Historic Preservation Month: Froeschle House
May is National Historic Preservation Month, and today we hear about The Froeschle house in Bismarck.
As veterans in the post-World War II era faced a housing shortage across the country, many communities worked to address the situation. In North Dakota, the Highland Acres neighborhood in Bismarck was originally developed in the 1940s and 50s with returning veterans in mind. The development followed the topography of the land. Plotted in 1947, it featured curved streets and cul-de-sacs, a departure from the grid network of the other neighborhoods. It was the first of its kind in the state.
One of those returning veterans was Donald Froeschle. He had enlisted in the Army, and during Boot Camp was transferred to the Sea Bees Construction Battalion. The battalion built roads, landing strips, bridges, and buildings after the invasion of Okinawa.
He returned home to North Dakota and attended classes at North Dakota State University. After graduating in 1951 with a degree in architecture, he became equal partners in his father’s construction company in Hazen. In 1952, the company, including Donald’s brother Roland, moved to Bismarck. Over the years, Froeschle and Sons constructed motels, schools, office buildings, hospitals, and even the Judicial Wing of the State Capitol Building.
In 1956 Donald also built his own house in the Highland Acres neighborhood. The home is mid-century contemporary style with an irregular footprint. The original building was rectangular, but a rear entrance was added in 1963 creating an L-shape. The building has a carport and a triangular, enclosed storage room in front. A domed observatory in the rear rises from the mostly flat roof. Today, the house is largely unchanged.
The Froeschle house helped establish a specific style linked to the neighborhood that conveys historic relevance. That, and the connection to returning veterans and community planning, contributes to Highland Acres being a candidate for historic district designation.
Listen for more stories of preservation in North Dakota as we continue to acknowledge "National Historic Preservation Month.
Dakota Datebook by Sarah Walker
Bismarck Tribune, December 9, 2010, updated April 19, 2016, obituary for Donald Froeschle, https://bismarcktribune.com/lifestyles/announcements/obituaries/donald-froeschle/article_61dc3158-030d-11e0-81a7-001cc4c002e0.html
Froeschle House NDCRS Architectural form