Mandan News

Diane Boit: Blindfolded man drives through Mandan, 1937


25 Years Ago – 1987

The Mandan High School girls’ basketball team did itself proud at the State Tournament, finishing sixth with a win over the Grafton Spoilers and losses to the Shanley Deacons and Red River Riders. Mandan finished the season with a 13-9 record. It was the Braves’ second trip to the State Tourney, the last one being in 1984. This year’s state title went to the Devils Lake team, with an 18-4 season record. The Mandan girls are coached by Greg Amundson, assisted by Shawn Batterberry.

It was a spectacular finish for the Mandan girls swimming team who finished second to the Minot Magicians in the State Tournament held in the Mandan Community Center pool. Although Mandan had no first place times, they did set school records in the 400 free relay, 200 medley relay, and with Suzie Helvig in the 500 freestyle. The girls are coached by Connie Kirchoffner, assisted by Ralph Manley and Tim Kautzman.


50 Years Ago – 1962

The final results are in from the 1962 elections. Gov. William Guy nabbed a second two-year term by the narrowest of margins after beating back a late rally by GOP candidate Mark Andrews. Guy claimed the victory by a margin of just 1,842 votes. Locally, Emil Kautzmann GOP state senator candidate pulled an upset in Democratic Morton County by defeating Charles F. Karabensh, 3,524 to 3,382. Other county races followed the Democratic Party line by the election of all three state House of Representative candidates: Don L. Hertz, Carl A. Meyer and William Gietzen.

Mr. and Mrs. William Chyles Sr. celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with an afternoon reception held at the Municipal Country Club. The celebration was hosted by their children: Mrs. Anton (Ann) Popelka, Mrs. Edward (Esther) Wenger, Mrs. Carl (Lillian) Lantz, William J. Chyles, Jr., Frank Chyles, all of Mandan; and Mrs. Eugene (Vi) Dietrich, Fargo. William Chyles, Sr. and the former Anna Dvoracek were married at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Mandan, on Nov. 27, 1912, by Father Clemens.

A New Town man is being held in the Morton County jail pending his arraignment on charges of the murder and robbery of Emil Zueger, 65, well-known local farmer. Zueger, a widower who lived alone, was found shot to death at his farm home, 8 miles west of Mandan. According to Sheriff Kermit Ellisen, the suspect was arrested near Garrison driving Zueger’s car.


75 Years Ago – 1937

Mandan residents carefully lined the city streets this week when “mystic” John Rosenberg, securely blindfolded, propelled a DeSoto car through congested city traffic in a demonstration sponsored by the City Motor Company.

A crowd first gathered at the garage to see the blindfold of cotton batting, tape and heavy black headpiece applied by Jess Reso, John Kraft and John Reis. Then, although devoid of vision, Rosenberg adeptly piloted his car in a turn at a street intersection without mishap followed by the chief of police. Even the Main Street traffic light failed to thwart the magician and although two cars approaching from the east failed to stop, Rosenberg calmly waited until the light flashed to green before proceeding. Spectators shuttered as they witnessed a tiny black dog cross the street in front of the car, but the blindfolded driver traveling along at a clip up to 40 miles per hour, repeatedly honked the horn until the dog scampered off the street.

The mystic’s escapade not only brought Mandan’s Main Street activity to standstill, but also attracted a large crowd of people who gathered at the City Motor building to view the brand new 1938 DeSotos parked along the curb.

A Thanksgiving grocery ad from a 1937 issue of the Mandan Daily Pioneer for Kist's Market on Main Street.

100 Years Ago – 1912

“Mandan talent acquitted themselves in grand style last Friday evening when the high school alumni association and their friends presented one of the best and most up-to-date performances ever given in this city.

“The curtain arose on a double semi-circle of 30 ‘colored’ lady and gentleman songsters in colorful costumes, while directly behind them, on elevated platforms, was arranged a six-piece orchestra. The musical opened with ‘Alexander’s Rag Time Band’ performed by the entire company. Other hits songs were: ‘When You’re in Town,’ sung by Scott Conyne; ‘When I’m Alone, I’m Lonesome,’ sung by Kenneth McFarland; ‘Who Are You With Tonight’ sung by Walter Tostevin and ‘Down in Melody Lane’ by Walter Renden.

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“Chris Islund and Andrew Ralf, who were walking along the main line track early Monday morning, were struck by N. P. Train No. 6. Both were injured more or less, Ralf having his shoulder dislocated while Islund was badly bruised. Both were taken to the hospital. It is understood that the young men were in an intoxicated condition and did not take proper precaution in getting out of the way of the approaching train. Islund is a painter by trade, while Ralf is employed in the city as a tailor.”


25 Years Ago – 1887

The village of Mandan was organized in the spring of 1881; by 1887 the population was already nearing the 2,500 mark.

November 23, 1887: “On Friday, at 3:30 p.m. the thermometer stood at 41 degrees above zero.

“There is no man in town who is busier than M. J. D. Allen, the taxidermist. He has five men and a boy working for him, and they can scarcely keep up with the orders that he has.

“The George Peoples restaurant under the new system opened this week. Hereafter, meals can be procured at all hours, and anything the market affords will be procurable. The special features just now are celery and oysters.

“Ayer’s milk wagon had an experience this morning. The horses were troubled over the racket caused by train No. 1 coming into town, and they started to run away. They struck a building at the rear of block ten and upset the wagon, though they did no great damage.

“Don’t forget the 10:30 a.m. Union Thanksgiving service at the Methodist Church.

“When I say ‘the first snow’ I don’t mean the first wee bits of snow that tear over the face of the land from Square Butte creek or the North Pole, smashing along on the back of the wind. It is not that kind of a first snow that I am talking about, but the first snow that comes in large flakes when there is no wind and that spreads itself over the earth like a carpet. Watch it as it comes. The little ones say that somebody is plucking geese. Gently, softly the flakes glide to the ground.”


(To contact Diane Boit, email