Total Pageviews

Friday, June 23, 2017

Westland Oil Fire - 1947 Pt 3

The other man was an airport employee named Hobart Myers. He had gone to the scene to see what was happening and decided to try and help. When the flaming gasoline covered his body he dived into a sand pile at a nearby construction site. Myers was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital for treatment of severe burns. His coveralls were still smoldering when he arrived at the hospital. His clothing reportedly burst into flames again, burning a nurse who was caring for him. Myers suffered severe burns and had to go skin grafts. He was a patient at St. Joe’s Hospital for over eleven months before returning home. Myers later became a custodial worker at the Ward County Courthouse and passed away in 1958.

Map of area affected by the fire 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Westland Oil Fire Pt. 2

Casualties of the Westland Oil Fire….. one man was a transient from South Dakota looking for work in Minot. Edward Brown was walking north over the Third Street Overpass when the explosion occurred. He watched the fire for a while and then went to help another man with a hose spraying water on the Mandan Creamery building north of the burning oil tanks. Another blinding flash and explosion occurred which soaked their clothes with burning gasoline. Brown ran back up the overpass a ways and jumped into the river to extinguish the flames. He told his story from the hospital bed but died later that day. 


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Westland Oil Fire Pt 1

 The Westland Oil fire occurred in July of 1947. The cause of the fire may have been attributed to “pink gas’ flowing out of one of the tanks. This was reported by someone from the Bridgeman Creamery.  She claimed she saw the “pink” gas coming out of one of the tanks and decided to leave at once. As she was driving away the explosion pushed her car down the street but she escaped without injuries. Many businesses were lost in the fire besides losses incurred by Westland Oil. Those destroyed in the fire were: Mandan Creamery & Produce, Riverside CafĂ© & Tavern, Becwar & Cedarstrom Texaco and the Minot Co-op Grain Association. Badly damaged included Bridgeman Creameries, Monagin Power Equipment Co, Farmers Union Co-op Store, and Lowe’s Grocery. Five people were killed in the fire and a number were injured.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Nelson Motors

Nelson Motors was located at 614 Second St NW. The business began as “Ted and Markies” repair shop. In 1940 they entered in the new car field. The owners were Mark Nelson and Ted Hugh. The business was known as Hugh-Nelson Motors. In 1960 Nelson and sons bought out the interest of Ted Hugh. The Rambler was the vehicle line the carried. Eventually the name was changed to Nelson Motors and the car line became American Motors. One of the popular vehicles in the late 60’s was the Javelin and the AMC. Both were sports cars and were meant to rival the Mustangs and Camaros. The AMC was one of the cars I always wanted to own, but so far never have.

 Nelson Motors
New Hudsons on Showroom Floor

Monday, June 19, 2017

Minot Public Library –

The original Minot Public Library began in 1908 in two rooms rented in the Optic Block. In 1908 the city approved its first mill levy for library purposes. In 1910 with $2000 in its treasury, the library obtained a grant from Andrew Carnegie for a new building. The Library was built at the corner of what is now Second Avenue and First Street Southeast. The library moved into its new home in 1911 and remained there for 55 years, when it moved into its current location. When the Library was dedicated in February of 1912, it had 1490 books and claimed to have 1350 borrowers. The original library building is now the Carnegie Center.

 Library - 1911
 Library Interior - 1911

Friday, June 16, 2017

American Legion Club – Downtown Minot –

The American Legion Club was located in Downtown Minot on 1st St SW north of American State Bank. The American Legion Club moved into this building in 1952 after purchasing it from the Minot Daily News. The News moved to its new location at 301 4th St. SE.  The American Legion Club moved to a new location on Minot’s north hill, now the home of Don Bessette Motors. The old American Legion Club location in Downtown Minot is now part of the parking lot west of Bremer Bank. I was in the old American Legion Club many times during my stint of driving a delivery truck for Coca Cola Bottling. It was always noted for having great food.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Secret Room –

 The night foreman at Stearns relayed this story of the secret room. As night foreman he would take care of the cars that came in for parking while the owners went to shows and other entertainment. After all in those days, everything happened Uptown. He had a small office by the entryway to the basement that enabled him to collect the money and park the cars outside. One night he discovered loose bricks in the wall, so he dug them out and soon had an opening. He then moved a kitchen cabinet over the hole. He mixed the dirt with sand and gravel that dropped from the cars when ice and snow melted. The next morning when the floor was swept, it all went into the garbage. He did this every night and soon created his secret room. He kept his refreshments for his side business in the secret room. 




Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Tunnels in Minot #3 –

 There were also many rumors about tunnels under “High Third”, Minot’s Red Light District. One hears rumors about bars and clubs that had escape tunnels in the basement for quick evacuation in case of a raid by the police. Again, in interviewing people back in the mid 80’s for the Ward County Centennial, I was told that “High Third” in its hey-day had many such tunnels. I was also informed that at one time a person could start at 4th Avenue (Burdick Expressway) and go to 1st Avenue or Stearns Motors (now I. Keating’s) without ever going outside. The route would consist of basement tunnels between houses and businesses as well as above ground passages between buildings. I have been investigating the history of Minot’s High Third. I very seriously doubt if this was true. In the days of prohibition, most of the addresses on Third Street were houses inhabited by regular law abiding citizens. True or not about the tunnels, I don’t know BUT some of the people I interviewed 25 years ago are no longer with us to ask. One thing that did come out is the fact that most of the time the places to be raided were warned ahead of time about a pending raid, hence tunnels were probably not really needed. It appears that many establishments of Third Street had “escape” passages out the back or through the basement if the need arose

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tunnels in Minot #2 –

For many years a number of downtown buildings were heated by steam which was piped into them by steam pipes for the NSP Steam Power plant. The steam pipes had to be maintained so they ran through tunnels below the streets and buildings. These tunnels were large enough to accommodate men who may need to repair or do other maintenance. Many people confuse these tunnels with tunnels rumored to be running into Minot for the purpose of running contraband in and out of town. Most of this was in the form of alcohol smuggled in from Canada and other points. The Steam tunnels under Minot, while large enough to walk through were separate form any booze smuggling tunnels. However there was a rumor that a tunnel ran from Stearns Motors to the Rex Motel and another tunnel that ran from Stearn’s Motors to the old Flatiron Building. Possibly, only the people working on the Broadway Project in 1960 would know if this were true.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Tunnels In Minot #1 –

 Before WW II there was a pedestrian tunnel under the railroad tracks on Fourth Avenue (Burdick Expressway). It was probably built about the same time as the overpass. The tunnel was well lighted and dry. Cars no longer had to worry about trains, nor did pedestrians. Cars went over the top and people went underneath. After WWII the lights were broken by vandals. Women were afraid to use the tunnels. Because of liability the railroad boarded up the entrance. The question comes to mind…. Is the tunnel still there? I am pretty sure it is not.

4th Ave (Burdick Exp) Tunnel

Friday, June 9, 2017

Minot’s Anne Street Bridge Part 5 –

Many other problems persisted after the “foot viaduct” had been built. Because of the steps on both ends, older people and women with baby carriages had difficulties using the bridge. Early travelers across the bridge also had to contend with soot and smoke from the engines passing below. City officials also noted there was a threat to ladies wearing light colored or expensive gowns. Finally in January 1918 Great Northern agreed to “enclose and cover and also reconstruct the floor of the viaduct to deal with the soot and smoke. It seems that much later, in the 1920’s the steps were replaced with inclines (ramps).  The bridge may have remained “covered” well into the 1950’s. The picture shows people fishing from the Anne St. Bridge in the 1920's
Research thanks to Susan Gessner - Minot

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Minot’s Anne Street Bridge Part 4 –

i
In April 1909 the city of Minot passed an ordinance allowing the “foot viaduct” to be built. Part of the ordinance apparently called for using the remains of the 1908 bridge as part of the construction. The City of Minot also agreed not to request any other “crossing” over Great Northern property. Also, upon completion of the construction, Great Northern would have the right to remove all other footbridges between the Great Northern bridge and Nedrud Avenue. Construction was completed in June of 1909. Criticism arose as the access to the bridge consisted of forty some steps on both ends of the bridge, creating problems for many residents.   Research thanks to Susan Gessner - Minot


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Minot’s Anne Street Bridge Part 3 –

