Mandan News

Diane Boit: Turmoil grows in district court, 1887

25 Years Ago – 1987

Hundreds of residents attended the Heart River Folk Fest held at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park where old-time, folk, blues and mountain melodies were presented from morning to dusk on two separate stages during a typical hot August weekend. Dozens of musicians came from across the state to perform at this first annual event, with proceeds to benefit the Fort Lincoln Foundation.

Zack’s Cooking, located now at the Teamsters Hall, will be soon moving into the KC Club building.

Newly-elected officers of the Prairie Prose Toastmasters Club No. 1047 include: Eunice Meidinger, president; Nola Helm and Gretchen Schaaf, education and administrative vice presidents; Cori Stenzel, secretary; and Naomi Scheet, treasurer. Lonna Shafer was presented the past-president’s pin.

The 1987 Morton County Livestock Judging Team brought home the gold from the state competition at Minot in July. The team includes Debby Schatz, Cheryl Madler, Ellen Thomas, Tammy Schaff and Kelly Schaff. According to Morton County agent Jack Stewart, the team scored 1,217, while LaMoure was second with 1,045. High individual in the contest was Kelly Schaff at 426, followed by Tammy Schaff with 415.


50 Years Ago – 1962

Musicians Local 229 AFM held its annual picnic in the Mandan Memorial Building with more than 100 families attending. Winners of the children’s picnic contests were: Foot races – Donna Collins, Clifford Reidinger and Bruce Reidinger; Wheel barrow race – Amasa Harrison and Vincent Schanandore; Sack race – Dennis Collins; Peanut hunt – Richard Anderst; Crab races – Tony Stein and James Glasser; Twist for those 14 years old and under – Richard Anderst; Twist for ages 15 and older – Juanita Schanandore and Donald Robar. In the evening, the picnic ended with all the musicians taking part in a jam session.

Mandan fishermen reported taking considerable amounts of crappies from Heart Butte this past week, but Ken Siegel, of Mandan, “struck it rich” with pulling in a 20-pound, 4-ounce Northern from Mosset Bay using a conventional rod and reel with sucker minnows. The big fish measure 42 inches long and 19 inches in girth.

Mandan’s veteran shoe repair man, Ole Syvrud, has observed his 55th year as proprietor of the Mandan Shoe Hospital. The “hospital” has been located in the same block on First Avenue N.W. during all the years that the Scandinavian has operated his one-man business. Syvrud and his bride came to Mandan from his native Norway in 1906.

North Dakota has 145 continuous miles completed on the new Interstate Highway I-94, now open from Fargo to Dawson. Thirty-three miles of Interstate have also been completed from the Canadian border south to Drayton. The Interstate highway within the state is projected for completion by the end of 1967, with the entire coast-to-coast network, linking all lower 48 states, to be finished in 1972.


75 Years Ago – 1937

John K. Kennelly, prominent Mandan Legionnaire and past national vice commander, has been selected as a member of the National American Legion delegation to attend the American monuments dedication on the World War battlefields of France at the end of August. General John J. Pershing, commander of the A.E.F. during the World War, will head the American Legion delegation of 25 national leaders.

Despite the petition signed by 70 residents in northeastern Mandan, the school board voted not to reopen the Custer School, declaring that the district could not afford the added expense that would increase the district’s budget by $4,810. Reopening of the east end school must await better times, they said. Before adjourning, the board approved the district’s final budget, totaling $61,025 for the ensuing school year.


100 Years Ago – 1912

Chautauqua Notes: “Chautauqua has been judged a total success with receipts reaching $1,780, leaving $50 in profit after paying all expenses.

“The phonographs were much in evidence. There were about eight on the grounds, and everything from ‘Oh, You Beautiful Doll’ to the operatic selections were buffeted back and forth by the night winds in accompaniment to the rustling of the trees.

“It was somewhat amusing to see the young men vie with each other in the endeavor to see who could carry the most water and do the most errands for the young lady campers.

“A quartette composed of four members of the Musical Club was in evidence every evening and, sitting around the campfires, many listed to the selections before returning home.

“One of the most interesting parts of the campers’ life was the ‘after concert.’ When the crowds had left the grounds, the big tent was invaded nearly every evening by the young people and impromptu programs given. Popular songs and dancing helped pass the evenings.”

A series of ads from a 1912 issue of the Mandan Daily Pioneer.

A 1911 ad from the Mandan Daily Pioneer for the Chas Toman's tailoring business, which was located on Main Street.

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 24, 1887: “On Friday, at 3:30 p.m. the thermometer stood at 78 degrees above zero.

“Judge Francis complained this morning in open court of the way the court calendar was printed. He says that the pages are not wide enough, and the cases are crowded too much together. It may be said that the calendar complained of was not printed at the Pioneer office.

“Dr. Louis Goeschel, who was indicted in 1885 for practicing medicine without a diploma, this morning withdrew his former plea of not guilty, and pleaded guilty. He was fined $1, which fine was paid.

“A juryman: ‘It is wonderful how Judge Francis loses faith in juries. Before they go into the jury box, they are intelligent, honorable men but after they get back into court with their verdict, they are the reverse. Perhaps, the judge needs to be a better instructor to us poor, uneducated folks.’

“Judge Francis ordered a Mandan citizen out of his courtroom a few days ago because he was present in his shirt sleeves. The man tried to even up the affair by ordering the judge off the depot platform while he was waiting for the train to take him to Bismarck.

“The following is the copy of a written appeal found this morning in the room occupied by the locked up jury last night: ‘To the Hon. W. H. Francis: Please let us Go!’ This is pitiful, but the man who wrote it, meant what he said.”


(To contact Diane Boit, email