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Page Burro Club

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April Fool's Day was a fun time in Page, North Dakota, on this date in 1906, and a prank that day led to the creation of a humorous social organization. Several men including the mayor, a constable and an attorney placed “an innocent, sweet-tempered little donkey” in the lobby of the European Hotel, which was on the upper story of two buildings on the Thompson Block.

No one noticed anything until the burro looked into the mirror that morning “and began to bray at the company reflected there.” The hotel manager tried to keep the burro’s presence quiet until he could get the animal removed. But the burro “stuck his head out of an open window and in a series of ‘he-haws’ expressed in eloquent language to the populace quickly gathering below, that he was very, very hungry.”

The burro had chewed up the sheet music at the hotel's piano, and “tasted of the legs of the piano” and its stool. His teeth marks were also found on a number of other furniture pieces in the elegant parlor.

In another prank, the Burro Club took a delivery wagon from the lumberyard and hoisted it onto the roof of the grain elevator. The wagon remained there for weeks before anyone could bring it down.

The prank led one participant to suggest the creation of the Burro Club. The organization sponsored dances and basket socials to raise money to pay for damage caused by its pranks. Some folks called the club “The Dirty Gang.”

Today’s Dakota Datebook was written by Jack Dura, using the history book “Our Page: 1882-1957.”

Page Jubilee Advisory Board. (1957). Our Page: 1882-1957 by the Page Community. Brown Lithographing Company: Valley City

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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