Mandan News

Diane Boit: Midwest Bakery opens for business, 1938

Diane Boit25 Years Ago – 1988

Almont’s school board has decided to close their high school this spring and send the students to New Salem. Seven students would have gone to Almont High School in the fall- two freshmen, four sophomores and one junior. According to Lawrence Lohmen, superintendent at Almont, “Part of the $60,000 in savings will be used for building improvements and towards hiring another teacher for the 32 students expected next fall in the elementary school.

Mandan High School took two firsts and a third at the State Science Olympiad held in Fargo. Three MHS seniors, John Bender, Jon Schirado and Mike Schaff, and junior Kevin Munns, teamed up to win the Science Bowl, a quiz competition much the like the old college bowl on television. Senior Jon Hagerott took first in bridge building; the third place came from Bender and Schirado in the Laser Shoot, where they had to calculate the firing of a laser through a prism and a lens to hit a specific target. Thirty-five class A and B schools participated in the Science Olympiad.


50 Years Ago – 1963

The Mandan Board of Education has announced the acceptance of the request by Dr. W.L. Neff for a release from his contract as superintendent of the Mandan Public Schools. He has accepted the position as director of secondary education at Dickinson State College. Dr. Neff has been in Mandan for 29 years, 19 of which he has served as superintendent and 10 as principal of Mandan High School.

Dr. W.L. Neff

Dr. W.L. Neff

Receiving the first annual John Philip Sousa award for outstanding participation in junior high school music activities is Frank Vogel, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Vogel, Mandan. The ninth grade clarinetist received the award from Band Director Ernest Borr and Junior High Principal L.H. Stock.

Henry “Buck” Eckroth, former Mandan High School athlete, has signed a contract as head football and track coach at St. Mary’s High School for the 1963-64 season. Eckroth, an 11-year coaching veteran, has been coach for the past four years at Greybull High School, Greybull, Wyo. He had previously coached at Fessenden and Mott.

The 82nd Homecoming and Past Masters Night of Mandan Masonic Lodge No. 8 will be honoring Earl Vredenburg, Master of the Lodge in 1952-53. Vredenburg is the current chief of the Mandan Police Department. Commending the honoree will be Past Master James R. Hanson; Ray N. Pengra will present the Past Master’s ring to Vredenburg.

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An estimated thousand people jammed into the New Salem auditorium for the Morton County 4-H Talent Night and Recreation Party, sponsored by the New Salem Lions Club. Twenty-two acts were introduced by Arnold Meyer, of Flasher, and Sally Friese, New Salem. Taking first prize was the New Salem Helpers 4-H Club for their story and dance number, “An Old Indian Tale,” directed by Mrs. Carl Matthiesen and Mrs. Joe Kautzman, club leader and assistant leader, respectively.

Delores Wilkens of the Jolly Mixers 4-H Club of New Salem won second prize for her song, “Going Home,” and the Heart River 4-H Club of Mandan won third prize for a spirited tumbling exhibition.


75 Years Ago – 1938

This week, glittering plate glass showcases, designed to display pastries and baked goods, and an electric sign, “Midwest Bakery Welcomes You,” greeted visitors to Mandan’s newest business establishment, the Midwest Bakery, located at 216 West Main Street. The entire building, formerly occupied by the Buttrey’s and J.C. Penney stores, has been remodeled with the front of the building decorated in white and green. Baking is done in a huge gas-heated Hubbard oven, which has a capacity for 200 loaves of bread at one time. Breads and pastries will be marketed under the trade name of Pioneer Bread and Pastries.

According to store manager P.L. Varduina, “All of the bakery’s employees must reside in Mandan, and everything used in the business must also be obtained here, and this, of course, includes the Russell Miller flour, manufactured in Mandan.”

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Frank Lockbeam has been unanimously elected to the position of chief of the Mandan Fire Department, and Frank Boehm was named as its new secretary. Lockbeam will succeed the late Mike Heidt, who had been fire chief for the past 20 years. Boehm will succeed John C. Fleck, the group’s secretary for the past four years. The 28-year-old Fleck died April 20 from a diabetic condition.

Mrs. Madge Runey, 53, Mandan school teacher for the past four school terms and former Burleigh County Superintendent of Schools, has died in a Bismarck hospital. Although having been in poor health for the past year, she remained at her position as English instructor at Mandan High School until April 29. She had been engaged in the teaching profession in the state since 1910.


Madge Runey

Madge Runey

100 Years Ago – 1913

“Tuesday, the Central School received a handsome Victrola phonograph purchased from H. H. Williams with the money realized from the recent school program. It is valued at $150. The instrument was used for the first time on Tuesday afternoon when it furnished music for the pupils to march out of school at the close of the afternoon session.

“The city commission at their meeting last Thursday night took the first step toward the paving of Main and adjoining streets by passing an ordinance for the creation of a Paving Improvement District.”


125 Years Ago – 1888

The village of Mandan was organized in the spring of 1881; by 1888 its population was at 2,600.

May 17, 1888: “On Thursday at 3:30 p.m. the thermometer stood at 65 degrees above zero.

“The party of gypsies who are around town telling fortunes, appear to be doing a driving business. They are willing to tell the fortunes of anybody- married and singles ladies as well. Anything to turn a nimble dollar or two.

“It is an unsanitary, barbarous plan- that of banking up houses and offices with manure. It may be all right for the winter when everything is frozen up solid, but in the spring, when the thaw comes, it is unhealthful and productive of serious evils. The base of every building should be well built to start with, and the banking used should be earth- enough of it to keep out the cold.

“This morning the Pioneer received a new typewriter of the Remington make. It is the largest size and will write a line 14 inches long. It is a dandy, but then this office has to have all the labor-saving devices that are to be had. Time is money in Dakota.

“The local Democrats have not yet all left their party. There is one in town who wears a portrait of Grover Cleveland in his hat. A wicked Republican says that the picture is undoubtedly worn there to show that Cleveland is lacking in the upper story.”


(To contact Diane Boit, email