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Friday, September 29, 2017

Stearns Beverage Business --


Beer & Wine Wholesale Business  -- Bill Langer, former Governor of North Dakota,  was instrumental in helping Lou Stearns in getting his license to start his wholesale business, Minot Beverage Company. According to one of his past office managers, part of the deal was that Langor received a payment of 5 cents for every bottle of beer or wine distributed. However the checks were always sent to a judge in New York rather than to Bill Langer. One would suppose that the money eventually reached him.


The Soft Drink Business – The soft drink business started in the Stearns Motors building as part of Minot Beverage Company. My understanding is that at one time there was a bottling operation in the basement of Stearns Motors. This was eventually moved to South Broadway and became Northern Bottling Company, which is still in business today


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Stearn’s Auto Storage and Parking Business –

 One of the main parts of the operations at Stearns Motors was the parking and automobile storage. Stearns Motors was at the north end of Minot’ infamous High Third Street. This area of Minot was known for its after hour bars, houses of prostitution gambling rooms and at one time opium dens. Many of the prostitutes would rotate in and out of Minot about every two to four weeks. Some arrived by train, some by bus and some by automobile. Many of those arriving by car were brought to Minot in large, fancy vehicles owned by their pimps. While the car was in town it was probably stored inside at Stearns Motors


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Stearn's Apartments

Stearn’s  Apartment Rental Business – There were three apartments on the top floor of Stearns Motors. Lou Stearns lived in the largest one with his girlfriend Florence Brown. Lou and Florence had a turbulent relationship. At one time they were going to be married in Minneapolis, but by the time they arrived on the train, they had a terrible disagreement and fight. Both returned to Minot, but on separate trains. There is a story that whenever Florence would go Minneapolis, Lou would load a car on a flatbed rail car and send it to her destination so she would have something to drive.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Lou Stearns

Stearns Motors -- Lou Stearns was the owner of Stearn’s Motors. In its day Stearn’s Motors was a automobile repair shop and also a garage to park and store automobiles. There were actually five businesses in Strearn’s Motors. The Auto Repair, the Auto Storage Business, a soft drink bottling and wholesale business, a beer and wine wholesale business and apartment rentals. Lou Stearns was reported to have been a generous man. If someone he knew came to him and was down on their luck he would give them a five dollar bill. In those days that was a decent sum of money.


Monday, September 25, 2017

Volunteers of America –

The Great Depression of the 1930's stretched the nation's private social welfare system almost to the breaking point. Volunteers of America mobilized to assist the millions of people who were unemployed, hungry and homeless. Relief efforts included employment bureaus, wood yards, soup kitchens and "Penny Pantries" where every food item cost one cent.  The Volunteers of America in 1932 were serving several hundred meals a week to school children at their food station on Second Avenue Southeast. Children sent to the food station are selected from various schools in Minot, according to Capt Richard Das.  Volunteers of America was founded in 1896 by social reformers Ballington and Maud Booth. They envisioned a movement dedicated to “reaching and uplifting” the American people. On behalf of the organization, the Booths pledged to “go wherever we are needed, and do whatever comes to hand.” In turn-of-the-century America, there was no shortage of work to do. The Volunteers moved into tenement districts to care for people in poverty. They organized day nurseries and summer camps, provided housing for single men and women, and established the nation's first system of halfway houses for released prisoners.   




Friday, September 22, 2017

Walter's Women's Wear

The first Walter’s Women’s Wear opened in July of 1955 at 115 South Main Street. The store was formerly known as Zollie Vida’s. Walter’s was owned by Mr & Mrs Walter Feldman. In 1961 they leased the Bon Bon Store across the street at 114 South Main and opened as Walter’s Bon Bon. Additional departments were added including a Children’s Dept, Lingerie  and shoe department. In April of 1964, Walter’s expanded to a second location in the Town & Country Shopping Center. In March of 1974, Walter’s added The Attic to the downtown store. The Attic featured styles for young, juniors and teens.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Flood Threat 1976

Sears Gas Prices – in 1976 when Minot was threatened by a flooding Mouse River, Sears was located in the Town & Country Shopping Center. Sears also had an automotive center and gas station where Gate City Savings & Loan is now located. In a newspaper ad on April 20, 1976 Sears stated: Our gas prices will stay the same during the flood emergency. We will not take advantage of people who must travel extra miles during this emergency. Sears help their gas prices at 52.9 cents per gallon during the flood crisis. Also During the 1976 flood crisis, South Hill Red Owl extended its store hours to midnight to help people with their grocery shopping needs.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

