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High water

1993: Traffic moves through floodwaters on First Street Northeast in this photo by Ward Meeker.

25 Years Ago-1993

Two weeks to the day after the July 1 devastating storms brought flash floods, hail and damaging winds, the Bismarck-Mandan area was hit again with another round of severe thunderstorms that dropped more than 4 inches of rain during three separate storms on July 15, resulting in flash flooding in downtown Mandan and damaged homes. Another 2.3 inches of rain fell the following day. Preliminary damage figures may reach $300,000 in Mandan and Morton County.

In Mandan, a torrent of muddy water rushed down Sunset and Collins Avenues on Thursday, ripping out pavement and flooding the downtown area with several feet of water on Main and First Street Northwest. Three cars floated down Sixth Avenue, one ending up in the middle of the street with water going up and over the hood; the other two were lifted onto the tree-lined boulevard.

On Main Street, residents and business owners formed human barricades to prevent onlookers from driving up and down the water-filled street, that resulted in wakes, pushing water through and under the doors at downtown stores and homes on First Street.

No rain fell on Saturday, July 17, making it only the fourth “dry” day for the entire month. With two weeks remaining, July is becoming the wettest month ever on record, beating the previous 9.90 inches that fell during June 1914. More than 10 inches of water have already filled area rain gauges this month, said Sam Walker, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Temperatures recorded Tuesday, July 20: a high of 74 degrees; 52 degrees for the low.

50 Years Ago-1968

The 1968 North Dakota harvest has begun, and one of the first out in the fields this year is John Barth Jr., who farms and ranches a 1,900-acre spread about 3 miles north of St. Anthony. Barth has begun swathing barley and has, so far, combined about 15 acres, with a yield of nearly 55 bushels per acre. Matt Tokach and Tom Knoll are among other St. Anthony farmers who have done some swathing, but no combining as yet.

Several Mandan fishermen recently enjoyed a successful weekend of fishing. Pat Toepke reeled in a 13.5-pound northern while at the Garrison Dam. Not to be outdone, Phil Vogel hooked a 21-pound northern measuring 45 inches near Huff, and Tony Pfau caught a 3.5-pound small mouth bass near Fort Yates, using a red-and-white daredevil.

For the past five years, George Miller, of Mandan, has donated 10 percent of the income from sales at his fireworks stand to the North Dakota Easter Seal Society. This past week, a check of $117 from this year’s sales was presented to Ronald Junius, executive director of the society.

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Within 10 minutes of its 2 p.m. opening on Saturday, July 20, Mandan’s outdoor pool, which had been closed for more than a month, was full of children of all ages enjoying the cool water amid the sweltering heat. According to pool manager George Kary, the pool was closed due to remodeling of the filtration system, which the state Health Department earlier stipulated had to be replaced before the summer’s opening. Much of the delay was due to the late arrival of a new pump, which had arrived Friday. City employees worked around the clock to install the pump, fill the pool and add the necessary purifying chemicals before its Saturday opening.

Pool prices this year are 15 cents per session for children 10 and under; 20 cents for those between 11 and 16 years of age; and 35 cents for those 17 and older. Family season tickets are available for $6.50.

75 Years Ago-1943

Nearly 200 Morton County eighth-grade students from rural schools received their diplomas at the annual commencement program held in Mandan’s Memorial Building. Diplomas were presented by the Morton County superintendent of schools, Mrs. Gena A. Jensen. Following the ceremony, the graduates and their families gathered at Riverside Park for a picnic lunch. Ice cream, coffee and pop were served by the Mandan Lions Club.

It’s time to think about preparing Christmas packages for soldiers serving overseas, according to Postmaster Frank S. Hudson. Packages must be mailed between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15. No requests from the addressee are necessary to mail small packages during this period. Parcels endorsed “Christmas Parcel” will receive special handling in an effort to get them delivered on time.

