Mandan News

Diane Boit: Friesz crowned Morton County Dairy Princess, 1987

25 Years Ago – 1987

Janelle Friesz, daughter of Jim and Judy Friesz, of Flasher, has been crowned the 34th Morton County Dairy Princess during a ceremony held at the Mandan Elks Club. Janelle was sponsored by the Willing Workers Homemakers Club. Six contestants competed for the title.

More than 1,600 voters went to the polls for the Mandan School District election and returned incumbents Joyce Dettman and Jim Boehm to the nine-member board. Incumbent Ross Mushik lost his seat to challenger Lamar Kruckenberg. Other challengers were Ronald Otto, Nathaniel Schroeder and Robert Laches.

The economy is beginning to improve in North Dakota as the state’s unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent in May, while Morton County’s rate fell to 5.5 percent. According to Job Service North Dakota, the state’s rate is down two percentage points from just a year ago.


50 Years Ago – 1962

Mandan’s outdoor swimming pool, near Custer School, opened on June 10 with a full schedule of swimming lessons and recreation hours, according to Arnold Larson, pool manager. The pool is open daily from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. except for Sundays when the hours are 12 noon until 10 p.m. Daily rates are: 10 years and under, 15 cents; 11 to 16 years, 20 cents; and those 17 years and older, 35 cents. Family season tickets are $12.50. This summer’s lifeguards are Donna Helbling, Marcia Kary, James Schemp, Robert Lawrence, Alan Inglis and Dennis Haney.

Pat Phillips, editor of the Mandan Pioneer, was elected president of the North Dakota Associated Press at the group’s spring meeting. Phillips succeeds Alden McLachlan of the Fargo Forum.

A very small voter turnout for the Mandan School Board election reelected William R. Russell to another term on the school board. At the two polling places, Central Grade School and City Hall, Russell, who ran unopposed, was given a vote count of 72 and 37, respectively.

Floyd Frankl, Mandan, was recently presented with a gold watch for his 25 years of service with the Occident Flour division of the Russell Miller-King Midas Mills. The presentation was made during a banquet held at the Grand Pacific Steakhouse, Bismarck.

An estimated crowd of 4,000 people flocked to the Northern Great Plains Field Station, south of Mandan, for a Grassland Tour, where adults and youngsters gazed at various types of foliage, inspected cattle and watched demonstrations of several dozen pieces of farm equipment. Soft drinks and ice cream sales boomed in the sultry heat, and more than 2,000 people consumed about 1,200 pounds of barbecued beef supplied by the N.D. Stockmen’s Association and prepared by Anton Johnson.

During the 1962 state convention of the VFW held at Devils Lake, the members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars adopted a resolution favoring a North Dakota Veterans Memorial Cemetery to be located at the site of Fort McKeen, south of Mandan.


75 Years Ago – 1937

A Mandan softball league composed of eight teams was been organized at a meeting in the city hall. Teams comprising the league are: Knights of Columbus, Roy Dietrich, manager, and Herb McCann, captain; East End Monarchs, A.A. Kokkeler, manager, and James Sinkula, captain; East End Giants, Francis Haider, manager, and John Sinkula, captain; South Side Rustlers, Frank Brucker, manager, and Tony Brucker, captain; Rippel’s Meat Market, Frank Fuller, manager and captain; Soil Conservation team, Joe Ferderer, manager and captain; Holy Name Society, John Heidt, captain; and the Syndicate Boys, Harold House, manager.

Joe Wetzstein plunked down 600 “iron men,” reminiscent of the Old West, when he paid in silver dollars for a liquor license for Mandan’s Korner Bar at last week’s city commission meeting.

Funeral services were held from the Methodist Church at Fort Rice for Robert Gwyther, 82, who had been a resident of Morton County for 52 years. A native of South Wales, England, Gwyther emigrated to the United States with his wife, Martha, in 1876, and established a ranch near Fort Rice. Survivors include one daughter and four sons; his wife and five children preceded him in death.

Days of steamboating on the Missouri River were recalled as four 25-foot cabin cruisers, representing five Montana towns, pulled into Mandan on June 15 with a final burst of speed marking the close of another lap on the 2,300-mile race from St. Louis, Mo., to Fort Benton, Mont. The Great Falls entry was in the lead when the boats docked overnight near the Memorial Bridge. Completion of the Fort Peck Dam, expected late this summer, will close the upper Missouri to through navigation, so this race will be the last of its kind.


100 Years Ago – 1912

“The custom of dragging the streets after a rain, though certainly very effective in breaking the clods, is tough on pedestrians when a second rain follows, for the dragging covers the crossings from an inch to three inches with dirt, making them well-nigh impassable after the rain. After the dragging is done, the crossings should be cleaned.

“Perhaps the most valuable train that has passed through Mandan in many years was the ‘Silk Special’ on the Northern Pacific, from Portland to New York City on Monday. There were six cars, with, it is reported, a million and a half dollars’ worth of silks from China. The ‘Special’ was given the right-of-way over everything but the North Coast Limited, and it was reported that a record of 75 miles an hour was made over a part of the route.”

An ad from a July 1912 issue of the Mandan Daily Pioneer, advertising the Fourth of July festivities. That year there was a parade led by the Little Heart band, then a couple of floats, ending with decorated automobiles and the Mandan Fire Department's decorated Hook & Ladder wagons, pulled by a team of horses. After the parade, everyone went to the fairgrounds on the south side of the railroad tracks to enjoy a picnic and horse and auto races, plus a baseball game between Bismarck and Mandan. In the evening, the crowd was treated to a display of fireworks over Mandan's Main Street. City merchants donated $250 for the fireworks display.

125 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.

June 29, 1887: “On Friday, at 3:30 p.m. the thermometer stood at 85 degrees above zero.

“Miss Frances E. Willard, president of the National Organization of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, gave a fine address at the Presbyterian church on Saturday afternoon. Some of her remarks were humorous, while one portion of her address was of so pathetic a nature that there were but few dry eyes in the house. Her visit will result in bracing up to renewed endeavor the Temperance people who desire to see prohibition in the county.

“The Bismarck W.C.T.U. ladies are becoming active in prison work. They take bouquets to the convicts, and then hold services of song in the jail.

“Julius Wales of this city wants to see the man shot who votes for prohibition in this country.”


(To contact Diane Boit, email