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Trista Raezer-Stursa

Contributor, Dakota Datebook
  • On this date in 1991 The Bismarck Tribune reported on the 100th anniversary celebration for Merricourt, North Dakota. A parade was held for the entire population, which was a grand total of two. Emil and Elsie Geisler were the only residents, but 1,500 people joined the couple in the celebration.
  • On this date in 1989 the All Veterans Centennial Memorial was dedicated on the North Dakota Capital grounds in Bismarck. About 1,000 people attended the emotional event, which honored 4,050 North Dakotans who died serving their country since North Dakota became a state in 1889.
  • On this date in 1987, The Bismarck Tribune reported that Daniel Preston was still singing at 90-years-old. Mr. Preston had a long and storied career as a singing instructor in the area, starting at the Moorhead Normal School, which is now Minnesota State University Moorhead.
  • Agnes Shurr was born near Glenburn, North Dakota in 1915 and grew up on a farm. She followed in her mother’s footsteps and became a nurse after studying at St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing in Minot. Agnes worked at a hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, but in 1928 decided to join the Navy to see the world and earn more money.
  • On November 2nd, 1889, North Dakota became a state. In the early 1980s planning began for the many celebrations and commemorations that would mark the centennial of statehood. On this date in 1985, Governor George Sinner unveiled the official centennial logo. A contest had been held for the design, and the winner of the $5,000 prize was artist Burdette Calkins of Bismarck.
  • Concert pianist Gregory Slag received a doctorate in music at The Juilliard School and played at the famous international Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Pianist Paul Heisler got his master’s degree at Yale and played a concert for royalty in Jordan. Besides being world-renowned pianists, these two men had one other important thing in common. They both learned how to play the piano from Mandan piano teacher Josephine Mushik.
  • In 1901 a townsite named Goodrich was platted north of the new Northern Pacific Rail Road track in Sheridan County. That same year, the townsite of Dudley was platted right across from Goodrich on the south side of the tracks. After a few years of rivalry the two towns combined and continued on as Goodrich. The town grew and prospered, at one point with a population over 500 people. However, by 1990, the town had shrunk to just under 200 people.
  • Deep in the Badlands of North Dakota sits one of the last one-room schools in the state. Horse Creek School, with an enrollment of eleven students as of 2020, is 16 miles from Sidney, Montana, and 38 miles from Watford City. On this date in 1998, it was reported that the little school, which is surrounded by ranches in one of the remotest areas of the state, served as a temporary home for two stranded motorists.
  • Since the outbreak of COVID-19, it has been normal for people from kindergarten through college to take their classes online. However, North Dakota has a long history of providing internet education. On this date in 1999, the Bismarck Tribune announced the news that Bismarck State College had over 300 students taking classes online. This was incredible considering the college had only had a website for four years.
  • On this date in 1992, the front page of the Bismarck Tribune featured a spunky 11-year-old who used advice from the TV show “Rescue 911” to save three lives. Kristin Erck was walking home from school in Bismarck when she heard someone yell “Help me! Help me!” Kristin saw smoke billowing out of a nearby mobile home. Inspired by her favorite TV show, Kristin looked for a passing motorist to ask for help. Seeing none, she ran into the home and found three-year-old Jessie Kuntz in the kitchen near flames. Kristin led the little boy outside and then ran to a neighboring home and pounded on the door. This was the home of Patty Flanigan, 25, a fry cook at McDonalds.