Lt. Anton Braxmeier, Fort Sill, Okla., is in Mandan attending to business matters. Prior to his enlistment in the U.S. Army medical corps, Braxmeier practiced dentistry in Mandan.

Aviation Cadet William Siegel, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Siegel, Mandan, will complete his basic instruction at the Army Air Force Basic Flying School at Gardner Field, Taft, Calif., and will then be transferred to an advanced flying school before receiving his commission and wings. Siegel’s father served overseas during World War I under Col. Theodore Roosevelt Jr., and once crawled into “No Man’s Land” to bring the wounded younger Roosevelt back to safety.

Tech. Cpl. Jacob Barth has returned to Camp Barkley, Texas, after spending a furlough here with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Phillip M. Barth. The Barths also have two other sons serving in the armed forces. Pvt. Ernest Barth is stationed at Hobbs Air Base, N.M.; Pvt. Peter Barth is “somewhere” in the South Pacific.

Mr. and Mrs. G.P. Hoffman, Mandan, have received a letter from their son, Lt. Peter J. Hoffman, who has been stationed in the African war theater. He writes: “We are still resting up after our last battle in which we kicked the Germans and Italians out of Africa. Our Division, the First, really made a name for itself.”

100 Years Ago-1918

“Provost Marshall General Crowder has declined to defer the entrainment, until after the pending harvest, of 3,100 North Dakota men called in the draft for July 22 draft, according to the state’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Labor John N. Hagan, who recently returned from Washington, D.C. General Crowder said although he realized the seriousness of the situation, and as several other states had also applied to have their July quotas deferred, none of the requests would be granted.

“Anton Leingang of St. Anthony has just completed one of the most up-to-date barns that has been erected in this section for many days. Charles Kidd was the contractor.

“Earl Welch, who left Monday to enter the Army, was presented with a fine wristwatch by local railroad employees. The Mandan businessmen, through the Home Guard, also gave him a fountain pen.

“Born to Mr. and Mrs. LaRue Shaw on July 11, a boy.

“A clerk carrier civil service examination, for males only, will be held at the Mandan post office on Aug. 10. Entrance level, annual salary: $1,000. Call at the post office for application from the local secretary, Leroy Roberts.

“As evidence of the deep-seated interest which former Gov. L.B. Hanna takes in the boys of North Dakota, a letter received this week from Earl H. Tostevin, says that Gov. Hanna journeyed over 200 miles from Paris to see him when learning of his hospital’s location. Upon his arrival, Gov. Hanna was taken through the large hospital and introduced to all the North Dakota boys there, and it was hard to tell who were the most pleased at the meetings — Gov. Hanna or the boys. Gov. Hanna’s official position is to inspect all the Red Cross hospitals in France.”

125 Years Ago-1893

“On Thursday, July 20, at 2:30 p.m., the thermometer recorded 98 degrees above zero.

“Hot, hot! The mercury is about ready to burst from thermometers.

“A pleasant and social time may be had at the ice cream social given this evening by the ladies of St. Joseph’s church. Ice cream and cake, 20 cents; lemonade, 5 cents; ice cream and cake for children, 15 cents.

“Those who have had occasion to travel much in this section say confidently that the crops on the Missouri Slope are better than at any time in the past 12 years.

“Just about this date, if you look in the northern sky, between 9 and 11 o’clock in the evening, you are likely to see a comet. Those who know say that it should be visible west of the Polar Star and near the top of the Great Bear.

“A special meeting of the city council was held on Tuesday evening, with the mayor and all the members present except Ald. Rafferty. The mayor announced that he had been formally notified by the artesian well contractors that they were down the required 2,000 feet, and their work was completed. The well account showed a balance of $2,780 due the Gray Bros. However, the well has cost $784 more than the amount of the bonds voted for, $10,000. To meet the deficiency of $784, there needs be a special election to approve the expenditure.”

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Diane Boit was raised and educated in the Red River Valley before coming to Mandan with her family in 1970. She has been involved with the Bismarck-Mandan newspapers for more than 30 years. She can be reached at