Mandan News

Diane Boit: KGCU Radio transmits from new tower, 1938

Diane Boit25 Years Ago – 1988

The Veterans of Foreign Wars organization has installed two Mandan residents as their new State Commander and State President. James J. Gorman, who works part-time for the Mandan News and Finder, was installed as the State Commander for 1988-89; he is a member of Post 707, Mandan. Betty J. Miezwa was installed as the new State President. Miezwa is a member of Post 1326 Auxiliary in Bismarck and is employed at the Gateway Mall Management Office.

Ivan Gandrud, Mandan, has sold the Gandrud Chevrolet dealership to David Ressler. Ressler has been employed with the dealership since 1980, the same year that Gandrud purchased the Robert Chase Chevrolet business. Ressler had been the top car and truck salesman for many years and moved into management in 1987.


50 Years Ago – 1963

The Rev. John L. MacMullen, former Canadian, has assumed his duties as minister of the Mandan Methodist Church. He and his wife and three children, who all became U.S. citizens in 1958, arrived this week from Bottineau, where he had been the minister for the past six years. In addition to his pastoral duties, Rev. MacMullen has been active in radio and TV productions of church programs since 1934, including Sunday’s “Harbor of Hope” and the midnight devotional program entitled, “Moments With the Master in the Upper Room.”

Rev. John MacMullen

Rev. John MacMullen

The Woodchoppers Bowling League recently held its annual awards banquet at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Mandan. The first place trophy was awarded to the Taylor Drug Team; the second place trophy winner was McQuade Distributing. Evelyn Hablutzel received the trophy for the High Individual Series. Special patches were also given to Betty Gerhard for a triplicate score and to Pat Hanson for an all-spare game. Trophies were donated by Leonard Schmidt of the Ten Spot Lanes.

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Carol Larson, 19, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Olaf Larson, rural Mandan, has been crowned the 1963-64 Dairy Princess during the annual banquet held in the meeting room of Mandan American Legion Club. Miss Larson was selected from a group of 33 contestants. Runners-up were: Shirley Kohler, Glen Ullin; Stella Marie Brewster, Breien; Sandra Syvrud and Linda Belohlavek, both of Mandan.

Sponsors of the contest were the Mandan Lions Club, Foremost Dairies, Mandan Creamery & Produce Company, Mandan Chamber of Commerce and the Morton County Homemakers’ Clubs.


1963 Morton County Dairy Princess Carol Larson

1963 Morton County Dairy Princess Carol Larson

75 Years Ago – 1938

KGCU radio station of Mandan has completed its greatest advancement since its beginning in 1925 when receiving its first license to broadcast at 50 watts of power. At that time, the station and transmitter were located in Mandan’s Chamber of Commerce offices in the Cary building. During 1934, KGCU office was moved into the Kennelly Furniture building, 200 Third Ave. N.W., where the broadcasting power was increased to 250 watts.

This past May, the transmitter was moved to a new location on Highway 10 between Mandan and Bismarck, where a 204-foot “antenna” was erected. As required by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, the four-legged, entirely self-supporting steel tower has been painted in alternate stripes of orange and white and is rigged with a series of blinking lights on the upper half as a warning to aircraft flying nearby. The high frequency current generated by the new equipment is fed to the tower by a 5000-watt transmission line.

According to station manager, John Kennelly, the total cost for the upgrade in equipment, transmission lines and tower is estimated to be at $7,500. The upgrades enable KGCU to operate on a full-day schedule at its assigned frequency of 1240 kilocycles.

Officers of the KGCU radio corporation are: H.C. Schulte, president; John Kennelly, vice president; Frank Wetzstein, treasurer; and Charles Toman, Jr., secretary.

Owners of KGCU are Purity Dairy, Mandan Creamery, Mandan Beverage, Royal Tailors & Cleaners, the Palace Theater and Kennelly Furniture Company.


100 Years Ago – 1913

“Some unknown thief broke into the Cummins, Thorberg, Thies store on Tuesday night and helped himself to a complete outfit of clothes. He made his entrance through the coal chute in the rear of the store, prying the trap door open with a bar. No clue as to the identity of the thief has, as yet, been found, but a well-dressed stranger may be a suspect, says the sheriff.

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“The school election which was held last week created considerable interest, and the voter turnout was heavy. The election was called to fill the vacancies on the board created by the expiration of the terms of J. H. McGillic and H. H. Harmon. The result of the vote was as follows: F. F. McDonald, 464; W. H. Vallancey, 419; and J. H. McGillic, 144.

“That the ladies of Mandan take an active interest in the welfare of the schools was indicated by the large number of women’s ballots cast. Separate boxes were used for women’s votes, and the count showed that 247 votes were cast by women and 320 by men. This is probably a larger percentage of votes cast by the fair sex than ever before recorded in a Mandan election.”


A 1913 Mandan Pioneer ad promoting the delivering of a summer's supply of ice for the "icebox."

A 1913 Mandan Pioneer ad promoting the delivering of a summer’s supply of ice for the “icebox.”

25 Years Ago – 1888

The village of Mandan was organized in the spring of 1881; by 1888 its population was at 2,600.

June 21, 1888: “On Thursday at 3:30 p.m. the thermometer stood at 80 degrees above zero.

“Mr. Gilbert is putting a new skylight in his photograph gallery.

“Major McLaughlin of the Standing Rock agency was in town this morning.

“The refreshing rain last night was a general cause of delight, but, the Pioneer rain gauge still being stolen, we cannot record the amount that fell.

“Mr. Sublette has got his patented pumps put in his saloon and will have iced beer from this time on. Curly also is advertising his saloon with a new sign of artistic pattern.

“The party of Indians that was in town yesterday gave a war dance on Main Street, and afterwards repeated the performance in the roller rink, charging ten cents admission.

“Today, three tramps, two black and one white, arrived in town and at once repaired to a grocery store where they invested in 5 cents worth of lettuce, 5 cents worth of onions and 5 cents worth of crackers. As they started out to the woods to cook a square meal, they told the grocer that they had come from Atlanta, Ga., and that their traveling expense had been $5 each, plus such charity as they could find.”


(To contact Diane Boit, email