By September 1908 it seems that the Great Northern had agreed to a new bridge … a “foot viaduct” that would span the Mouse River and the railway grounds. The city would split the costs with Great Northern but haggling still continued. One issue was Great Northern’s insistence that it would not pay for the approaches to the viaduct. At one point the City on Minot was considering “condemning Great Northern property for Anne’s Street diagonally to Main Street” to assert their rights. Finally in March 1909, the city approved the plans submitted by Great Northern. Erik Ramstad helped secure the funding to pay for the city’s share of the costs totaling $1895.00      Research thanks to Susan Gessner - Minot


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Minot’s Anne Street Bridge Part 2 –

 On Sunday, April 26, Great Northern employees tore down half of the structure. The city apparently had not consulted with G. N about the need for the bridge but built it anyway. Great Northern gave no issue during the construction of the footbridge. The reason for the demolition appears to have been the city infringing on Great Northern property without permission. This left the North Siders far from jubilant and somewhat out of sorts. The local newspapers were very sarcastic towards the railroad in all their articles covering the issue. Finally. by September 1908, the railroad agreed to a new bridge – a “foot viaduct” that would span the Mouse river and the railroad tracks.      Research thanks to Susan Gessner - Minot


Monday, June 5, 2017

Minot’s Anne Street Bridge Part 1 –

 For many years the residents of the “North Side” of early Minot wanted better access to downtown. A footbridge known as the “Wheeler Bridge” spanned the Mouse Rive at the foot of Victoria Street but was mainly used and useful to G.N. employees. In 1908 a temporary footbridge was built over the Mouse River by the “north Siders”, but it was later partially destroyed. In early 1908, a “foot viaduct” was built by the city to replace the unsafe temporary bridge. This footbridge spanned the Mouse River and the Great Northern Railway tracks. It was built in early 1908 at a cost of $625. The North Siders were jubilant.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Show N Sell Sign –

the Show N Sell Sign is the former marquee from the Empire Theater on main Street.  When the theater was torn down, the theater marquee was rescued by Robert and Becky Weiss. The sign was built in 1954 when the Empire Theater was constructed. The Show N Sell sign was placed on the roof of the Midtown Plaza on the southwest corner of Broadway and 2nd Avenue. A number of energy saving materials. As the Empire Marquee the sign was illuminated with 480 incandescent light bulbs. As the Show N Sell sign it is illuminated by two exterior high intensity lights. The sign was rented by people and businesses wanting to advertise or announce special events. As co-owner of the Show N Sell sign I can attest to some of the challenges in operating it. The only access to the sign on the roof was by an extension ladder placed on the west side of the building. The first winter of ownership we discovered that water on the roof pooled below the sign. In the winter, the wind blew and polished the ice, making it very slippery. We used a step ladder to place the letters on the sign as this worked much better and was quicker than using the long arms to place the letters. With the ice it became a two man job. One to hold the ladder and one to place the letters. In later years we placed wooden pallets upside down below the sign. When they froze into the ice, the step ladder would not slide around while working on the sign.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Minot Grocery Co.

Minot Grocery Company –Originally known as Grand Forks Mercantile,  the Minot Grocery Company started operations in Minot in 1906. Its first home was in downtown Minot east of Main Street and north of Central Avenue. In the early days Minot Grocery was purchased by the Nash Finch Company.  The Nash Brothers started business in 1885 in Grand Forks and were soon joined by Harry Finch. Nash Finch Company supplied products to the area Piggly Wiggly, Jack & Jill and Circle Food Stores. Nash Finch moved to a new, modern warehouse on Highway 2 & 52 West. They are still in business at the same location. That is now 16th Street SW and Burdick Expressway West.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Parker Motor Company

Parker Motor Company – in 1922 Clarence Parker and JL (Louie) Smith founded the Parker Motor Company located at 117 First Avenue SE. The business flourished in the 1920’s and slumped in the 1930’s. Following WWII business was increasing so Burton Lahart was hired as General Manager and Don Moe as Sales manager…. In the 1950’s Lahart and Smith became partners until Smith sold his share to Don Moe in 1957. At that time the name was changed to Lahart-Moe Inc. and the business moved to the corner of 3rd St and 1st Ave. SE Later Don Moe purchased the entire company and it became Don Moe Dodge. He moved the business to the outskirts of town on Highway 83 South. Don Moe Dodge became Minot Chrysler Center in 1989 and is now known as The Minot Automotive Center.

