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Monday, October 31, 2016

Booze Smuggling Hearse

Rowan Funeral Home – This information was given to me by Les Maupin back in 1986 while researching Minot for the Centennial.  Rowans’s Funeral Home was on the corner of Main Street and 2nd Avenue, where Rueb’s Camera and Cards was located. Apparently the owners were affiliated with some aspect of the booze running in the days of Prohibition. I was told that the viewing rooms of Rowan’s Funeral during this time were home to many high stake poker games. Maupin was not sure if they ever actually held any funerals during this time. During Prohibition, the alcohol was brought in in one and two gallon metal containers. Rowan’s Funeral Home would fill a casket, or two, with these cans of booze and load them into the hearse. They had at least one if not more. The hearse would then deliver the booze throughout the country under the guise of transporting a body in a casket. Diving prudently and obeying the speed limits they successfully delivered the product. After all, who would stop and search a casket in a hearse?

Friday, October 28, 2016

Pop Shaw’s Garage

Pop Shaw’s Garage – At the turn of the century, the area known as High Third was originally located on 1st Street SW, south of Central Avenue. This area also the future home of Harry’s Tire Service, known back then as  Pop Shaw’s Garage. The garage was on the main floor and the basement, There was a bowling alley on the second floor. The third floor was a gambling den and after hours night club. The garage was next to what is now Bremer Bank, and had an elevator. The bootlegger cars would enter the garage and the owner would ride the elevator down to the basement with the car full of booze. Rumor had it that he would booby trap the car in case someone tried to steal the liquor, lock it up and walk back up via the stairway. No one knew for sure as nobody was about to risk tripping the booby trap. By the 50’s the top floor was converted to an apartment where the family that the bowling alley lived.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

3 Successful Booze Runs = Free Car

 There is a story out there about a well known Booze Runner and free cars. The story says that this individual would offer a free car to anyone who could make three successful runs from Canada to Minot without getting high jacked or stopped by the law. The car was to have been a Buick, reportedly they were the fastest and most powerful vehicle at the time. In fact an entry in a national magazine claims that during the days of prohibition, Minot had more high performance cars per capita than any other city. Back to the free Buick. The problem for any takers on the offer was that if someone made two successful runs, this individual would make sure the third run failed. Since he knew the route and times, he would send his own men out to high jack the shipment so he would not have to give away a Buick.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Revenuer's Turn Around

 – A scenario for at least one of the Revenuer’s in Minot: When his car arrived at their destination there was a “turn around” in the garage . The “Turn Around” was a very large motor driven turn table. Upon driving into the garage, the car would drive onto the “turn around” and the vehicle was turned around so it was facing the same direction it had entered from. This way it could make for a hasty exit without having to back out of the garage. It could just drive straight out, often in hot pursuit of a bootlegger.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

More Booze Running Tacics

When the booze car or cars got to their destination in Minot, a number of scenarios were possible. Some of the garages had special elevators. When the car entered with the booze, it would drive into a special elevator. This would either raise the car up to the floor above or lower it to the floor below. If followed by officers, they would enter the building and find no vehicle. By the time they would conduct a search, the booze would have been unloaded and stashed safely or moved to another location.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Booze Smuggling Tactics

Triple cars  – The booze runners would travel in groups of three. Three vehicles, one with the alcohol and two decoy vehicles. The Choice of vehicle back in those days was the Buick. The alcohol was stored in a metal tank under the back seat. All the cars had a tank so all were weighted equally. The two decoy cars were loaded down with bricks. The reason for the equal weight was to leave the same track on dirt, muddy roads or grass when sneaking across the border. If the two decoy cars were not weighted down, the police could follow the car with the deeper tracks. The three cars would travel in line. The Booze car generally drove the speed limit, while the decoy cars would be speeding. If they were chased  by the law, the two decoy cars would split and go in different directions. If the decoy cars were caught the worst they would get was a speeding ticket. With the law enforcement people busy with the decoy cars, the booze car was free to travel on to Minot or wherever their destination was.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Vendome Bar

High Third Street – There were a number of businesses that flourished on Minot’s High Third Street. Third Street over the years was the home to Bars, Restaurants, Hotels and houses that participated in illegal activities that ranged from illegal alcohol sales during Prohibition, after hour alcohol sales, high stake card games  and prostitution. Some of those Third Street Businesses were: The Avalon, The Coffee Bar, Metrol Café (Saul’s Barbecue), Famous Pit Barbecue (Twilight Inn & Kay’s Café), The Grill, and later after Third Street was shut down, The Flame in Radio City. Business was brisk until 1960 when the Jaycee’s mounted a successful campaign to close down the area. Pictured is the Vendome Bar and Saul's BarBQue and the Coffee Bar 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Grill