January 1892 Picnic on North Main

1892 Picnic -- On a mild day in January of 1892, almost the entire population of Minot enjoyed an outdoor picnic without having to bundle up in warm clothing. The scene is near the Great Northern Railroad Bridge across the Mouse River. At the time of the picture, the picnic grounds were outside the City Limits of Minot. This site is very close to where the Minot Flour Mill would be built. In the picture are C. A. Johnson, principal of the school and some of his students. One of those students was Joseph Rowan who went on to become and undertaker and owner of Rowan’s Funeral Home on Main Street. The Funeral Home was an establishment involved in the illegal booze running during the prohibition days.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Great Northern Bank

1st National Bank -- 1st National Bank was originally known as the Great Northern Bank when it was established in 1897. The building was constructed of brick made in a brickyard just west of Minot. This building stood until it was demolished in 1929 to make room for the new building. The bank was name the Great Northern Bank in honor of Jim Hill who was a close friend of Joseph Roach, one of the founders of the bank. Later the name was changed to the 2nd national Bank and eventually to the 1st national Bank. In 1887 the Bank of Minot was formed and eventually became the 1st National Bank. In the early 1900’s there were two banks chartered under the name of the 1st National Bank. Both of these failed, hence the name 2nd National Bank for a period of time. No affiliation with the failed banks was wanted. In the early days, trees were planted in the boulevard to the south of the bank. They grew to be quite tall before they were cut down due to the paving of the streets.

Great Northern Bank - 1895

Monday, September 18, 2017

Main Street 1890 – Looking North --

 In the picture of Main Street in 1890 the teams of wagons belong to local Indians and are filled with buffalo bones which were traded to merchants for groceries and other merchandise. The bones were taken to a railroad spur and eventually shipped to St Louis to be used in refining sugar. The bones were worth ten to fifteen dollars a ton. The small building on the left is the Post Office. Next to that was the office of J.B. Rourke, Justice of the Peace. The taller building was a drug store owned by W. E. Mansfield. This is the intersection of Main Street and 1st Avenue. The two story brick building was a large general store owned by the Strain Brothers. North of Strain Brothers was John and Peter Eher’s meat market. The original Jacobson Hardware was a few doors down the street and at the end of the street is the Great Northern passenger depot.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Business College in Minot

Minot Business Institute …. The Minot Business Institute was located in the First Avenue Building in Downtown Minot. Their phone number was 571. The President and owner of the school was H. French. In 1935 it was said to be the northwest’s most modern Business School. The school featured university trained instructors to train students in the most modern business methods known at the time. The Minot Business Institute boasted that their students were employed and making salaries from $50 to $120 per month. Some of the courses offered were, Bookkeeping, Accounting, Banking, Typing, Shorthand, Dictaphone, Mimeographing, Public Speaking and Advertising. Minot Business Institute were pioneers in modern business education and featured “Business Training with Distinction”.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Bowling Leagues - 1932

From 1932 – Bowling …… in 1932 the sport of bowling was a main topic of conversation in the sports pages of the newspaper with close to ¼ page devoted to the standings. (in 1932 the newspaper pages were bigger and the fonts were smaller.) Some of the teams making the news were: Fisher Motor Straightaway ….. (league champs at the time) beating out Blackstead Builders.  Other teams mentioned in the article were Gem, Minot Laundry, Grand CafĂ©, Finnegans, Dakota Hardware and Motor Service. There were a number of leagues at the time and many more teams. I am not sure which bowling alley(s) the leagues competed at. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Social Clubs in 1932

From 1932 – Meeting notices for Minot Clubs – Coterie Club - The word "coterie" is of French origin and means "a gathering of friends." The essence of the Coterie Club is building friendships and participating in varied activities including daytime and evening bridge, a literary group and day and evening social events. Coterie supports the community by collecting and contributing funds and appropriate items to worthwhile charities…… The Progressive Club ……. PEO Clubs …… primary focus on providing educational opportunities for female students worldwide…… Criterian Club ….. Goal was to enhance life, morally, socially and culturally….. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

