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Diane Boit: Mandan resident elected North Dakota governor, 1896

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25 Years Ago – 1996

After a long, seemingly unending, six months of disruption, Mandan’s $10 million Main Street reconstruction project had been completed. Main Street was officially opened on Monday, Oct. 28, with no orange roadside cones in sight and with no more one-way traffic on First and Second Streets. A ribbon was held by Marshall Moore of the State Transportation Department and Mayor Dykshoorn snipped the ribbon. A seven-foot-long cake, prepared by George’s Bakery and courtesy of Northern Improvement Company, depicted Mandan’s new Main Street, complete with a replica of the Depot.

Despite snow and slushy roads, Morton County voters turned out in huge numbers with nearly 70% of the county’s eligible voters going to the poles this year. Reelected to the County Commission for another four years were: Matt Erhardt, Richard Bendish and Henry Gustin. With 24% of the vote, Tony Schirado was chosen from a list of nine candidates to fill the unexpired two-year term of the late county commissioner, Michael V. Schaaf. However, the surprise of the evening was in the State District 34 Senate race where Dwight Cook defeated longtime Democrat Senator Corliss Mushik. Elected to the state House for District 34 were RaeAnn Kelsch and Jim Coats who edged out Al Liebersbach and William Schott. District 31 winners were James Boehm and Dennis Renner.

North Dakota’s governor race: Republican Ed Schafer is reelected over Democratic opponent Lee Kaldor.

National Elections: President Bill Clinton has been elected for a second term in a landslide victory over Republican nominee, Bob Dole, and Ross Perot, the Reform Party candidate.

Temps recorded Tuesday, Nov. 5: a high of 33 degrees; 30 above for the low.

50 Years Ago – 1971

Bruce Boyd has been elected president of the Mandan Junior Music Club, succeeding Dorothy Nelson. Other officers elected during the group’s first meeting of the season held at Christ Episcopal Church are: Kim Clemens, vice president; Robin Peterson, secretary; and Ross Mushik, treasurer.

“The big ones are really hitting,” says Leo Landeis of Mandan. To prove his statement, Landeis held up a 10 ¼-pound walleye that was caught at Wolf Creek using minnows for bait. For his catch, Landeis was awarded a “Whopper Award” by the Game and Fish Department and a “Malcolm Award” by the Jerry’s Educated Minnows shop in Mandan.

Minot Ryan ripped off four touchdowns in the second quarter and went on to end the Mandan Braves’ 1971 football season on a sour note, with a 54-14 victory over the Braves. The Lions jumped into a 40-0 lead before Mandan got on the scoreboard. Both Mandan scores came on passes from Jim Sagmiller to Ron Crouse. The loss leaves Mandan with a 2-7 mark for the season and 2-5 in the Western Dakota Association.

Funeral services were held this past week for Robert P. White, 49, senior park ranger for the North Dakota State Park Service at Fort Lincoln. The World War II veteran had been with the park service for the past 16 years, the last four as chief ranger. Survivors include his wife Gwendolyn, two children, a brother, two sisters and his mother, Mrs. Sarah White, Bismarck.

75 Years Ago – 1946

Mandan’s second annual Homecoming celebration began with a pep rally and a huge bonfire held in the high school yard on Thursday evening, followed by a “snake dance” of more than 200 students, led by the MHS cheerleaders, who weaved their way around Main Street to downtown Mandan. The hour-long “dance” concluded at the NP Depot Park where students, teachers and alumni continued their cheers for a Homecoming victory over Minot on Friday evening.

The Mandan Braves football team moved into the top position in the Western Division Football Conference by edging out a heavy, speedy Minot Magicians’ team, 9-6, at the Mandan Athletic Field. The Braves scored their lone touchdown of the thrilling contest by a 36-yard pass, thrown by Don Erhardt to Carl Laemmle who rushed over the goal line in the first quarter. With the score tied at 15 seconds remaining of the game, Don Stumpf upped the Braves’ final score with a place-kick through the poles for the winning 3 points of the exciting contest. This was the Magicians’ first conference defeat of the season.

