Mandan News

Diane Boit: Rancher loses livestock to flood, 1938

Diane Boit25 Years Ago – 1988

K & K Liquor from Glen Ullin battled to defeat the Corral Sales team, 93-89, to win the title game at the Mandan men’s amateur basketball tournament. With five tall players in the 6-3 and above range, the Bill’s Super Valu team easily out-distanced Ski’s Liquor, 100-83, to take the third place trophy. In the consolation bracket, it was Domino’s Pizza over Marv’s Hardware, 85-78.

Although Corral Sales settled for the tourney’s second place trophy, they captured the Commercial 1 League championship with a 12-2 record, followed by K & K Liquor’s record of 13-3. In the Commercial 2 division, Round-Up Bar I finished first with a 13-3 record, followed by Domino’s with a 12-2 win-loss record.

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The school spirit is soaring at Mandan High School, where more than a half million ballots have already been turned in by local students voting MHS as the site for “Dance Party USA,” a popular television show that airs weekdays on Cable Channel 9. Dance Party will come to the school that submits the most votes and will host a party to include appearances by the Dance Party host and dancers, plus a special performance by singing star Debbie Gibson. Mandan’s half million votes has placed them among the top three contenders. The winner will be announced May 13.


50 Years Ago – 1963

Frank Vogel, student at Mandan Junior High and son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Vogel, 1201 Monte Drive, has won the city’s spelling contest, and LaDonna Blaich, student at Square Butte School No. 5 and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Blaich, Rt. 1, Mandan, won top honors in the county spelling contest. Both received a check for $50 to help defray expenses to the regional contest in Minneapolis. Pronouncer of words for the city contest was Marilyn Suchy of St. Joseph’s School; for the county contest, it was Mrs. B.A. Girard, Mandan.

Funeral services were held this past week for Fred W. Sommerfeld, 73, at the First Presbyterian Church, with Rev. A. Ben Dove officiating. Born in Arthur, N.D., Sommerfeld came to Mandan in 1910 and was associated in various businesses including the Mandan Transfer Company, which he managed for 25 years. Survivors include his wife Ella, three children and their families and one brother, two sisters.

Doug White Bull, of Fort Yates, ran 50.4 miles from a point on Highway 6 down onto Highway 21 to Carson in what may be a record-breaking time of nine hours and 20 minutes. Ten Fort Yates High School boys began the run; five eventually dropped out due to sore feet. Four others were picked up 4 miles out of Carson as darkness moved in, to avoid the danger of being on the highway with the heavy basketball tournament traffic moving into Carson, where the Fort Yates Warriors won their 10th straight District 14 tourney by defeating the Glen Ullin Rattlers, 56-52.

In a case being watched by North Dakotans, a Minnesota court order has finally declared 49-year-old Democrat Karl Rolvaag as governor. A three-judge panel supervised the recount from the Nov. 6 election and attested a 91-vote lead for Rolvaag over former Republican Governor Elmer L. Anderson.


A 1963 Mandan Pioneer TV ad advertising the evening's programs.

A 1963 Mandan Pioneer TV ad advertising the evening’s programs.

75 Years Ago – 1938

Although the city of Mandan found itself relatively safe from flooding, friends and neighbors of Earl Ritchie, rancher in the Missouri River bottomland, 16 miles north of Mandan, worked around the clock last week in a fruitless effort to save Ritchie’s livestock, trapped in the bottomlands, and were forced to stand helplessly by as the swiftly rising river water covered the livestock and claimed their lives. Ritchie lost a dozen cows, five horses, 12 pigs and more than a 100 chickens and, in addition, the raging Big Muddy ruined his home and claimed 260 bushels of oats and two cribs full of corn. According to local ranchers, the water was higher there than at any time since the big flood of 1910.

In an effort to rescue livestock from the bottoms, two young men of the Husfloen and Reich families, hitched two horses to a wagon and, leading another horse, attempted to make their way through the river water. The water was up to the horses’ backs when the wagon struck a submerged log, and the team could not pull ahead. Panic set in when the water rose so quickly that the horses were barely able to keep their heads clear, and the boys were forced to abandon the team, cutting loose the single horse tied to the wagon to swim with the animal to the Ritchie farm home where they took refuge in the upper story until being rescued with a boat. On the return trip to dry land, the boys made another frantic effort to free the trapped team of horses, but were not able to unfasten the tugs, and watched helplessly as the big team drowned.

After the ice gorge broke at Price, hundreds of residents lined along the rails of Memorial Bridge to watch the swift-flowing waters gradually climb up to flood stage. The channel was filled with broken ice, but the current carried it swiftly downstream.

According to the Bismarck weather bureau, the record Missouri River flood occurred in 1881 with 31.6 feet of water.


100 Years Ago – 1913

“The publishers of North Dakota maps are having a hard time keeping up with changes which are constantly being made in the divisions of the state. Scarcely is one map published before another county is formed. The latest addition to the list of counties is Golden Valley which was formed by dividing Billings County. Morton County, which is roughly 80 miles square, still stands pat, despite a strenuous effort during the past year to cut it into four. It is only a question of another campaign or two until it will be divided in some manner

“Mary Evalyn Key, aged 13 years, beloved daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Key, 505 1st Ave. N.W., of this city, died a few minutes after 9 o’clock Friday evening after a brief illness, diabetes being the cause of her death. She had suffered from the ailment for the past two years. Services were held in St. Joseph Catholic Church with internment in the Union cemetery.”


An ad from a 1913 issue of the Mandan Pioneer for the InterOcean Hotel, the future home of the Lewis and Clark Hotel, at 404 West Main St.

An ad from a 1913 issue of the Mandan Pioneer for the InterOcean Hotel, the future home of the Lewis and Clark Hotel, at 404 West Main St.

125 Years Ago – 1888

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

March 29, 1888: “On Thursday at 3:30 p.m. the thermometer stood at 35 degrees above zero.

“This morning a cow, which should have been in the pound, made herself troublesome after a washing had just been put out to dry. The mistress of the premises, not wishing to have a cow wipe on her clean clothes, made an effort to direct the animal in a different direction with her broom. The cow then decided to make a break for the gate, dashing past the line of clothes and stripping them off with her horns. When the bovine reached the road, she started on a run with the linen waving in the air behind her. The cow was last seen running into Syndicate, following by a yelling lady waving a broom.”


(To contact Diane Boit, email