Mandan News

Mandan artist commissioned for Centennial painting, 1989

Diane Boit

25 Years Ago – 1989
Gary Miller, a nationally-known Mandan artist, has been commissioned to produce an oil painting of the Mandan railroad depot to help finance the North Dakota Centennial Celebration in Mandan. According to Terry Bernhardt, Mandan/Morton County Centennial coordinator, the estimated value of the painting is $8,000. The painting will be reproduced into a numbered button form, which will serve as an entry into a drawing on July 5th for the original painting.

A memorial service was held Jan. 11 at the First Presbyterian Church for William McClelland, 70, a longtime Mandan businessman who died Jan. 4 while he and his wife, Harriet, were visiting their daughter , Sherry, and her family in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

McClelland was born Sept. 14, 1918, at Albany, N.Y., arriving in Mandan with his family during the 1920s. He served as a U.S. Army Air Corps bomber pilot in Europe during World War II, and married Harriet Noble in 1944. After his discharge in 1945, he returned to Mandan to work at Conrad Publishing Co., becoming the advertising manager for the Mandan Morning Pioneer newspaper. McClelland served on the original Mandan Rodeo board of directors, was president of the Mandan Jaycees, the Rotary Club and the Mandan Art Association. He was also the choir director of the First Presbyterian Church for 30 years and served on the church’s Board of Elders.

Survivors include his wife, two daughters, one son, two brothers and their families, along with five grandchildren.

50 Years Ago – 1964

William Owens

William Owens

Mr. and Mrs. George F. Heidt of the State Industrial School recently had as a guest their nephew, Lt. William A. Owens, son of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Owens, formerly of Bismarck, now of Burbank, Calif. His mother is the former Ruth Arthur, a sister of Mrs. Heidt. Owens was the only North Dakotan to graduate in the U.S. Naval Academy class of 1962, ranking 25th in his class of 790.

(Owens eventually achieved the rank of admiral and was commander of the U.S. 6th Fleet from 1990 to 1992 before being appointed vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President Bill Clinton in 1994. He retired in 1996, and then received North Dakota’s highest honor, the Roughrider Award.)

Coffee and hot toddies were the favorite warmer-uppers for 80 hearty souls who attended the fifth annual Twelfth Night Tree Burning Picnic at Fort McKeen last Saturday evening in 30-below weather. Each party brought their own discarded Christmas tree and enjoyed a delightful blaze while drinking their favorite beverage.

John Danz, 41, district manager of Foremost Dairies, has been elected as the 1964 president of the Mandan Chamber of Commerce. He succeeds Norman Christensen, vice president of the First National Bank of Mandan.

Luther L. Terry, surgeon general of the U.S. Public Health Service released a report this week stating cigarette smoking is the principal cause of lung cancer and a significant cause of larynx cancer and possibly heart disease. The report sparked immediate demands for federal action to alter the nation’s smoking habits, including placing warning labels on cigarette packages.

75 Years Ago – 1939
The first marriage ceremony performed by the new Morton County judge, William K. Engelter, had as participants, Miss Barbara Meckler and James Messmer, both of Mandan. Attendants were Ray E. Crane and Miss Theresa Makalek.

Mandan residents were treated to a lively game of high school basketball when their Braves defeated the 1938 Class B champions of North Dakota, St. Leo’s of Minot, who had their string of 21 consecutive victories broken. St. Leo’s was unfortunate in hitting the Braves on the day they really clicked for the first time this season. Final score was 41-24. Hottest scorer for Mandan was George Brucker with 12 points, followed by Eugene Eckroth, 9, and Sid Hughes, 8. The evening’s referee was George Helbling; umpire was Ralph Ferderer.

“The depression is not over in North Dakota and the state still needs federal relief,” declared E.A. Wilson, executive director of the North Dakota Welfare Board, in response to recent reports that the U.S. Congress was contemplating a curtailment of the Relief Program. According to Wilson, more than 243,000 persons, or 36 percent of state’s total population, were receiving aid as of Jan. 1. The state’s highest number on relief occurred during 1936, when more than 300,000 people received county, state and federal aid.

100 Years Ago – 1914
“After a run of two weeks, the Methodist revival, led by evangelist Ruth, has been deemed a great success, according to the local Rev. D.J. Lane. There were 150 conversions to Christianity, averaging 10 each night. Rev. Ruth left early Monday morning for his next engagement at Lansing, Mich.

“Bill Rohs at the Roderick barbershop is some fireman. Monday morning he fired up the heater for the bathroom, with the result that enough steam was generated to run all the N.P. engines for a month, more or less. In fact, the shop was literally filled with steam, and the way it poured from the building caused many to think that a fire had started.

“Would or would not a wagon bridge between Mandan and Bismarck mean a loss of business to local merchants or a gain? Such is the question which has met with considerable discussion during this past week. Capt. Baker of Bismarck is sponsor for the idea and declares it would work to the benefit of both cities. He says that such a bridge would cost $300,000, and the cost would be spread among the cities and counties, as well as the state and the U. S. governments.”

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. 17, at 3:30 p.m. the thermometer stood at 14 degrees above zero.

“Mr. S. A. Hoke has sold his house and lot and a half to M. Lang for $1800.

“So far as can be learned, there is only one business in Bismarck which is good. That is the tobacco and cigar trade, which will have a temporary spurt during the session of the Legislature.

“Mr. Brush has gone east with the body of his little girl who recently died of scarlet fever. On his return, he and his family will leave for the East permanently.

“There seems to be a fresh outbreak of scarlet fever in town again; several new cases have been developed within the last few days. An unfortunate casualty of such news is the postponed oyster supper which was to have been given by the ladies of the Presbyterian Sunday School.

“The chances are good that next summer the town herd will have to travel some, as the land north of town has burnt over, and south and west, the sheep and farmers’ cattle will clean things up.

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