Early Minot Press

Est. 1993

March 1993

Vol I, No 1

Historical Newsletter Start Publishing

The Early Minot Press, Minot's newest historical newsletter, has, in February, 1993, gone to press for the first time. It will strive to bring historical facts about Minot into new light and highlight current events having to do with the history of Minot and historical preservation.

The Early Minot Press had its beginning back in 1991 with its sister publication, the Eastwood Park Reporter. The Eastwood Park Reporter has been delving into the early days of Eastwood Park, a historical neighborhood adjacent to downtown Minot. While the Eastwood Park Reporter will continue to publish monthly with Eastwood Park history and news, the Early Minot Press will expand the research into the history of the city of Minot and the surrounding area.

Some of the topics that you may find in the pages of the Early Minot Press in the coming months could be some of the historical people and buildings of Minot, the city park system, the fairgrounds, historical events, preservation events, neighborhood association news, Minot's historical districts. We would like to include your family and personal histories. We would also like to hear from you if you can add new information or correct mistakes in our articles.

However, publishing and distributing the Early Minot Press is not an inexpensive task. We could fill our pages with advertisements to help cover the costs, but this would take space away from the historical information. We would rather pack our newsletter with historical facts and information.

The Early Minot Press is available to anyone interested in Minot, history or preservation at $10.00 per year for 12 issues. Subscribers can also receive the Eastwood Park Reporter in addition to the Early Minot Press for just $2.00 per year more.

Read through our first issue and enjoy the stories about the early years of Minot. We hope that you will enjoy reading the newsletter as much as Kay and I enjoy researching, writing and publishing it.

Industrial District in Minot Loses Historic IH Warehouse

Some of the buildings in Minot are architecturally and historically significant. They show the importance of Minot as a agricultural trading center, distribution center and railroad hub. While Minot grew, it developed into a major distribution center especially in the areas of agricultural implement machinery. Because some Minot's businesses served a wide area including Montana and western N.D., its industrial areas were much more elaborate than other agricultural towns of the same size with larger buildings and rail spurs. One large building in the industrial area of Minot was build by International Harvester Company in 1910. As of March 1993 this building still stands, but not for long, just off of East Central on Second Street NE. It is a strong link to Minot's heritage. Some feel this building is one of the strongest symbols of Minot's historic function as a distribution center.

The exterior of this massive, five-story, brick warehouse is Renaissance Revival which contain more column, lines, angles and character than a person can comprehend in a short amount of time. This kind of architecture is rarely being built today. So when a building like this one is destroyed, it will not be replaced. This warehouse was built to last with ten-inch brick exterior walls, 3" x 6" cedar board for the floors making 6 inch thick floors to be covered with "IDEAL" Rock Maple hardwood flooring from the I. Stephenson Company out of Wells Delta, Mich. Beams supporting the floor and roof started in the basement and run to the fifth floor. The roof is different than you will find being built in Minot today. Instead of the roof being pitched so moisture would run off the side or even into gutters, the roof consisted of two bowls with a hole at the base of each one fitted with a pipe that ran to the sewer of the building allowing precipitation to leave the roof. The view from the roof truly makes Minot look the part of a Magic City. The IH building provided storage and office space for International Harvester. Much of the office space had pressed tin ceilings, giving them an air of sophistication allowing you to forget you are in a massive warehouse. The building was built to last and has proven, that even with little maintenance, it was built to last.

The International Harvester building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. It was built during Minot's period of significance which was between the late 19th century and the early 20th century. It is considered a second generation Minot building. The first generation buildings were built mainly of wood and have mostly burned down.

By just taking one look at the building, the first thing to come to mind may be that it needs to be torn down. It is a home for pigeons and it is beyond repair. Or you may see past the broken windows that are covered with plywood and the faded paint of the proud builders of the building. You may see the character in the lines of the brick and feel a need to bring the building back to its glory as an important piece of Minot history. What this building needed was an owner to fix its roof and windows and find a use for the building. In January of 1993, the building received a new owner. A second chance? The new owner, Farmers Union, has decided to bring the building down. A building that has stood for 82 years as a symbol of Minot's past. Farmers Union, an agriculture-based company, will demolish one of the landmarks of our agriculture-related city.

Before this building is completely demolished I ask you to go to 11-2nd Ave. NE and pay your condolences to this building that has stood to represent Minot's past. But when you go, be sure to look at the East side of the building. This is the front of the structure; a side I'm sure few have discovered.