 – the Grill was located at 316 third St. SW… The Grill was a part of the area known  as “High Third” although it did not have the reputation of some of the other businesses on Third St.  Dee Dee Govan operated The Grill for many years. He acquired the property from “Ma” Butler, a legend on Third Street and the subject of another article. Dee Dee served pretty good food  and at times would offer coffee laced with liquor, if so desired. After the decline of Third St. The Grill was home to Dee Dee’s Hot Tamales. He made them, packaged them and sold them out of  The Grill.  I was offered a job by Dee Dee selling the Hot Tamales when I was driving truck for Coca Cola Bottling back in the late 60’s.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Minot's Street of Illicit Behavior

High Third Street – There were a number of businesses that flourished on Minot’s High Third Street. Third Street over the years was the home to Bars, Restaurants, Hotels and houses that participated in illegal activities that ranged from illegal alcohol sales during Prohibition, after hour alcohol sales, high stake card games  and prostitution. Some of those Third Street Businesses were: The Avalon, The Coffee Bar, Metrol Café (Saul’s Barbecue), Famous Pit Barbecue (Twilight Inn & Kay’s Café), The Grill, and later after Third Street was shut down, The Flame in Radio City. Business was brisk until 1960 when the Jaycee’s mounted a successful campaign to close down the area

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Liquor Depot

 Bienfait, Canada – The Canadian Liquor companies would rent a portion of the railroad depot warehouse in Bienfait. The liquor was stored in a closed off room. They would have a manager in town who would sell what was desired to the bootleggers, not to bars, just to the bootleggers. The depot is still in Bienfait, although it has been moved to different location and is now a museum. However, the original depot was purchased by and moved to a local farmstead about a mile outside of town.  The railroad tracks still go through the town. The route out of town goes south to Ross Percy in the Souris Valley, then to Sherwood, splitting off to Columbus and Portal.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Machine Gun in Prohibition Cars

Gun Battle – Minot was also the home of many high speed automobile chases in connection with the bootlegging activities. One national magazine was quoted as saying “Minot has more high performance vehicles per capita than any other city in America”. These powerful cars, Buicks at the time, were the favored car of the bootleggers. One high speed chase resulted in the arrest of the proprietor of the Last Chance Barbershop on Central Avenue. In a shootout, whiskey-runner Avery Erickson was fatally shot by Officer F.S. Fahler, who later died from wounds received in the same encounter. In 1921 when state prohibition forces opened their northwest regional headquarters in Minot, they announced that their cars would be equipped with Browning machine guns. The office was closed a few years later

Friday, October 14, 2016

Minot - A Wide Open Town

Little Chicago – Minot had a reputation as a rowdy and “wide open” town. When nationwide prohibition went into effect, Minot became known as “Little Chicago”. It had the reputation as being the most wide open city between Chicago and Butte, Montana. It was believed that the police would raid speakeasies of those who had supported the losing side in the election for city officials. In 1921, soon after W.M. Smart was elected president of the city commission by defeating W.S. Shaw, (a six year incumbent), he was the subject of a recall petition. It was alleged that he allowed gambling and the operation of “Blind Pigs”. (Blind Pigs were illegal drinking establishments.)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Let's Discuss High Third -- Inequity Hollow

Inequity Hollow – Fred Hines at one time was a cab or bus driver in Minot in the early 1900’s. He drove for both the Leland Hotel and Waverly Hotel at different times. His task was to pick up and deliver clients to their destinations around Minot. He would deliver his passengers from the railroad stations to the hotels and when the fair was held on south hill, he would transport the passengers to it also. Quote from 1939 article “at that period in Minot’s history there was a segregated district of bawdy houses in a coulee southwest of Minot and as a hack driver he was called upon to transport gentlemen of the double standard from downtown hotels to this place which was sometimes called Inequity Hollow.”  Also North Dakota was under state prohibition at that time, Hines recalls that whiskey was easily obtained in Minot.  This area is what we refer to today as 3rd Street Southwest or Minot’s High Third. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

1927 - Dollar Days 90 Years Ago

Dollar Days 1927 – Apparently the concept of Dollar Day Sales in Minot was around 90 years ago. In the November 7,  1927 news paper many business were featuring Dollar Days Sales but the items were a bit different than one finds now….. everything in the newspaper ads was exactly $1.00….. Goldberg’s Furniture had large reversible rugs … Squtts Clothing – Mens dress shirts with collar …. Mens silk and wool sox ….. Watson’s Sanitary Grocery – 13 pounds sugar… canned vegetables 8 cans ….. Brooms ….. 5 pounds peanuts ….. Fauchalds Department Store – 5 Bath towels … Minot Outlet Store – men’s overalls (jeans) …Minot Furniture Co – bed pillows … 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