From 1932 - Delphian Society -

the National Delphian Society, which has its head office in Chicago, Il and had  organized chapters in most large cities and town across the United States. It is a society for study, culture and personal improvement. It has a six years course, a year of study being given to each of the following: Ancient History and Literature, Drama, Art, Modern Literature, Poetry and Music…. The Delphian society was active in Minot in the 30’s and usually net on Tuesday’s at Minot High School. The announcement in the newspaper reminded all members to note that the meeting was opening at 7:30 pm… I imagine a admonishment not to be late. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Tires for $3.95

From 1932 - Goodyear Tires – The Goodyear ad in 1932 features tires as low as $3.95 each with another 95 cents for the tube. A set of four was available for $15.32. If you wanted to step up to the Goodyear Pathfinder with a lifetime guarantee, they were available for $4.79 each and another $1.03 for the inner tube. A set of four Pathfinders was $18.60. One could also “trade in” their old tires on a set of new. The name of the tire company was torn off the newspaper page so I do not have that information.

Friday, September 8, 2017

More ads from 1932

 … KC Baking Powder – Same price for over 40 years- Millions of pounds used by our government…… Doan’s Pills – a diuretic for the kidneys – used everywhere – sold by all druggists for over 50 years…… Yellow cab Company – phone number 91 – new rates – 1 passenger 25 cents, each additional passenger 10 cents ……. Greengards – For Good Clothes – Style clothes - $15, $20 to $35. …. Rowan Funeral Parlor – JW Rowan proprietor and Jack Spratt – Licensed embalmer


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Stevenson’s Ladies Store –

 On April 14, Stevenson’s was holding a “Style Revue of 1932” at the State Theater on Main Street. Stevenson’s motto was “ When you think coats, think Stevenson’s. Their Tuesday Special in the newspaper included the following: New Famous Name Polo in greens, tans and blues for $14.85…. Paris Chic Dress Coats for $14.85 … and 150 hats specially priced at $1.85. Stevenson’s carried becoming styles for young and old. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Newspaper Ads from 1932

From 1932 – Northern States Power ad – 145 – That was the price of a new  1932 five foot capacity Kelvinator – the best buy in electric refrigeration. Last year’s model was $184.50, this year’s new model is only $145.00. Red Rooster Ad – The Red Rooster was 4 miles west of Minot on Highway 52 (known in more recent times as the 52 Club.) In the paper the band being promoted was “Polly and Her Boyfriends”. Tuesday was ladies night . Ladies free…. Men 50 cents admission. As the ad stated – C U There.


From 1932 – Ellison’s Advertisement. – Ellison’s, The Fair Department Store had this ad in 1932. Mesh garments for the ladies must have been the style.  Their ad stated – “Mesh has us in its net stronger than ever. It’s invaded practically every summer fashion. We have mesh hose, mesh frocks, mesh gloves and mesh undies. – you’ll find them all at Ellisons.” --  In the ad Ellisons featured Lacey Mesh Sweaters were on sale for $1.00 and $1.95.  Mesh Stockings and mesh gloves  were only $1.oo and mesh undies for $1.00. (They also had mesh undies for 59 cents on the main floor.)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Winter Sports Week

1932 – Winter Sports Week – A group of civic boosters in Minot in 1932 were promoting the idea of  holding a Winter Sports Week in Minot. The event would begin the next year in 1933. One of the promoters was Casper Oimoen, of Olympic Skiing fame. Some of the events considered were skiing, Curling, Hockey games, Figure Skating, and Dog Sled races, (which were already held and sponsored by the Lions Club.) There was a possibility of holding the state bowling tournament to kick everything off.  Indoor events were also considered such as basketball. The Minot  Winter Sports week, if held, would be similar to the St. Paul Winter Carnival

Friday, September 1, 2017

Montgomery Wards - 1932

From a 1932 newspaper found in my house…. After the 2011 flood in Minot my brother Mark was in town helping with the house. He found an old electrical box behind a wall in the entry way. A couple pages of the Minot Daily from 1932 were stuffed into the box. The next few days will be based on that newspaper. .....Montgomery Wards was celebrating Ward Week. Some of the specials included a special buy on men’s overalls for 77 cents a pair. Boys overalls were on sale for 3 pair for $1.00. Women’s coats in tweed, crepes or diagonal linens were sale priced at $8.88 each. Men’s wool sweaters priced at $1.44 and a 2 gallon can of Pennsylvania Motor Oil was only $1.00. And with every clothes washer purchased received a free clothes basket.