Burlington Regulators Formed in 1884

In the fall of 1883, John Bates and Stanley Ravenwood, two railroad contractors, arrived in Burlington with several horses and a few wagons. Ravenwood had been hurt in a fall from his horse. They sought help at the farm of Osborne Benson. Mrs. Benson tended Ravenwood's leg until it was healed. The pair sold Benson their Arabian horse for $40.00 and then left their farm to file on a homestead.

In the spring of 1884, Bates and Ravenwood joined with Leslie Colton, James Johnson and John Wallin to form the Burlington Regulators. Other members of the group were Sever Anderson, Jason Baker, John Barton, John Bonholzer, Joseph Colton, Carl Larson, Charles Larson and Nils Olson. Every able-bodied man in Burlington was also considered members.

The Burlington Regulators was formed because of the lack of law and order in the area. The biggest problem was that the valleys and coulees around the Mouse and Des Lacs Rivers became the holding points for an international underground railway for stolen horses from Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Canada. Horses would be brought to the Burlington area and then sold or traded to other horse thieves. Another catalyst for the formation of the group was a murder that occurred in the winter of 1882-1883.

The Regulators were formed to bring justice, swift justice, to the lawless. They were the first law enforcement organization in the region. They had three missions: to protect claims from claim jumpers, to fight prairie fires, and to track down murderers and horse thieves.

There is no record of the Regulators catching a horse thief or firing a shot. However, they did perform their duties on several occasions. In the next issue, the Regulators come up against a claim jumper, a prairie fire and more.

Early Newspapers Active in Area

In the early 1880's, Ward County was a wilderness. In his efforts to tame this wilderness, Joseph L. Colton made many firsts. He built the first store, first hotel and in 1884, the first newspaper in the county. The newspaper, the Burlington Republican, was printed by hand press by Colton and delivered by Colton and his son-in-law, James Johnson. Later that year, Colton brought Darius O. Preston in to run the paper. Soon, Preston was replaced by J.K. McLeod.

While McLeod was building the Republican, another paper, the Rustler was started up in Minot. Marshall McClure became editor.

In the next several years, McLeod let the Republican through several changes. In 1885, the newspaper's name was changed to the Burlington Reporter. In 1889, McLeod moved the paper from Burlington to Minot and changed the name to the Ward County Reporter to reflect the change in location.

Also in 1889, George W. Wilson and L.D. McGahan started a new Minot newspaper, the Minot Journal. Shortly thereafter, Wilson and McGahan turned the paper over to H.D. Mann and H.E. Arnold. Wilson turned to publishing another Minot paper, the Minot Mirror.

In 1892, Colton, who soon after moved to Florida, sold the Ward County Reporter to C.A. Johnson. The competition between the Reporter and the Journal was intense.

Then in 1894, the building that housed the Ward County Reporter offices burned to the ground. Johnson had no insurance, yet he managed to immediately buy the Minot Journal from Mann and Arnold and began publishing the Ward County Reporter and Minot Journal under one title.

In January, 1897, Johnson sold the Ward County Reporter to George W. Wilson. Meanwhile, Marshall McClure left the Rustler just before the turn of the century to create the Minot Optic.

At the beginning of 1900, Wilson of the Reporter and McClure of the Optic were waging a feud over prohibition. Wilson was for prohibition as well as shutting down pool halls and gambling. McClure was against prohibition. The next few years would bring more changes in the area newspaper business.

Buffalo Bones Big Business

Late in the 19th century, buffalo bones littered the prairies of northwest North Dakota. The bones proved to be the first contribution made by the settlers of the territory to the eastern states manufacturing industry.

The buffalo skeletons were the remains of the herds of buffalo that once freely roamed the Mouse River valley. Settlers would gather the bones off the prairies and bring them to Minot where they could be sold for $6 to $15 cash per ton.

The firm of Worner and Stoltz was the main purchaser of the bones. They had acquired so many that around 1888, a heap of bones started near the Great Northern right-of-way and continued Main Street and then eastward almost reaching present day Third Street. A rail spur was built along the pile so that the bones could be loaded directly into the boxcars. Most of the bones, once they left Minot via rail, were shipped to St. Louis.

Quality bones were turned into items such as knife handles and poorer quality bones were used as commercial fertilizer. Most of the bones, however, were used in sugar manufacturing processes.

In the 1850's, it is said that two million buffalo roamed the Great Plains. By 1898, only 551 could be found. At that time, measures were taken to preserve their existence. They have survived to the present day. Small herds can be seen today near Medora, Jamestown and even in zoos like the one in Minot. Now buffalo are even being raised on ranches like the 13,000 acre buffalo pasture near Mandaree.

