The Horse vs. The Car
On this day in 1917, an article appeared in the Bismarck Weekly Tribune with a dramatic headline saying, “Horse Has Revenge Upon Motor Car in Hoof and Wheel Bout.”
The article reported that in New Salem, Mr. and Mrs. William Krause were driving along the Red River Trail in their big touring car when they encountered a horse on the road. It is unstated whether or not the horse had a rider, but the Krause couple, understanding that horses have a nervous nature, gave the animal plenty of room to pass. Despite the precautions, as the car rolled past the horse, the angry animal lashed out with both hooves, kicking one of the wheels off of the car and disabling the steering gear of its “hereditary enemy.” Unlike their car, the Krauses were not injured in the incident, and they made it home safely.
This was one of the many stories that would occur along the Old Red Trail, a road stretching along the bottom half of North Dakota from Fargo through Bismarck and Dickinson, extending into the neighboring states. The trail was originally built by T. Terry an experienced road builder in Morton County in 1916, taken up by different road builders as it continued through different counties. The Red Trail began as a dirt road and was eventually paved to ease travel, as the trail connected to the other roads stretching from Minneapolis to Seattle. Also known as the National Parks Highway, the trail traversed some of North Dakota’s most beautiful scenery, passing by Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
The traffic was fairly heavy on the trail, and towns along it would build accommodations for those traveling through, gaining much of their business from the travelers. In 1925 there was a meeting in Washington DC, in which a board designated the transcontinental highways. The Red Trail became US 10, or as it is known today, I-94.
Since the horse versus the car incident, much has happened on the Red Trail and will continue to as long as it is used. It seems that though automobiles eventually won the war of who would rule transportation, the horse won the battle this time.
Dakota Datebook by Katie David
Bismarck Weekly Tribune, Nov. 3, 1917,
Articles from Red River Trail Folder (General Information File)