. Dan and his wife lived in a house, behind his business, located at County Road 14 and Highway 83 South.

Monday, May 23, 2016

First National Bank –First National Bank has had a varied name history, beginning with Great Northern Bank in 1897, then long known as the Second National Bank (avoiding any connection with two previous First National Banks, which had failed amid considerable publicity and bad feelings), then finally as the First National Bank. The bank remained on the northwest corner of Main Street and Central Avenue for many years. A new building was built on South Main. The new bank and parking lot now take up half the city block. The name changed to Norwest Bank and finally to Wells Fargo Bank.

 1908 - 2nd National Bank 

1926 - First National Bank

Friday, May 20, 2016

Woolworth's in Minot

FW Woolworth – Frank Winfield Woolworth opened his first store in1879 in Watertown, NY. He began with $410 worth of items and nothing sold for more than 5 cents. Woolworth’s opened in Minot in 1912 after buying out the New York Store. The Second floor was added in 1953.  Included in the remodel was the motor stairs or escalator, the first in a retail store in North Dakota. Other improvements were fluorescent lighting on both floors, new dust proof candy counters, 40 stool lunch counter, pet department complete with goldfish, parakeets and canaries and air conditioning. The lunch counter was on the south side of the store next to the escalator. As a young lad when my grandfather would take us to Woolworths for a dish of ice cream, my brothers and I were more interested in riding the escalator up and down than we were in our ice cream. Woolworths closed in 1982.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

New York Store – In many pictures of Minot’s Main Street one sees The New York Store. The original store was on North Main, about where 10 North Main is now. Then the store moved to the Southwest Corner of Main and Central. This location was at the turn of the century the home of Jack Doyle’s Saloon. The best known saloon in Minot at the time. Peter P Lee replaced the saloon with a general store. The building was known as the Lee Block. In 1906, Julius Fauchald bought the building and Lee’s Store became known as the New York Store. The building contained offices in the upper floors and was known as the New York Store Block. In 1912 Julius Fauchald sold the New York Store to Woolworths, which operated until 1982. Fauchald moved next door and established Fauchald’s Department Store which continued until it was sold to Abraham Bader in 1943.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Minot Optic –

The Minot Optic was founded by a colorful, outspoken and politically active Marshall McClure.  McClure sold the newspaper to H. A. Zimmerman, someone who was in constant political hot water, according to past history. The paper passed through various crises until it was purchased by W. M. Smart and published by him until May 1, 1914. Smart is well known in Minot for his real estate, and hotel businesses, and a long career in the House of Representatives. On May 1, 1914,  C. A. Johnson and Smart consolidated their papers, The Ward County Reporter and the Minot Optic,  as the Minot Optic-Reporter, and on November 25, 1916, they changed the name to The Minot Daily News. In 1920, Norman B. Black, H. D. Paulson, and Hal S. Davies, all of The Fargo Forum, purchased the News. Davies was then general manager of the Forum and became the new publisher of the News. It was the beginning of a long relationship between Davies and the city. The News paper was originally located in the Flat Iron Building on Central Avenue, then in the form Legion Club building on Broadway before moving to its present location in 1952.

Optic Press room

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Ward County Reporter -

 The Ward County Reporter had begun as the Burlington Reporter but moved to Minot with a new name but the same owner, J. L. Colton, who then sold it to C. A. Johnson. Johnson himself sold the paper in 1897.  George W. Wilson owned the newspaper from 1897 to 1906 and sold it to Sam H. Clark who owned it from 1906 to 1912. Both of these men were politically active, Clark being elected a Minot mayor; outspoken, and intensely interested in local affairs. C. A. Johnson re-purchased the Ward County Reporter in 1912 and owned it until 1916.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Clarence Parker Hotel --

 Ellison’s planned a three story department store with another two floors of office space on top. The first three floors were built but not floor 4 and 5 as George Vaulker started building his office building on the northwest corner of 1st Street and 1st Avenue Southeast.  Thinking there would be a surplus of office space, the Ellison Building remained at only three floors. The restaurant in the Ellison Building was 0n the second floor. The Vaulker office building  was never completed. The bottom two floors were all that was finished. The top floors were open with just the supports showing. The building was referred to as “The Sparrow Hotel” for many years as the birds were the only tenants. Twenty years later Clarence Parker bought the unfinished building and converted it to the Clarence Parker Hotel. In 1953 President Eisenhower  stayed in Minot while visiting the Garrison Dam. While in town, he rented a suite rooms at the Clarence Parker Hotel. 

