Diane Boit: Things seen on the Fourth, 1887
25 Years Ago – 1987
The annual Jaycees’ Rodeo ran from July 2 through 5, with more than 400 cowboys registered for competition. The rodeo is once again held at the old fairgrounds in south side Mandan for possibly its final year in that location, due to the many repairs needed on the old wooden grandstand. Art in the Park, located once again west of the old Depot, also attracted hundreds of visitors during its three-day run that featured 66 artists and craftsmen. Fireworks on the Fourth were sponsored by the Super stores.
Forty members of the MHS class of 1937 gathered for their 50th class reunion at the Seven Seas Inn, Mandan. Of the 86 graduates, 63 are surviving with 18 still living in North Dakota. Still residing in Mandan are John Mushik, Bill Heisler, Willard Griffin, Elfreda Ziniel, Richard Gallagher, Vi LaGrave, Dr. Ralph Riedinger and Mary Riedinger.
50 Years Ago – 1962
The Fourth of July holiday in Mandan was a quiet one in comparison to past years. The area’s entertainment included a trip to either the fourth year performance of the “Custer Drama” at the amphitheater, south of Mandan, or to the Shrine Circus at the rodeo grounds. This year’s rodeo days were celebrated June 15-17.
More than 3,600 fans attended the second annual Jaycee Rodeo held in Mandan during the middle of June. The three-day event included a Saturday morning parade down Mandan’s Main Street, led by the MHS marching band and followed by 38 units, including a large number of horses, the Elks clowns, an old-time hearse, a dozen beautiful floats plus an entry from the Flasher community in honor of their 60th Jubilee Year celebration. This year’s rodeo was again produced by Ernest Tooke, Eklalaka, Montana; a purse of $1,200 was awarded to the top rodeo riders.
Jane Barth, 17, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Barth Jr., of Mandan, was crowned Morton County Dairy Princess during ceremonies held at the Mandan Elks building. Jane was sponsored by the Ft. McKeen Homemakers Club. The 1962 MHS graduate was chosen over 31 other candidates who were sponsored by Morton County Homemakers clubs, making it the largest Dairy Princess contest to date.
The new officers of the Mandan chapter of Jaycees conducted their first monthly board meeting on June 25 at the Elks Club. Serving as president is Dean Nelson; he succeeds Wynn Keller who was named state director. Other officers are: Gene Becker, first vice president; Herman Nauman, second vice president; David Fisher, secretary; and Art Leibfried, treasurer.
A large crowd attended an Open House in the Almont Lutheran Church on June 17 honoring longtime residents, Mr. and Mrs. Sig Peterson, who were celebrating their Silver Wedding Anniversary. At the reception, Mrs. Grace Nelson, mother of Mrs. Peterson, cut the anniversary cake, which she had baked and decorated.
National news: Twenty-two-year-old Jack Nicklaus has defeated 32-year-old Arnold Palmer for his first professional win in an 18-hole playoff for the 1962 U.S. Open Golf Title.
75 Years Ago – 1937
With no celebrations scheduled, Mandan residents spent a quiet holiday weekend. Outside of a few car accidents and a few people picked up for drunkenness, the policemen had little to do. Only minor injuries were reported from fireworks.
Fear of North Dakota mosquitoes kept Alice Roosevelt Longworth safe within her air conditioned coach on the Northern Pacific this week as she passed through Mandan en route to Cody, Wyo. The daughter of the hard-riding, bronco busting, lion hunting former president, Teddy Roosevelt, not only declined to venture out of the car, but also refused to allow her daughter, Paulina, to go out and see the Indians dance on the depot’s platform. However, despite the plague of mosquitoes, a great number of Mandan folks met the train and were able to see Teddy’s daughter and granddaughter from the train window.
100 Years Ago – 1912
“Mandan had a glorious Fourth of July…and a glorious rain. The showers and cloudy weather prevented the merchants from carrying out their program as per schedule, but they still succeeded in giving one of the best celebrations that was ever pulled off in the city.
“After a short parade, the people all repaired to the fairgrounds where horse races and sports were to be put on. Results are as follows: Pony race, five entries, won by Phil Augney’s horse. Three-mile motor race, won by Honus Wetzstein. Quarter-mile foot race, won by Russell Young. Boys’ running race, 100 yards, won by the Sakairissen boy.
“In the evening, the fireworks display was given near Main Street, on the right-of- way next to the Mandan Electric Company. It was a very pretty display, and the home people and the visitors were greatly pleased with it.
“Not a single serious accident occurred to mar the Fourth of July, and the services of a physician of the city were not necessary as there was not a single call for liniment, sweet oil, bandages or medical assistance. Mandan children fired their full quota of firecrackers and blank cartridge shells, and there was noise enough for everyone.”
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.
July 6, 1887: “On Friday, at 3:30 p.m. the thermometer stood at 89 degrees above zero.
“Things seen on the Fourth”
“A large number of handsome women and homely men.
“Applause of the ladies at the way the color bearers carried their flags.
“A proud horse under Marshall Rice.
“A look of satisfaction on the face of Professor Holmes at the excellent music by the cornet band.
“Two drummers astride one horse at the same time.
“A large number of Lanterman’s red running gear buckboards.
“A two-year old boy making things lively at the thought that his parents had gone away and left him.
“All Fort Lincoln.
“McDougal doing good service at the lemonade stand.
“An excellent spread for 25 cents.
“Nearly 2000 people.
(To contact Diane Boit, email mandan-news.com)