Wednesday, June 28, 2017
The original Capri Bar and Restaurant was on the corner of
St. and East Burdick Expressway. This location is
now the home of the PATH building. To the south of the Capri
was the Rush Inn Motel. This was torn down and the location is now storage
units. Also at one time in the area on the corner of 8th Avenue and 20th Street Southeast
was Cashway Lumber, owned by Sy Bond.
Gateway Grocery – Gateway grocery was owned by Anna and Louis Panos. It was across the street from the Holiday Inn Riverside. The building was also the home for Tiny’s Bar and one of the Widdell’s Pizza shop – Tony’s Pizza. The new
bar is now in that location.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Young America – In 1963, Stan Fink came up with the concept of the Young America Stores. The first store opened in the newly built Town & Country Shopping Center. The store carried a complete line of infant wear and clothes for tots, juniors, sub-teens, young men and young women. Most of the sales were in the men’s lines so the store expanded and eventually opened The American Man Stores. At one time Young America had 15 locations in North and South Dakota, Iowa and Montana with over 250 employees. In 1976 they opened the Jeanery in the Town & Country Center. American Man opened in 1981 in Dakota Square in Minot with Young America following in 1983. In 1983 Young America received the Retailer of the Year Award by the Upper Midwest Men’s Apparel Club of Minneapolis.
Monday, June 26, 2017
Chain Food Store was established in 1917 by Herman (Heinie) Diamond. He started working a grocery store and soon saved enough money to purchase Standby Grocery on North Broadway. Chain Foods started delivering groceries in Minot with a horse and wagon. They were the first grocery store to use a motor truck for delivery. In winter when roads were blocked, groceries were even delivered in rural areas by air. Also involved in the store with Heinie were his sons James and Jerry and his son –in-law Stan Fink. These three also opened Diamonds Department Store in 1959 at 437 North Broadway and in 1961 a second Diamonds Department Store opened in the Arrowhead Shopping Center.
Chain Food - 1950's
Friday, June 23, 2017
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
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
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 Café & 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 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.
New Hudsons on Showroom Floor
Monday, June 19, 2017
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.
Friday, June 16, 2017
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 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
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
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
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
4th Ave (Burdick Exp) Tunnel
Friday, June 9, 2017
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.