Ellison's - Original Concept
Clarence Parker - 1929

 Clarence Parker - Sparrow Hotel
Clarence Parker - 1940's

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Leland House and Hotel

The Leland House and Hotel – In 1896 the Parkers leased the Leland House from the original owner, Allen Tompkins. They bought it from him in 1898. Located on the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue, The now Leland Parker Hotel had 10 rooms with their own bath. The hotel also had its own sewer system which was constructed after the city council turned down a proposal for city sewer. It was also Minot’s first brick building. The Leland Hotel – in 1904 the Leland Hotel had a pretentious dining room that could seat 100 people. Buffalo steaks from Clarence Parker’s famous herd were one of the popular items on the menu. The Leland advertised 110 rooms, steam heat, electric lights and fine furnishings. The Leland was remodeled and improved six times over the years. In the 50’s some of the businesses included the KG Men’s Store, Gambles, and a cafeteria. This location is now Art Space in Downtown Minot

 Leland House
Leland Hotel

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Parker House -- The Parker House was Minot’s first hotel. It was established in 1886 by Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Parker, parents of Clarence Parker. The hotel was in downtown Minot on 2nd Avenue. It was temporary home to many travelers and many of the buffalo bone wagon drivers. Buffalo bones were the cash crop for many early settlers in and around Minot. The bones were hauled in by the horse drawn wagon full and piled next to the railroad tracks. When loaded on the trains the bones were shipped to the east and I believe ground for fertilizer and other uses. Depending on the market in the east, buffalo bones were bringing $4.00 to $12.00 a ton. At one time there were so many buffalo bones stacked by the tracks that the railroad laid down a spur line just to load all the bones

 Spur Line next to Buffalo Bones
early picture of the Parker House

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Parker Motor Company –

Parker Motors was started in 1922 by Clarence Parker and JL (Louie) Smith.. It was located on 1st Avenue Southeast, across for the Scandinavian and Windsor Hotel, now the location of the old YMCA. The top floor of Parker Motors was the Parker Ballroom. A large auditorium with hardwood floors that was the home to roller skating and dances. In 1949, Burton Lahart was hired as General Manager and Don Moe was hired as Sales Manager. In 1953, Lahart bought out Parker’s share of the business. In 1957, Don Moe bought Smith’s share and the business became Lahart – Moe Inc. The Dealership had moved to its location on 3rd St and 1st Ave. SE. Alvin Officer purchased Lahart’s interest in 1963. Eventually in 1968, Don Moe acquired sole ownership and moved the business to South Broadway and County Road 14. In 1989  Don Moe sold the business to Mark Gulbrandson and it became Minot Chrysler Center.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

News in 1954

Tuesday, Nov 9, 1954 – a sampling of things in the newspaper – Many businesses, banks and others announcing they would be closed on Thursday in observance of Veterans Day ….. Many others and most retail stores would not open until Noon on Thursday …..

