Mandan News

Diane Boit: Revelers celebrate Mardi Gras, 1962

25 Years Ago – 1987

Hundreds attended the Recognition-Benefit night at Mandan’s American Legion Club for Warren Smith, North Dakota’s Outstanding Handicapped Citizen for 1986. The evening’s proceeds went to a fund for sending Smith to the national contest in Denver. Smith lost a leg in a farm accident in 1978, a few months after losing two teenage daughters in an automobile accident. He also suffered severe hearing loss due to jet engines during his Air Force service in the 1950s. In spite of his disabilities, Smith continues to farm with his wife and children in rural Morton County.

Warren Smith, back in 1987.

50 Years Ago – 1962

A musical masquerade marked the annual Mardi Gras entertainment of the Revelers Club as members gathered Saturday evening in the Mandan Municipal Country Club attired in costumes depicting song titles. Seventy people were in attendance. Tables were decorated with black silhouettes of various musical instruments and colorful candles, while the walls were covered with paintings of instruments prepared by Mrs. Dan O’Neil. Adding to the musical theme was a false ceiling of serpentine confetti along with sheets of music suspended in mid-air.

Following the dinner, song titles were announced, and couples or groups depicting each title were escorted to the front by committee members. While contestants were being judged, Del Skjod, impersonating Mitch Miller, presented a “Sing Along with Skitch” session that encouraged the crowd to join him in singing old favorite songs.

When the judging was completed, crowns were presented to the top three groups who demonstrated their song titles to an appreciative audience who clapped and cheered on the winners.

The first winning group consisted of five people singing “Bongo, Bongo, I Don’t Wanna Leave the Congo.” They were dressed as cannibals who danced around a black pot containing their dinner; about to be cooked was a manocled Russ Christensen wearing a pith helmet. Dancing around the pot were the Vern Harms, Mrs. Christensen and Mrs. Frank Walter.

The second group of four couples enacted “The Glow Worm,” weaving in a single line, stooped over and covered with a large green sheet. The lively “worm” wound its way through the crowd with glowing eyes and antennas. The four couples in this group were the Bill Heislers, the Bill Mushiks, the Pat Fitzsimmons and the Charles Ruzickas.

The final winner was the song “Paddlin’ Madeline Home” portrayed by Mr. and Mrs. Del Skjod, who paddled along in a canoe upon blue paper water. Del also added another song title, “Tan Shoes with Pink Shoe Laces,” to this scene by adding into the canoe a pair of false limbs wearing the appropriate footwear.

After order was somewhat restored to the raucous room, the entire crowd spent the rest of the evening dancing to the music of the Emil Doctor orchestra.


75 Years Ago – 1937

Kinzel’s Tire Service, 109 Second Ave. N.W., has been named the local dealer for the Nash and LaFayette line of automobiles. H.C. Kinzel is the proprietor and has been operating in Mandan since 1916.

William J. Lanz has opened a new grocery store one door east of the Farmers Elevator at 704 Third St. S.W., formerly the Atkinson store. Previous to this opening, Lanz was employed with Orange Grocery and Kist’s Market.

The Mandan Braves basketball team, coached by Leonard McMahan, boarded the No. 2 train for weekend games at Fargo, Valley City and Moorhead. The Braves were defeated by Valley City Hi-Liners, 24-16, and by the Fargo Spartans, 22-11, but were victorious over the Moorhead Spuds, 27-22. Mandan’s team members are: Don Smith, center; Robert Friesz, Ralph Riedinger, Gordon House, all forwards; Clement Knoll and Tom Carlson, backup centers; Ray Toman, Eddie Miluck and Jack Broderick, all guards.

Six students in the Commercial Department at Mandan High School have won awards for their expertise in Shorthand. Participants were required to write 100 words per minute during a dictation of five minutes and then transcribe their notes on a typewriter within an hour. Winning gold pins were: Dorothy Blake, Kathryn Brigl, Cecelia Brunelle, Alice Burke, Eva Ferder and Leone Klein.

Hollywood, Calif.: Golden statuettes, the Academy Awards, have been awarded for motion picture greatness during 1936. Receiving the Best Actor Award was Paul Muni for his performance in “The Louis Pasteur Story;” the Best Actress trophy went to Luise Rainer for her role in “The Great Ziegfeld,” which also received the Best Production award. Walt Disney with his Mickey Mouse “Country Cousin” received the award for Best Cartoon for the fifth consecutive year.


100 Years Ago – 1912

“The Mandan High School basketball teams gained two victories last Friday night when the girls’ quint defeated the Steele girls by a score of 6 to 5, and the boys’ team walloped the town team to the tune of 22 to 15. One of the largest crowds that ever turned out for a basketball game here was in attendance and urged on by the expenditure of much lung power and the blatting of horns by the gallery gods, the high school quints waged merry and successful. Both of games were of the rough and tumble variety and fouls galore were made, only a small percentage were called.

“Mr. Charles Schauss chaperoned a leap year dance given by the young ladies of Custer Flats on last Saturday evening. About twenty couples were present. Light refreshments were served at midnight, after which a short time was spent in singing. Then ‘Home, Sweet Home’ was played and all went home having had a very enjoyable evening.”


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.

March 2, 1887: “On Thursday at 3:30 p.m. the thermometer stood at 28 degrees above zero.

“Put away your sleds and cutters.

“Some persons living along the foot of the hill took advantage of the thaw yesterday to run their cisterns partly full of snow water.

“The opening up of the ditches and waterways on Main Street by the city authorities is a good thing and will aid materially is freeing Mandan from surplus surface water.

“The city authorities seem to be doing some very useful work on the dyke at the lower end of town. The flood gate being put in will doubtless come in play before many weeks.

“Alex Helmesworth is preparing for the inevitable. He has made himself a good large boat which may come into play this spring.

“The visiting Masons and their friends from Bismarck were all pleased with their flying trip to Mandan last night. It would seem from the time some of them took to find their homes this morning that they came very near making an all-night session of it.”


(To contact Diane, email