 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Leland Parker Hotel Demolition

Leland Parker Demolition – in 1963 as the Leland Parker Hotel was being demolished the crew found a building within the Leland Hotel. There was a two story wooden building that had been encased by the Leland. Portions of the old wooden structure were used as rooms in the hotel but an area above the wooden building had been left open as the brick and block roof would have been too heavy for the structure. The first floor had been remodel several times over the years and brick walls surrounded the structure. The Leland Parker Hotel stood on the spot now occupied by Art Space. 


Friday, May 26, 2017

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


Thursday, May 25, 2017

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.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Great Northern Bank

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.

2nd National Bank (Great Northern Bank)
1st National Bank

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Robertson Lumber Co.

Robertson Lumber Company – Started in Minot in 1940 … located at 200 1st St SE – On December 24th 1975 (Christmas Eve) a spectacular fire destroyed the business. Cause of the fire was not immediately determined but the loss was estimated at over one million dollars. Robertson set up a temporary office at 119 1st Ave SE and eventually moved to the bypass east of the truck stop….. Sebby’s Carpetarea – 1839 South Broadway – home for Draperies, Linoleum, wallpaper, paint and tile of all types – also dealer for Mohawk carpets and other brands ….


Monday, May 22, 2017

New York Store

New York Store –   In many pictures of Minot’s Main Street one sees The New York Store. It was on 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.

New York Store - late 1890's

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Minot Daily 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.

 Minot Optic Printing Press
Minot Daily Printing Press

Thursday, May 18, 2017

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.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Past Business in MInot

Carousel Appliance – 1905 2nd St SE – Across from Kmart – They carried major appliances – brands included Maytag, Amana, Hotpoint and Monarch….. St Croix Motors – in 1976 they were the dealer for Yamaha Snowmobiles and Motorcycles – located at 1206 South Broadway – at that location since 1957. …… Minot Paint, Glass & Marine – 2021 4th Ave NW – dealer for Pittsburgh Paints, Assorted Hockey equipment, Mercury Snowmobiles, Ski-Doo Snowmobiles, snowmobile suits and accessories and Boats – Crestliner, Glastron, Mercury and Weeres and Kayot Pontoons





Tuesday, May 16, 2017

From the 1958 phone book.....

1958 Facts about Minot – Site of US Air Force Jet Interceptor Base and Radar Station – Great Northern Freight Classification yard in Minot was the most modern in the nation – The Airport was service by Braniff Airlines Daily and had charter service available – 3 paved highways intersected in Minot – There were 12,173 telephone connections and 8,981 electrical connections with a population of about 30,000. Minot also enjoyed a healthful and invigorating climate…. A fact proven by government records which show only a small percentage of people from this area were rejected for physical reasons in World War II.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Telephone Party Line Instructions - 1958

Rural Line Ringing Code – 1958 – Phone subscribers on the same rural line could call each other. The process was to dial the code 18 and then the 4th and 5th digit of the called party’s number, in the order given. After dialing the proper sequence of numbers you would replace the receiver on the hook and allow time for the called party to answer. After waiting a short period of time you would pick up the receiver and hopefully the party you called would be there. Example of a ringing code: 4th Digit –2 and  5th digit 4 the ringing code was 1S – 1L – 2S (S being a short ring and L being a long ring)

Friday, May 12, 2017

How to Dial a Rotary Telephone

Dial Service Instructions – One of the first pages in the 1958 telephone directory had a complete set of instructions on how to use a rotary dial telephone. I believe this was about the time the dial phones came into existence.
1. Place forefinger firmly in dial opening 
2. Turn dial around in clockwise direction until the finger strikes the finger stop
3. Remove finger and let dial return to normal position

 The instructions also explained the different signals one could hear over the phone lines…. The phone ringing signal was described as a “burring” sound…. The Busy signal a “buzz-buzz-buzz” sound.  Instructions were also there on the use of “party lines”. Long distance and out of town calls had to go through the operator. In 1958 all phone numbers were 5 digit. Example: the phone number for Steenstrup Jewelers was 36-22

Thursday, May 11, 2017

1950-59 Top News Headlines

Headlines from the 1950’s -  
1951 – the YMCA opened on 1st St in downtown Minot
1951 - Ward County Historical Society formed
1952 – Year round garbage service began in Minot
1952 -  President Truman Spoke from the back of a train
1953 – President Eisenhower was in Minot For the dedication of the Garrison Dam
1954 – Minot selected to receive an Air Force Base
1955 – MDU opened --- Ground breaking for MAFB and Gavin Yard

