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Bismarck Pioneer Henry Richholt


On this date in 1915, the front page of the Bismarck Tribune ran an ad for Henry W. Richholt’s Confectionary Store. The advertisement, running several paragraphs, was almost more of an ad for Mr. Richholt himself, singing his praises and describing his many contributions to Bismarck.

Richholt was well deserving of the praise. Born in Ohio in 1861, he came to Bismarck in 1883, only eleven years after the town was founded. He first worked as a bookkeeper then went in to the grocery business. His 1888 wedding to Jennie Griffin was, according to the newspaper, “one of the leading society events of the city.” In 1890 he started his confectionary business and became the main street candy man.

Henry Richholt was deeply engaged in the community. He was city clerk for six years, served on the school board for 12 years, and also held positions as alderman, assessor and census-taker. His business made the news when he installed a soda fountain in 1903, purchased a peanut roaster for $500 in 1904, and added a popcorn machine in 1906. When he opened up shop in a new location in 1909, people waited eagerly at the door on opening day, keeping eight employees busy until closing time. The following year, Mr. Richholt even installed a newfangled ice cream freezer.

Henry’s son Frank was born in 1890 and his son Gerald in 1897. The two young men joined their father’s business, but in 1918, after Richholt sold the confectionary and opened a grocery store, the two young men were off to war.

Gerald was sent to Camp Lewis in Washington State, while Frank was sent to Camp Custer in Michigan. Frank enjoyed Army life and he put his business experience to use in the supply department. Three months later, he came down with the Spanish Flu and died on this date in 1918. The city of Bismarck honored the young man by naming a new elementary school F.H. Richholt School. 

Henry Richholt died in 1950, his death making front page news. His son, Gerald, died later that same year. Henry’s wife Jennie died in 1966. As for Richholt Elementary School, it closed in 2003.

Dakota Datebook by Trista Raezer-Stursa


“A Continuous Freezer,” The Bismarck Tribune, March 4, 1910, pg. 2.

“A Fine Roaster,” The Bismarck Tribune, September 4, 1906, pg. 3. 

“A Successful Opening,” The Bismarck Tribune, March 28, 1909, pg. 5. 

“Bismarck Boosters,” The Bismarck Tribune, October 26, 1915, pg. 1.

“Gerald L. Richholt Dies Here Thursday,” The Bismarck Tribune, June 1, 1950, pg. 1. 

“Giant Peanut Roaster,” The Bismarck Tribune, October 5, 1904, pg. 3.

“Grade Schools,” The Bismarck Tribune, September 2, 1948, pg. 1.

“Henry Richholt Back in the Game,” The Bismarck Tribune, March 29, 1918, pg. 6.

“Henry Richholt, 89, Pioneer, Dies,” The Bismarck Tribune, January 6, 1950, pg. 1.

“New Fountain,” The Bismarck Tribune, June 12, 1903, pg. 3.

“The Richholt-Griffin Wedding on Monday Evening a Most Pleasing Social Event,” The Bismarck Tribune, October 12, 1888, pg. 8.

“Two Popular Bismarck Men ‘Flu’ Victims,” The Bismarck Tribune, October 26, 1918, pg. 1-2.

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