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Sarah Walker

Contributor, Dakota Datebook
  • In 1917, laws governing what could happen on Sundays, the Blue laws, seemed to be on the brink of change in North Dakota, but many of those bills failed, including a bill allowing shooting and hunting on Sundays.
  • North Dakota used to have a number of restrictions affecting Sunday activities. These are known as Blue Laws. During the 1917 legislative session, bills were introduced to relax those laws, proposing that movie theaters be allowed to open, baseball games could be played, and shooting and hunting would be permitted.
  • In late August, 1911, a horrible fire in Topeka, Kansas did more than one hundred thousand dollars damage in the business district. The reports noted that the J. C. Gresser furniture company, and the Grebbs clothing company were hit the hardest, but what caught readers’ attention in North Dakota was the news that photo studio also burned, killing a man named Evans, who lived in the studio.
  • As a land-locked state, North Dakota is not known for sea fare. But on this date in 1914, Towner, North Dakota was gearing up for a good, old-fashioned clam bake!
  • In August of 1930, men who had fought for the Union during the Civil War and were able to make the trip to Cincinnati were at a convention for the "'Boys in Blue' who marched home with a Union victory in '65."
  • In 1909, a new hotel inspection bill passed the North Dakota House and Senate that would hold hotels to a new standard. This required hotels to have sanitary plumbing; to clean carpets and rugs at least once a year; to clean pots, kettles and pans; and to have proper fire escapes. It also required eight-foot bed sheets -- a full foot shorter than required in Oklahoma!
  • In 1883, the Bismarck Tribune reported on the desire for a telephone link between Bismarck and Mandan, stating: “these are days when expedition and dispatch are needed. Life is too short to be flittered away at a stage coach pace, and a telephone between the two cities is what we need.” A charter was already held for a telephone system in Bismarck, and it was predicted that a telephone system would soon connect the two cities, as well as Fort Lincoln. However, the first telephone system in Bismarck didn’t come until two years later, in 1885, when St. Alexius Hospital set up phone connections with drug stores and town doctors.