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Diane Boit: A record snowfall for Mandan-Bismarck, 1997

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25 Years Ago – 1997

A spring blizzard, dumping more than 20 inches of snow, has brought North Dakota to a near standstill. The storm stranded residents, left three people missing, cut off electricity to many towns and set a Mandan-Bismarck record for a single winter’s snowfall, 101.4 inches, as of April 6.

As the weekend storm cranked up, freezing rain changed to heavy snow as the temperature plummeted into the 20s, accompanied by winds clocked up to 60 mph that resulted in power lines breaking, leaving thousands without electricity throughout the state. White-out conditions also halted all traffic, resulting in the closure of both Interstates 94 and 29. The front page of The Bismarck Tribune displayed a photo of the parking lot on the west side of the Herberger’s store at Kirkwood Mall, showing only the tops of a dozen cars visible due to the tremendous amount of snow that had piled up there.

Opening day for the Prairie West Golf Course was Friday, April 4, but there wasn’t a big turnout due to the unseasonably cold weather. It was also the day before the so-called "last" snowstorm of the year covered the golf course in more than 17 inches of snow.

Temps recorded Tuesday, April 8: a high of 15 degrees above zero; 2 degrees for the low.

50 Years Ago – 1972

The Mandan Park District has hired the city’s first full-time coordinator of city recreation. Her name is Mary Kay Mann, whose nickname is Minnie, a name given by her friends when she was a hotshot softball player in the sixth grade as a reference to the famed Chicago Cubs shortstop, Minnie Minoso. Organized recreation in Mandan will include women’s exercise classes, a junior gun safety and rifle class, softball, tennis and ping pong and perhaps a weightlifting program for men. Mann is a graduate of Mandan High School, Bismarck Junior College and Dickinson State College. Her second-floor office has many framed mementos from her teaching days, including one describing Minnie’s personality, “Smile at the next three people you meet.”

Mandan’s School Board has adopted a resolution in support of a student hair and dress code for Mandan High School as drawn up by the Faculty-Student Dress Code Committee. The code, presented to the board by MHS Principal Leonard Stock, stated: both boys’ and girls’ hair should be clean and not over their eyes, although can be any length. Sideburns should not extend below the upper lip line, and all boys should be clean shaven. Girls’ clothes items listed as "off-limits" include slacks and blouses, slacks and sweaters, jeans and bell-bottoms.

75 Years Ago – 1947

North Dakota is digging out from a heavy blanket of snow and ice that fell on Easter Sunday, April 6, with nearly eight inches of snow falling at Mandan. Freezing weather during the night left streets and vehicles coated with a heavy, semi-frozen slush. Especially noticeable were the cars which had remained parked along Main Street during the storm. These vehicles, splashed repeatedly with water and slush by other passing cars during the night, were not only encased in dirty ice, but were also frozen to the pavement by Monday morning. The owners’ efforts to move the cars failed, as the doors remained frozen shut until the early afternoon sun melted the ice.

Playing this week at the Palace Theatre is “Son of Lassie,” starring the popular collie dogs, Lassie and Laddie, along with stars, Peter Lawford and Donald Crisp. Showing at the Mandan Theatre is “Angel On My Shoulder,” starring Paul Muni, Anne Baxter and Claude Rains.

Martin Flaten is erecting a new greenhouse, about 24 by 50, on his home property about a half block east of Syndicate school. He expects it to be completed in time for use this spring.

Miss Zoe Nelson and Miss Lois Mae Heinle, MHS seniors, won first and second places, respectively, in competition with 14 other high school girls in the North Dakota Elks Lodge Scholarship Contest. The competition followed local contests in eight lodges, with Miss Nelson and Miss Heinle representing the Seventh District. As first place winner, Miss Nelson received $100 in cash, while Miss Heinle received a $50 cash award.

The tie-up in the production of the 1947 auto license plates should be ending soon. According to Warden O.J. Nygaard of the state prison, an eight-ton shipment of aluminum alloy needed to complete the job, left Louisville, Kentucky, on March 31 and should arrive in Bismarck this week.

North Dakota Republican Senators Milton Young and William Langer may have put the wives of some senate members to work making biscuits, bread and pancakes. The two North Dakotans presented each senator with five pounds of “Dakota Maid” flour and five pounds of pancake mix, courtesy of the state-owned North Dakota mill and elevators. Letters of appreciation have been received from the other 94 senators.

100 Years Ago – 1922

“The ferryboat 'Marion' will slip into the Missouri River once again for its last season of ferry duty, being doomed to extinction by the Memorial Bridge to be completed this fall. The primitive craft has served Mandan-Bismarck and county traffic for more than 50 years.

“A large and appreciative audience greeted Professor Paolo Conte, pipe organist, who presented a splendid organ recital of classical, opera and religious selections at Mandan’s First Presbyterian Church. In an interview given the previous day, a young Pioneer reporter suggested the professor play “The Sheik of Araby” as an encore to demonstrate that modern, lively music could also be played on a pipe organ. To which the professor replied, “Of course, there is no reason why it couldn’t be played, but it wouldn’t be unwise for a program of genuine music to be ruined by Ragtime?”

“Twin daughters were born Sunday, April 2, at the Mandan Hospital to Mr. and Mrs. Walter Tostevin.

“Thomas Conroy, finance member of the Mandan City Commission, has been re-elected, and Carl E. Dorfler has been elected to take the place of former commissioner, Charles Edquist, at Tuesday’s city election. A warm contest over the position of police magistrate resulted in Harry Center easily winning the position; he was a write-in candidate, along with nearly 40 others, as no one had filed a petition to be placed on the ballot.

“A.A. Gross, farmer of the Fallon district, is in the Mandan hospital with several broken ribs and a broken collar bone. His wagon load of baled hay that he was driving, ran into a deep rut in the road, toppled over and buried him beneath the bales. Relatives say that he’ll be back working on the farm by mid-week.

“Yesterday afternoon, shortly before five o’clock, a plate glass window at the Mandan Creamery & Produce company was in the path of an automobile tire and rim and was consequently smashed into bits. The steering gear of an automobile, driven by an employee of the Mandan Motor company, broke, and the two front tires flew off, one of them going into the railroad park and the other flying into the air and bounding through the window.”

Years Ago – 1897

“At 2:30 p.m. Thursday, April 8, the thermometer recorded 42 degrees above zero.

“This Sunday is Palm Sunday.

“Storm sashes are being taken down and put into summer quarters.

“This morning the Missouri River is chock full of huge cakes of ice, which are slowly moving south.

“Editor Scroggs, of Bismarck, spent the early part of the week in Mandan. He came over on the last train that crossed the bottomland prior to the overflow from the Missouri.

“A dike along the banks of the Heart River, on the south side of the city, received its first test yesterday and proved to be intact and prevented any overflow into the city.

“The west bound mail, due here on Monday and Tuesday, was brought across from the big train bridge in boats yesterday afternoon, after the approach to the bridge was covered with several feet of river water.

“The citizens of Mandan are thankful at the easy way the waters have gone down, without so much as wetting the soles of their feet. This fact is due in a large measure, of course, to the wisdom of our city fathers, who several years ago, built a dike of sufficient height and strength to keep out the river water that seeks to damage us.

Diane Boit can be reached at


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