More Business – 1927 --

The Furniture Exchange --  located one block east of the Leland Hotel – O T Tollefson, proprietor (may have been the early days of  Tollefson’s Furniture) …EH Myren Cleaners – 36 East Central Avenue – Johnson’s popular Priced Stores --  one of seven stores was in Minot – They claimed to buy for cash in the New York markets therby offering lower prices in their stores…. Outlet Store --  120 West Central Avenue – Now a vacant lot where the Flat Iron Building was – sold men’s and some ladies clothes at reduced prices

Monday, October 10, 2016

Business – 1927 --

 W E Borene Co. – Mens clothing store – featured Hart Schaffner and Marx Clothes … Union National Bank – Corner of Main St and Central Ave. – on second floor – Opera house on top floor – (Now the Taube Museum) … The French Hat Shop – located on Main St… sold all types of hats for women … Fauchald’s Dept. Store – located on Main Street Next to FW Woolworth (at one time on the corner of Central and Main – known as the New York Store before Woolworth’s bought the building) … J C Penny Co. – in 1927 they were located at 116-118 South Main St.  …

Jacobson Opera House Block - Union National Bank Sign on Main Floor .... Opera Barber Shop and Baths in basement

Friday, October 7, 2016

Businesses in 1927 --

  New York Hardware & Furniture Co – 18 – 22 North Main –telephone number 9 … … Glazer’s Cloak Shop –women’s coats of all types, leather and fur also dresses and fashion accessories … Piper-Howe Lumber Company – on 1st Ave. NE – just north of Central Avenue – (about where the Railroad Museum is now) … Ellison’s – The Fair Dept. Store – Main Street and 2nd Avenue – Downtown Minot …. Minot Electric Shop – 32 First St SE – sold Kolster and other brands of radios….

 Piper - Howe Lumber Co.
New York Store

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Grocery Stores in 1927

--  Oppens Market – in 1927 located at 3rd St and Central Avenue ( Val’s Cyclery) …. Watson’s Sanitary Grocery – 39 1st Ave SW (Downtown in the area of US Bank …. Fairway Grocery & Meat – 823 4th Ave SE – They delivered in Minot … Chain meat & Grocery – On North Broadway (about where the Barley Pop is now) … Red Owl Store – not sure where they were located in 1927 …… Eastwood Park Grocery – on the corner of East central Ave and 6th St SE (Next to the Hump back bridge that is now closed) … Shirley’s Grocery – Downtown Minot – Oak Park Meat Market --  422 2nd Ave NW … Fairway Grocery –4th Ave and 9th St SE – At entrance to Eastwood Park … City Market --  not sure where they were located – phone number 64 …

 Chain Grocery
 Eastwood Park Grocery
Shirley Grocery

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

More Auto Dealers 1927

– 1927 -- Fisher – Sandlie Motor Company – They acquired the Pence Auto co. – Buick dealer …Crowell Motor Company – Authorized dealer for Paige automobiles … Parker Motor Co .—115 -119 1st Ave SE – Dodge dealer (across from the Blue Rider) – Had a large auditorium on the top floor of the building which house Skateland and burned in 1962) … Minot Reo Co. – 21 1st St SE – Dealer for The REO Flying Cloud and Wolverine autos …

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Early Minot Auto Dealers

Auto Dealers in 1927 -- Kluver Motor Co. – 16 Third St NE – ( across from the Ice Box Bar on south side of the 3rd St overpass) in 1927 they were the Pontiac and Oakland dealer – later would become the Plymouth dealer … Westlie Motor Co – at Central Avenue and 2nd St NW (Broadway) – Ford and Lincoln dealer … Interstate Motor Co. – Dealer for Hudson and Essex automobiles … Frosaker Motor Co. – 2nd St and 1st Ave SW – now the home of  the Wells Fargo Drive-in bank … -- Blaisdell Motors – Chrysler Dealer – 4th Ave and Main St. (now Main Medical) … Hanson Motor Co. – Central Avenue and 2nd St SE – Falcon-Knight auto dealer …. Whitmore Motor Co – Erskine and Studebaker Dealer … Nash-Westra Auto co – Franchise dealer for Nash Automobiles … Eck-Johnson Motor Co – Willys-Knight and Whippet dealer in Minot
Pictured is Blaisdell Motors which became Main Motors and is now Main Medical... also shown is the original Westlie Motors

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Jacqueline Shop –

 The Jacqueline shop was located at 115 South Main Street. It opened for business on July 27, 1965. The original owner was Rowland Harkness, who also was the lessee of the shoe department in Walter’s Women’s Wear. At one time the manager was Katie Mullen and then Barbara Mills. Following the death of Rollie Harkness, ownership of the Jacqueline shop went to his son, Todd Harkness. The store featured shoes by Jacqueline, Connie, Famolare, Hush Pupppies, Bear Traps and Nurse Mates for women.