It is wonderful that these animals were preserved rather than destroyed. They offer, among other things, a low-cholesterol meat enjoyed by many people throughout the country.

Why Minot?

The city of Minot was named for Henry Davis Minot of the eastern United States. Henry Minot had a great love for birds and nature at a young age. With much observation, Henry let nature be his teacher. In time he became a self-taught Ornithologist. He also had a keen ear for music. The notes and songs of the birds he loved mixed often mixed with his music.

At the age of 17, he decided that he would write a book from all of his notes he took about nature and the birds he observed. His elder brother encouraged him to follow through with his idea and so he did. One thousand copies of the first edition of "The Land Birds and Game Birds of New England" rolled off the presses and sold out.

What was next for the young Ornithologist? He attended Harvard, but did not graduate. He dropped out of school in his sophomore year, some say because he was a frail youth.

The Minot family was financially linked to the railroad. So young Henry became a railroad developer and a business associate of James Hill. Minot was a director and second vice-president of Great Northern Railway. James Hill named the city of Minot for the young railroad man.

There are no records of Henry Minot ever coming to the city of Minot. When the town was only three years old, Henry Minot was killed in a railroad accident at the age of 31.

The town named for Henry D. Minot has prospered. It has grown from a rough and tough town of the late 1800's to an All-American City of today. Not bad for a town where at one time a conductor, Casper Sands, would announce the stop as "Minot, this is M-I-N-O-T, end of the line. Prepare to meet your God!" Hats off to M-I-N-O-T.

News from January 19, 1894

During the year 1893, North Dakota added 194 miles of new railroad to its already large mileage.

If the delinquent subscribers will pay up their subscriptions and give us a chance to pay our bills, we will not "croak" about hard times. Note: Subscriptions to the Minot Journal in 1894 were $1.50 per year.

If the Mouse river valley farmers will put aside the "one-crop" idea and engage in diversified farming and stock raising for the ensuing year, they will be much better off financially at the end of the year than they are at the present time. A wide-awake farmer, with a fair acreage of wheat, oats and barley, two acres of potatoes, and with a few cattle, hogs and chickens could soon become financially independent in this valley.

The democrats claim that tariff reform will not reduce wages. How can this be, when the very prospect of it wipes out wages altogether?

In Troy, N.Y., there are 15,000 working people out of employment. All this in consequence of the free trade victory of 1892.

Minot people believe a flour and feed mill would pay; that a tannery could be made a success, and the business of curing and packing meat could be carried on at a profit. They want also a board of trade and other metropolitan adjuncts.

Letters to the Editor

Because the Early Minot Press has just begun publishing, we will present some comments on our Eastwood Park Reporter.

I received a copy of your newspaper. It is a great idea and long overdue. We were active in the fight to save the little "humpback" bridge in Eastwood Park, fighting both the city engineers and city hall. I keep running into North Dakota and former Minot residents here. When I say I lived in Eastwood Park, they brighten and say that they did too when they were first married. Strange how that little piece of real estate stays in the hearts and affection of former residents. -- Edna Keller, Sun City, AZ.

I love seeing what you are all doing for the area and only wish I could be a part of restoring Minot's history. It is so very important. I witnessed and shed many tears over the needless tearing down of the historic walk bridge into Roosevelt Park from Eastwood Park. I hope that one day residents will again have the beautiful and most wonderful way to enter Roosevelt Park - by the walk bridge. -- Linda and Bob Johnson, Muskegon, MI.

I appreciate receiving copies of your newsletter which will be a welcome addition to the collections. I do believe it is somewhat unique in its purpose and content. -- James A. Davis, ND State Historic Society.

Thanks for the newsletter! I look forward to hearing from and about friends in Eastwood Park. The Reporter is a wonderful neighborhood publication. -- Betty Anne Beierle, National Trust, Denver.

Just want you to know that I truly enjoy the Eastwood Park newsletter and you are to be complimented on the good job and hard work you do for it. Thank you! -- Dyanne Altringer, Eastwood Park Resident.

We love the newspaper and the Eastwood Park Association does great things. Keep up the good work! -- Margaret Lee, Eastwood Park Resident.

Next Month

Some of the stories that we are working on for next month's issue of the Early Minot Press:

Joseph L. Colton, founder of Burlington and prominent businessman.

Erik Ramstad, early homesteader and first citizen of Minot.

Activities of the Burlington Regulators.

Minot Newspapers and Political Activities.

What Neighborhood Associations can do for the city.

And much, much more!