Mandan News

Edison’s ‘talking pictures’ arrive in Mandan, 1914

Diane Boit

25 Years Ago – 1989
Bill Heisler, Morton County superintendent of schools, has retired Dec. 30, 1988, after 16 years of service. Born and raised in Mandan, and an Army Air Corp pilot during World War II, Heisler graduated from Mary College in 1970 with a teaching certificate and two years later won election for the superintendent’s position. Heisler’s secretary, Eleanor Ripple, also retired on Dec. 30 after 44 years of service to Morton County.

Jerry Schaff has been selected chairman of the board of the Mandan Chamber of Commerce for 1989. Schaff, who is a secretary- treasurer of Braun & Schaff Tax Service, takes over from Wally Joersz. Other officers for 1989 include chairman-elect Pete Deichert of Twin City Implement and treasurer Ward Sandstrom of First Southwest Bank.

50 Years Ago – 1964
W.F. McClelland has been named president of the Mandan Historical Development Association, which is a sponsor of the annual Custer Drama. Other elected officers are Arthur Shipley, vice president; Wynn Keller, treasurer; and Douglas Walery, secretary. McClelland, advertising manager for the Mandan Pioneer, succeeds Mandan MDU manager Irv Bates.

A Minnesota basketball game, Cinerama, a tour of the Ford plant and the new Minneapolis airport, and maybe a hockey game comprise the exciting agenda for five Mandan Morning Pioneer carriers who have been awarded a four-day trip to Minneapolis for securing the most new subscribers for the Pioneer. Jerry Dunning, circulation manager, will take the following boys on their special trip: Dennis Erickson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Dale Erickson; Rick Sanders, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank A. Sanders; Bill Schmidt, son of Mr. and Mrs. Cletus Schmidt; Thomas Zeiszler, son of Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Zeiszler; and Bill Williams, son of Mrs. Geneva Williams.

State rodeo champs have been honored at a banquet held at Jerry’s Supper Club, east of Mandan. Delvin Reich of Zap and Jim Johnston, Watford City, were named North Dakota all-around rodeo champions for 1963 and received trophy saddle awards. Trophy buckles were also awarded to the 1963 state champions in each rodeo event in both RCA and NDRA competition. Among these champions was Gordon Trusty, Mandan, who received the cow cutting championship buckle.

75 Years Ago – 1939
North Dakota’s new governor, John Moses, addressed the 26th North Dakota Legislature on Jan. 4, but the traditional inaugural ball was canceled. “I favor simplicity, and there will be no inaugural ball,” he said, “because of the condition of the state is too serious at this time for ceremony.” Gov. Moses succeeds former Gov. William Langer.

In this week’s “Hits & Mrs.” column of the Pioneer, Charles F. Pierce wrote: “Frank Wetzstein, always a firm believer in advertising, has secured his telephone number as his 1939 automobile license. Wonder what he hopes for. Wouldn’t it be mean if the telephone company would change his number? It’s 216, if anyone wants to know.”

H.B. Uden has been named the new manager of the J.C. Penney store. He succeeds the retiring D.C. Mohr. Uden began with the Penney Co. in Dickinson in 1928, was transferred to Miles City, Mont., in 1933 and then transferred to the store at Hebron before arriving in Mandan this year. Uden is married and has two children, Ruth and Jean.

Numerous lanterns shone from the walls and ceiling of the Mandan High School gymnasium which had been transformed into a barn loft theme last week, as 152 high school students and their chaperones gathered for their first annual “Sadie Hawkins Day” party. Students came costumed as hillbillies, and senior Dale Armstrong and sophomore Marjorie Marvin, who were elected as Lil’ Abner and Daisy Mae, were presented with a little brown jug as a part of the entertainment feature, followed by a dance ending a 11 p.m. “Sadie Hawkins Day” originated from the popular “Lil’ Abner” comic strip as a day set aside for single girls to find themselves a husband. The novel party was arranged by the student council, governing body of the high school.

100 Years Ago – 1914
“The dam across the Heart River at the mill was completed this week, when the gate was put in place in the sluiceway and the last piece of riprapping finished. Workmen are now cleaning up the place, and Manager A.W. Farr of the Mandan Transfer Company, who had the contract, declares it can snow now, for all he cares.

“Farm names certificates have been issued during the past 10 days to Richard A. Kunkel, “Pinge Grove Farm,” New Salem; William Neas “Pioneer Dairy Farm,” New Salem; John Keidel, “Custer Valley Farm,” Mandan; and Henry T. Wadeson, “Ingleborough,” Hebron.

“Thomas A. Edison’s latest invention, the Kinetophone, or “Talking Pictures,” has taken its place among the high class theatrical attractions now touring the country. Our city’s first appearance of Edison’s exciting invention will be at the Mandan Opera House next weekend. A program has been arranged of 12 excellent subjects combining musical and dramatic numbers, comedy, vaudeville and minstrel bits and special features in which prominent statesmen and more suffragettes are seen and heard. Three complete performances will be given, a matinee at 3 o’clock and two evening shows. Admission: 50 cents for Adults; 25 Cents, students and children.”

125 Years Ago – 1889
The village of Mandan was organized in the spring of 1881; just eight years later, statehood was the talk of the Dakota Territory.

“On Thursday, Jan. 10, at 3:30 p.m. the thermometer stood at 14 degrees above zero.

“The schools were opened again on Monday, Jan. 7.

“George Peoples will deliver coal from John Warner’s mine to any part of the city for $3 a ton.

“The Lanterman brothers report remarkable success with their sheep which are let out to various farmers. In the flock of 600 which is kept just south of town, there have been but three lost during the last two months.

“We regret exceedingly to have to record the death of the little daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Brush. She was taken sick on Tuesday night and died Wednesday afternoon. It was a malignant attack of scarlet fever that struck down her young life in a day.

“This morning, a prominent young Mandan bachelor and member of the local Bachelors’ Club was made to feel most unhappy by having a long silken blonde hair drawn from his shoulder in the presence of several bystanders. The remaining members of the Bachelors’ Club are quaking in their boots for fear they will soon lose another.”

“Yesterday afternoon, the Legislature listened to the message of the Governor. He reported that the balance in the treasury is $94,891.58 as of Nov. 30, 1888. He recommends more equal taxation and the payment of taxes semi-annually, along with a sensible decrease in appropriations. He is averse to appropriations for new institutions or improvements or additions to present institutions until more funds are available.”

Please email comments to or write to Diane Boit, 402 17th St. N.W., Mandan, ND 58554.

An ad from 1914: The Farmers and Merchants Bank building can still be seen at 222 W. Main St. Mandan

An ad from 1914: The Farmers and Merchants Bank building can still be seen at 222 W. Main St. In Mandan