MHS senior Betty June Baarstad, wearing a short fur jacket over her white gown, was officially crowned Homecoming Queen by Congressman Charles Robertson during the game’s halftime. Her attendants, dressed in gowns of pink and blue, were Mary Jean Frankl and LaDonna Tavis. Prior to the crowning, a parade circled the field, led by the MHS marching band and seven colorful floats, representing a variety of school organizations. They were followed by cars bearing the queen and her attendants. Completing the parade lineup was a stagecoach bearing school dignitaries, and members of the Mandan Horse and Saddle Clubs riding their mounts. Following the game, Homecoming festivities concluded with a dance held at the World War Memorial Building.

100 Years Ago – 1921

“Last weekend Mandan High School’s football team rolled up a score of 113 to 0 against Marmarth, the last of the opponents in the southwestern district of the state. The Braves now hold the undisputed title for that area. Within two weeks, Mandan is to meet the winner of the Jamestown-Fargo contest for the championship of the southern half of the state.

“Anton Dvoracek, aged 21, died Nov. 4th, following an illness of two weeks with tetanus. Lockjaw set in a few days after receiving an infection in his foot caused by a puncture wound of briar thorns. The deceased lived seven miles southwest of the city and is survived by his parents, one brother and one sister. Following Sunday morning services at St. Joseph Catholic church, burial will be at St. John’s cemetery, southwest of Mandan.

“The second annual Halloween party of the Mandan Shrine Club proved to be one of the most elaborate and enjoyable parties of the season. More than 75 Shriners and their families were at the banquet which was served by the ladies of the Eastern Star. The dining hall of the Masonic Temple was elaborately decorated in the red and yellow colors of the Shrine, while fezz hats were passed around to all the guests- men, women and children. Following the banquet, the party went to the Palace Theatre. Upon their return to the hall, a flashlight picture was taken of the party, followed by a dance until a late hour; the Mandan orchestra provided the peppy music.

“Charles Miller, Jr. appeared before Judge Thomas Pugh at the county courthouse this past week and pleaded guilty to the charge of breaking water pipes and other equipment at the county jail during September’s fair. Miller is the lad who started a riot in a carnival dance concession area and then, after being jailed, tore out the fixtures of his jail cell to the tune of $1,500. Miller, 19, was sentenced to the state reform school until of age for release.

“Marriage licenses were issued this past week by County Judge Shaw to Fred P. Reisenauer of St. Anthony and Pauline Hatzenbuehler, Solen, and to Walter Borchardt of New Salem and Marie Meyers, Judson.”

125 Years Ago – 1896

“On Thursday, Nov. 5, at 2:30 p.m., the thermometer recorded 30 degrees above zero.

“The first snowstorm of the season, in Mandan, began on Monday afternoon, Nov. 2. The first storm last year began on a Monday night, Nov. 4.

“On Tuesday, the people of this nation got out to vote, some in blinding snow, but all with a determined will. With an overwhelming majority, Republican William McKinley easily defeated Democratic populist William Jennings Bryan with 51 percent of the 13.6 million total votes cast in the country.

“Mandan’s own Frank Briggs, age 38, has been elected as the fifth governor of North Dakota. He received 55.6 percent of the 46,608 votes cast in the state. Born and raised in Minnesota, he and his family moved to Mandan in 1881 and found work as a bookkeeper. He was eventually appointed Mandan’s postmaster and was elected as Morton County Treasurer in 1886, serving eight years. He was elected as State Auditor in 1894.

“A private letter from a Mandan lady, written in Chicago on Wednesday afternoon says: “Last night, with some friends, I went to see 'King Richard, the Third' and needless to say, it was a great treat. Between the acts, the election returns were read. Such bursts of enthusiasm I never witnessed before. From one state after another came big majorities for McKinley and, in response, would come cheer after cheer from hundreds of voices. I cannot tell you how overjoyed I was when good results also came from North Dakota, and the cheers were repeated.”

Diane Boit can be reached at


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