Wednesday, May 24, 2017
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.
1st National Bank
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
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 – 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 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 Daily Printing Press
Thursday, May 18, 2017
The Ward County Reporter had begun as the Burlington Reporter but moved to
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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…….
Union National Bank
Ramada Inn ( now Grand Hotel)
Monday, May 8, 2017
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 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
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
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
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
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 1964
Friday, April 28, 2017
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 . 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 Trinity
Thursday, April 27, 2017
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
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 United States Chicago to his uncle’s
farm west of New England, North
Dakota and then got a summer job at the 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. Dickinson
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
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
downtown area. Minot
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
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
Montgomery Wards – The building that was home to Montgomery Wards started life in 1933 when construction began. It is on the Northwest corner of
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 . The building
was known as the Emporium and was owned by James McClintock of White
In September of 1982, the building was purchased by local business men and
renovated to what it is today Edina, Minnesota
Friday, April 21, 2017
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
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 Rice Lake 2nd St NW
and 4th Avenue
and also in downtown .
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. Minot
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Elks Lodge – The Minot Elks Lodge Number 1089 was chartered on July 12, 1908. The first location was on the Southwest corner of
Main Street and 2nd Avenue.
The cornerstone for this building was laid on May 22,1909. The First Exalted
Ruler was LJ Palda. The Palda Family is the only family in to have had father, son and grandson
serve as Exhalted Rulers. The Elks Lodge eventually moved west to a new home on
the Northwest corner of Broadway and Minot 2nd
Avenue. This building was 2 floors and a bar and
parking in the basement. The upstairs ballroom was home to many parties and
Elks Lodge - 1964
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Dr. Stone also worked out of a Hospital on 9th Avenue NW, across the street from MSU.. Some say the hospital was referred to as the Stone Hospital, as the picture shows it was Mercy Hospital. In 1935 Minot’s Mercy Hospital was located at 505 9th Avenue NW. The phone number was 114 and the resident surgeon was Dr. E. C. Stone. The first appendectomy performed was in a sod house in 1905. Mercy Hospital was regarded as a modern hospital that offered facilities equal to the best in the land. The patients received necessary care from doctor and registered nurses at a minimum expense. From June 1, 1934 to Jun 1, 1935, 697 surgical operations were performed at Minot’s Mercy Hospital. In addition to that, 536 mediacal cases were done during the same period. The total number of patients cared for was 1233. Prior to moving to the location on 9th St. NW. Mercy Hospital was located on Main Street in Downtown Minot.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Monday, April 17, 2017
In 1951 Rueb Forsberg started a camera club while working at the camera department in Minot Drug. Rueb’s Camera opened in 1957 on
one block east of the . In 1962 Rueb’s
Camera moved to its location on the northeast corner of Federal
Building 2nd Avenue and Main Street. In May
of 1980 Rueb opened the first 1 hour photo lab in and the 11th in the
country. At one time Rueb’s had 15 labs in seven states. Rueb also published a
book (booklet) titled “Mouse that Roared”, which is a pictorial history of the
flood of 1969. It is a fairly rare book to find these days. North Dakota
Friday, April 14, 2017
Boris Karloff – The Jacobson Opera House was host to many traveling theater companies in the early days of Minot. One of those theatrical companies was the Harry St. Clair Company. This group had an actor with them that would one day become famous. That actor was Boris Karloff, best known later in his career for the horror movies he starred in. Karloff spent 60 weeks in Minot back about 1915 when he was acting with the Harry St. Clair Company. They were performing at the Opera House and would have stayed longer but according to Karloff, they ran out of plays. Probably not many people are aware of the fact that Boris Karloff was a life member of the Minot Chamber of Commerce. The award was presented to him in 1957 by J. Warren Bacon of Minot at the television showing of “This is Your Life”, about Boris Karloff. A side note, Bacon, then 12 years old often ran errands of Boris Karloff. Bacon’s father was the manager of the Opera House at the time.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
The Jacobson Opera House was built by Martin Jacobson, known as “The Hardware Man”. The Opera House had a capacity of 800 people with a stage that was 30 feet by 50 feet. The Opera House was built in 1902 at a cost of $30,000. The grand opening was on January 5, 1903. The opening play was “The Count of Monte Crisco” attended by over 600 people. Box seats were auctioned off, the highest price paid was $55.00. A note about the curtain on the stage. It contained advertisements and when the show began the curtain was rolled up. The Opera House had the reputation of “the finest west of St Paul”. It was also the home to town meetings, political rallies, dances, parties, school events and other public events. The Opera House was on the third floor of the Jacobson Building. In 1920, the Opera House was used as the Scottish Rote Temple for the Masons. The Opera House was destroyed by a fire in 1923 and was never rebuilt. The first Opera House was on the northeast corner of Main Street and Central Avenue. In the late 60’s the building was the home of the USO and it is now the home of the Taube Museum of Art.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
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.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Jacobson Hardware occupied the main floor of the Jacobson Building on Main Street and Central Avenue. The Opera House was on part of the second and all of the third floor. Martin Jacobson, Known as “the Hardware Man”, started the hardware store after becoming a successful rancher near Des Lacs. In 1898, Peter Fugelso became the bookkeeper of the hardware store until 1901 when he resigned to become the Postmaster. He later resigned as postmaster to join with Martin’s nephew, Doc Jacobson, to purchase the hardware store on January 1, 1907. The business was destroyed by fire in 1923. The building was rebuilt . The Jacobson – Fugelso Hardware store eventually moved to the middle of the block just east of the alley on Central Avenue and survived for many years. Jacobson – Fugelso carried a full line of hardware in addition to Schwinn Bicycles, Toro Mowers, Delta Power Tools and Benjamin Moore Paint.