1959 – Minot became the site for an International Airport

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

1963 - More Construction Projects

1963 Buildings under construction -- Little Flower Church  -- With what was described as a massive bell tower …… Houses on North Hill – Many homes on the sides of the coulees on north hill under construction – some were selling for as much as $35,000 to $40,000……Jim Hill Junior High – located on the site of the former Washington Golf Course, the $1 ½ million building was scheduled to open in the fall of 1963 – Jim Hill contained 30 class rooms as well as a large gymnasium and swimming pool……

Jim Hill construction


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Commercial Development - 1962-63

Building  Projects underway in 1963 -- Union National Bank – 1963 – in early 1963 Union National Bank was in the construction phase. The steel work was in place for the new two story bank building which was to be the home of the most modern facility in the banking business…… Gate City Savings & Loan – a multi gables roof accented the new building on the corner of 4rd Avenue and 1st Street SW …. Ramada Inn – on top of North Hill overlooking the valley. Now known as the Grand International Inn…….

 Midwest Federal Building (1962)
 Union National Bank 
 Ramada Inn ( now Grand Hotel)

Monday, May 8, 2017

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


Friday, May 5, 2017

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.

Basement of Tollefson's Furniture

Thursday, May 4, 2017

1927 Chrysler Dealer

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


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

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 ….

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Outdoor Theaters

1963 Out Door Theaters –in June, 1963 the new Starlite Outdoor Theater would soon be opening. Both outdoor theaters were owned by the same company, Triangle Theaters associates. By July of 1963 there were two outdoor theaters in Minot. The Minot Outdoor Theater was on North Hill in the area of what is now the Vegas Motel. On July 3, 1963 they were showing 4 features including Ma & Pa Kettle on Old MacDonald’s Farm …. The Starlite Outdoor Theater was on Highway 83 South where The Cenex Gas Station, Holiday Inn Express and Cartiva are located – they same weekend they were showing a 4 feature Spookathon – one of which was the Tower of London staring Vincent Price…. Admission to both – 85 cents and kids under 12 were free ---also free were those who hid in the trunks of cars as you entered the theater grounds



Monday, May 1, 2017

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 1964

Friday, April 28, 2017

Martin Jacobson Home –

Martin Jacobson was well known in the early days of Minot. He had a large ranch south of Burlington and built the Jacobson Building on the north end of Main Street that housed Jacobson Hardware, Union National Bank and the Opera House. The large house he built at 304 South Main Street was a surprise for his wife who suffered from tuberculosis. He built the house to accommodate his six children and also because he was fond of hosting large social gatherings. During the 1920s and into the 1930s, the home served as a rooming house for nurses employed at Trinity Hospital. From the later 1930s until 1944, it served as a public rooming house. Ben Thomas purchased the home in 1944 and with some remodeling, opened it as Thomas Funeral Home in 1945


Thursday, April 27, 2017

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.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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. 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.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Empire Theater

 The Empire was located next to the Thomas Funeral Home. It was one of the last theaters of its type with the screen situated as it was, behind you as you enter the theater itself. The Empire also had a balcony, reportedly the home of many budding romances. At one point they also sold a Movie Series Package that provided a strip of 10 tickets for $2. Each ticket got you into a Saturday movie. They had the line-up set in advance with the movie name on each ticket. Among the movies shown as part of the series were "Five Weeks in a Balloon", "Zotz" and some of the "The Three Stooges Meet..." movies. As a Child, you could save the medallions form your milk cartons and redeem them for tickets to the Saturday show. At times various churches used the Empire Theater for their services when their church was going through construction or other mishaps. I believe the Empire also held “live’ concerts at one time. In the late 60’s, my name was on a list of people banned from the Empire and at that time Oak Park Theater. One of my friends lit a cigarette in the balcony and inserted the fuse of a Cherry Bomb, (a very large firecracker) in the cigarette. When it burned down, the Cherry Bomb exploded. We could not go to the movies unless we found someone to open the back door so we could sneak into the theater. The site is now a parking lot for Trinity Hospital.




Monday, April 24, 2017

1933 - Montgomery Wards Builds in Downtown Minot

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


Friday, April 21, 2017

Minot Auto Club

 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 Superintendant and his four officers went to county seats like Minot and issued drivers licenses to reluctant drivers for payment of a small fee.