Mandan News

Diane Boit: Little Heart River Bridge collapses, 1962

25 Years Ago – 1987

Eckroth Music has moved from 306 W. Main St., Mandan, to 1221 W. Divide, next to Capital Lane Plaza, Bismarck

Crews have been busy doing the groundwork for the widening of the Sixth Avenue N.E. underpass. Vibrations are being felt throughout the east end of Mandan as a pile driver begins sinking large posts into the ground.

George Marback has celebrated his 45th anniversary as a cook and baker. He and his wife, Virginia, have operated George’s Bakery at 216 W. Main for the past 40 years.

Ellis Agency has moved to 100 W. Main St., the former home of Kelsch Law firm.

The Mandan Park Board has accepted the donation of land from Teamsters Local 123 for a new Mandan park. The land is located north of their hall, along Missouri Drive. According to Teamsters rep Larry Schaff, the group will help with the park’s development with the only stipulation that the land be named Teamster’s Park.


50 Years Ago – 1962

A steel bridge over the Little Heart River, located 12 miles south on Ft. McKeen road, has collapsed under the weight of a loaded grain truck driven by Leo Tschida of Fort Rice. He and his passenger, a brother Frank, escaped with minor injuries. The two-lane span dropped about 20 feet into the river. Part of the vehicle sank under the surface, but a section of the collapsed bridge held the rest above water. According to County Engineer Wayne Clarke, the bridge was built in 1910; he estimated the cost of a replacement at $160,000.

Erwin (Erv) R. Kruger has taken leave of his duties as Morton County Veterans Service Officer, a position he has held since 1947. He is being succeeded by an assistant, John W. Swanson. Erv and his family came to Morton County in 1905, settling in the New Salem area. According to Kruger, he and his brother, Edward, comprised the first graduating class of the New Salem High School in June 1914.

Robert Chase has been elected president of the Methodist Men’s Club, succeeding Carl Schauss. Other officers are: C.R. (Bob) Hammond, vice president, and Harry Frye, secretary-treasurer.

Quick thinking on the part of city workers, along with assistance of the Mandan Police and Fire Departments and the local National Guard, saved the lives of two construction workers who became buried in a cave-in of a ditch wall at 106 10th Ave. N.E., where trenches were being dug for a water main. The men, Clem Himmelspach, 28, of Mandan, and Gene Hoff, 19, of Goodrich, were taken to the Mandan Hospital. Himmelspach is in good condition, while Hoff appears to be in s state of shock with numbness in both legs.


75 Years Ago – 1937

The New Dome, purchased by Mike Guon, Adam Miller and Joe Gold, has been completely remodeled and redecorated and is ready to open for business; Guon is the nightclub’s manager. The building, located on the InterCity highway between Mandan and Bismarck, features a 40-foot bar, booths along the sides and more than 50 tables around the dance floor to accommodate several hundred patrons. The interior is decorated in red and black colors, while a large multi-colored canopy has been installed over the dance floor. The opening dance music will be provided by Max Mastel and his six-piece band. The grand opening, originally scheduled for June 30, had been postponed due to the unexpected death of Mrs. Guon, the manager’s wife.

Authorities are investigating the discovery of the body of a newborn child in the city dump grounds about one mile northeast of Mandan. John Ereth discovered the body, wrapped in newspapers, while searching the grounds for old iron. Following an autopsy conducted by Dr. Harry Wheeler, the nameless baby, who apparently died after being born, was buried in a shallow grave in Potter’s Field at the local cemetery.

Mosquitoes and equipment conspired to put an abrupt halt to maneuvers as Battery E of the 185th field infantry, local National Guard unit, held its first night drill on the fields south of Mandan. The men dealt with a faulty telephone which halted the transmittance of orders between various groups, before open warfare was declared by clouds of mosquitoes attacking the soldiers without mercy. Despite their gallant efforts, the guardsmen came out second best and were forced to return to Mandan for reinforcements.

A Mandan Pioneer ad from 1937 for The Cave, which was a club in downtown Mandan that also furnished weekend dances to live music. The Cave was owned by Leo and Mike Guon and Joe Gold.

100 Years Ago – 1912

“The first Mandan Chautauqua has been judged a total success with receipts reaching well over $1700 after its seven-day run. The event was held near the Heart River under a beautiful grove of trees between the Mill bridge and the bridge at the Reform School. Hundreds of people from the area camped at the park and during the day heard speeches and musical selections, viewed garden exhibits and enjoyed a variety of refreshments offered by nearly a dozen booths.

“The city officials did splendid work in keeping the road leading to the viaduct wet down and in good shape. Of course, the proper system is oiling the road, but there was not enough time before the Chautauqua.

“The new viaduct was well initiated during the past week, and at night when the crowd was returning home from Chautauqua, the view of the string of lights traveling over the structure made one think he was in Minneapolis or some other big city.”


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.

August 17, 1887: “On Friday, at 3:30 p.m. the thermometer stood at 87 degrees above zero.

“Major Gifford, the Indian agent at Fort Berthold, arrived in Mandan this morning accompanied by his interpreter and the boy Fighter who shot and killed the young Whitmer boy last fall. The case will come before the Grand Jury and presumably, Fighter will be indicted.

“A couple of new engines- Nos. 411 and 412 -came in yesterday from the east for use in hauling passenger trains between Mandan and Dickinson. They are heavier and stronger engines than those now in use and will walk away over the steepest hill on the division with 12 or 14 cars without any difficulty. No. 411 has a straight smoke stack, presenting a startling appearance to those who have been accustomed only to the stack in common use on the Northern Pacific.”


(To contact Diane Boit, email