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St. Patrick's Day

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North Dakotans in years past have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with school recitals, town dances, church events and more. Here is a sampling.

In 1882, the first Mass in the new St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Manvel was celebrated on the feast of St. Patrick. Many of the local settlers were Irish.

In 1892, two German immigrants were married in Jersey City on St. Patrick's Day, and set off that same evening for North Dakota. The couple honeymooned in a shanty on their new homestead near Dickey.

For years, the Leeds Volunteer Fire Department held an annual St. Patrick's Day Firemen's Ball as a fundraiser. The tradition began in 1903, and the date was chosen because many of the firemen had Irish heritage.

In 1904, the Neche Public School held a St. Patrick's Day entertainment program at the city's opera house with songs, recitations, duets, instrumentals and a dialogue from "Madame Princeton's Temple of Beauty."

St. Michael's Church in Pingree opened on St. Patrick's Day in 1905. The little church and even its cross were painted vivid green!

In 1909, the Rocklake Fire Company held a benefit dance with a three-piece orchestra from Sarles providing the music. Prizes were given to "the best lady dancer on the floor and the homeliest gent on the floor."

On St. Patrick's Day in 1917, Michigan beat Valley City 18-16 in the state basketball tournament. It was Michigan's 17th straight victory. The team had no gymnasium for practice, and instead had to use the town’s small opera house.

Also in 1917, Center was the site of a St. Patrick's Day dance. Orchestras from Center and Golden Valley provided the music, and the Central Hotel served a supper.

A dance and supper also took place in nearby Sanger. But in 1925, the St. Patrick's Day dance at Sanger was postponed due to a mumps epidemic.

Dakota Datebook by Jack Dura

Neche/Bathgate History Book Committee (1976). Proudly we speak: A history of Neche, Bathgate, Bruce and Hyde Park. D.W. Friesen & Sons, Ltd: Altona, MB
From Trails to Tribute Committee. (1982). From Trails to Tribute: Manvel Centennial 1882-1982. Tri-County Press: Grand Forks, ND
Marion Pioneer History Committee. (1950). Marion 1900-1950.
Rocklake history from 1905 to 1980 and an all-school directory. The Printer: Langdon, ND
Leeds History Book Committee. (1986). Our heritage: Leeds, York 1886-1986. Friesen Printers: Altona, MB
Pingree 1880-1980
75th anniversary of Michigan in North Dakota, 1883-1958.
Reuther, P.; Bueligen, M.; Tellmann, D. (1985). Oliver County 1885-1985.

Dakota Datebook is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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