Entertainment --- Minot Community Players presenting a performance of  “The happy Time” at the Bohemian Hall (when I was in high school the Bohemian Hall was a party spot out of town……

KCJB – TV – schedule 6 pm – News ---  7 pm – Pantomime Quiz --- 7:30 pm - Halls of Ivy (new TV comedy) --- 8 pm film --- 9 pm - City Detective --- 9:30 pm Thru the Keyhole --- 10 pm News

There was a story on how to lay vinyl (resilient) tile….. and many teaser ads announcing the unveiling of the 1955 Ford on the following Friday

Monday, May 9, 2016

Blaisdell Motor Company –

Nov 1, 1927 – Located at 419 South Main Street – Blaisdell Motors was the Chrysler Dealer in 1927. On November 1, 1927 they were advertising the New Chrysler “52”.  The ad claimed the “New 52” was head and shoulders above the rest of the industry in comfort and luxury. The wood and Steel body was larger, the seats were wider and more comfortable and the car could achieve speeds of 52 miles per hour. Blaisdell Motors was selling, your choice, a Coupe or a Roadster with a Rumble seat for $725.00. Or you could step up in luxury to the De Luxe Sedan for $875.00. If you were in the market for a used car – Hupmobile Touring - $150.00 or an Overland Touring car for $75.00. Blaisdell Motors is now Main Medical .

Friday, May 6, 2016

Steenstrup Jewelry –

 Olaf Steenstrup, a native of Norway and member of a family of a long line of jewelers, founded Steenstrup’s Jewelry in 1919. The first store was in the Johnson building in downtown Minot. In 1926 Steenstrup’s moved into the State Theater building on Main Street. Harry Steenstrup, son of the founder, purchased the Smart Building in 1953 and the store moved to 30 West Central Avenue. Eventually Tom Steenstrup, son of Harry and grandson of Olaf, took over the business and moved to the Town & Country Shopping Center until it closed.

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Greengard Cranston Clothing – The first Greengard store was established in the early 1900’2 by Samuel and Joseph Greengard in Williston. Then came stores in Mandan and Bottineau prior to World War 1. The first Greengard store was established in Minot in the early 1920’s.  The first Greengard Store had the slogan, “Greengards Snappy Clothing”. It was located on Central Avenue just west of the First National Bank. The top floors of the store were home to rooms that were rented to many employees of the railroad and others. One lady informed that she lived there and worked at Sears (on North main) after the Second World War. Marv Greengard entered into a partnership with CF “Fergie” Cranston in 1946. Greengard – Cranston moved to South Main Street. Floyd “Dusty” Roed and John Merrill took over the operation of the business in 1974. Greengard Cranston continued business on Main Street until the 80’s

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Tollefson’s Furniture – Downtown Minot –

 Tollefson’s Furniture was started in 1925 by O.T. Tollefson. In 1925. In 1941, Tollefson’s was located at 13 First Street Southeast. This location had a main floor, balcony and full basement. In 1946, Tollefson’s moved to the Interstate Transportation Building located one block north of the Courthouse on Third Street SE. This building had three full floors and a warehouse located on the south side. In 1963 the city purchased this location to construct a new fire station (#2), which is still there. Tollefson’s then moved back to the location on First Street in 1964. They remained there until they moved 4 miles north of Minot in 1973.

Tollefson's Furniture - 1925

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Frank Building -

 The Frank Building was located between the old 1st National Bank Building and the alley just south of the Soo Line Depot. The Frank Building was the home to Cox’s Bakery. Before that this was also the home to Saunder’s Drug Store and at one time the North Main Tavern and Billiards. I believe the common name for the pool hall was The Hole. First National Bank bought the property and had the building torn down to make more room for parking for their customers. The site was turned into and still is a parking lot.

Monday, May 2, 2016

North American Sales

North America Trail-R-Ama – Originally known as North American Sales began operation in 1960. they were first headquartered in the Braasch building on South Broadway. They moved to  South Highway 83 in 1963.  North American Trail-R-Ama was owned by Ed Erie. Prior to setting up this business, Ed Erie was in the grocery and meat business in Powers Lake for 21 years. 13 of those years he was owner and operator of Erie’s Market. He was also the mayor of Powers Lake for 8 years.

North America Trail-R-ama sold pickup toppers and campers along with Tent Campers, Travel Trailers, 5th Wheel Trailers and Mini Motor Homes