Monday, April 10, 2017
Asplund Toyota – Wendall Asplund started his first service garage and body shop on Minot’s north side in 1927. The first franchise Asplund had was the Pullman Coach. Through the years Asplund also sold Kaiser vehicles, Willys and finally in 1955, Studebaker. Asplund eventually became the Toyota dealer. When I first had dealings with Asplund Toyota they were located on South Broadway, just south of the old Frosaker Motor building. The service/shop entrance was located on Broadway. Driving in was no problem. To back out, you needed someone to watch traffic as you exited. Asplund eventually built a dealership on north hill. The Toyota franchise was purchased by Ryan Chevrolet and then by Minot Chrysler.
Friday, April 7, 2017
The Grand Hotel was completely destroyed by fire o January 27,1960. A number of other businesses were also destroyed by the fire. Those include The Triangle Dress Shop and PW Miller Co. Both were next door and the either one may have been where the blaze started. Other businesses lost in the fire were the Grand Barber Shop, Grand Billiard Parlor, Grand Café, Pioneer Bar, Grand Studio and the S&H Green Stamp Store. Another business, in a building to the north of the hotel was Minot Roofing and Cornice. One person stated that he had “saved the day”, referring to his part in the Grand Hotel fire. He maintains that they ran out of beer at the bar located on 1st street so he made and emergency trip to the Gamble Robinson ware house. Gamble Robinson was across the street from the now Rail Road Museum. Being an employee of Gamble Robinson he loaded up the city delivery vehicle with 100 cases of beer and delivered it to the bar. Well I guess maybe he did save the day?
Thursday, April 6, 2017
the Grand Hotel, at one time known as the Lexington Hotel, was on the Northwest corner of Central Avenue and 1st Street NW. The Grand Hotel was built by Olaf A Olson in 1906. An addition was added in 1912, making it one of the largest buildings in Minot at the time. The Grand Hotel had 100 rooms and flourished until it was destroyed by fire on January 27,1960. More than 1000 people turned out to watch the fire. In addition to the Minot Fire Department, men from the Minot Air Force Base rushed to help fight the fire and provide crowd and traffic control. I was informed that one of the fireman from the base wanted to drive the new pumper truck into the Grand Hotel on the Central Avenue level. He was not aware that there were two more floors below the main floor on Central. The pumper truck would have ended up in the basement. The location of the Grand Hotel is now a below grade parking lot on Central Avenue used by the Brady Martz Accounting Firm.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
– NW Bell was located at 201 South Broadway .. Across the street to the east from Sweetheart Bakery and across the street to the south from the former Elks Club. In its “heyday” the company employed about 200 people. Operator services closed in December 1977. The plant division remained for a few years. Eventually all services were moved to Bismarck. The building was torn down and is now a parking lot.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Northern States Power – in 1901 a franchise for phone and electric service was granted to the Minot Light and Telephone Company. The franchise was sold in 1911 and the name was changed to the Consumers Power Company. The name was changed again in 1916 to Northern States Power. NSP was located on Main Street until 1967 when it moved to 24 Second Avenue SE. The company was split. The telephone division became Minot Telephone and is now SRT. The electric division is now Xcel Energy.
Monday, April 3, 2017
Northwest Sporting Goods began in 1946 as Mellum’s Sporting Goods at 110 Central Avenue. In 1948 it moved to 15 1st Street SW and became Northwest Sporting Goods. When the building they were in was going to be demolished, Northwest Sporting Goods moved into the empty S&L Building on Main Street. Another move happened in 1974 when Northwest Sporting Goods moved to South Broadway into the former South Hill Super Value building. They offered a full line of sporting goods from hunting and fishing to team sports. The building is now the home of the Goodwill Store.