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June 20: Beach Steam Laundry

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The townsite of Beach was established when the Northern Pacific Railroad built a section house there in 1881. However, it wasn’t until 1900 when settlement really started to happen.

As with so many new towns, every new establishment or building or exhibit showed progress, was exciting, and was newsworthy. In 1910, the Golden Valley Chronicle reported on some of these new businesses and opportunities. A New State Bank was being established. There was discussion that Beach might get a “Flax Fibre Twine Center,” which could save money for the farmer in twine bills and give him a market for flax straw. It was also imagined that such a plant would be a big thing for whatever town was home to such a plant.

Under an article entitled, “We have street lights now,” the paper discussed the addition of lights and how beneficial it was. In particular, in the evening after a long rain, the lighting would be important because the unpaved streets could be covered “with that peculiarly sticky mud characteristic of this region.”

And then, also probably helpful after a muddy evening, there was this announcement: “At last Beach is to have a modern steam laundry – something which has long been needed, and which, we believe, will be easily supported.” It turned out many people were getting their items laundered out of town, like in Dickinson or even Bismarck. “With the right kind of a laundry,” the article stated, these items “could be just as well cared for here at home.”

A building for the laundry was constructed southwest of the high school, with a boiler and engine room. Advertisements noting that it was open for business filled newspapers in early 1911.

By this date that same year, the laundry had a re-opening event, having been refitted and added to by new manager C. A. Bevier, who the paper called a “practical laundryman” and businessman. Some of the additions to the business were a “Bishop neck and wrist ironer, and a new collar and cuff starcher.” Machinery was also moved around to create more space to make it easier to separate the clean from the dirty.

The Golden Valley Chronicle commented that “the citizens of Beach may rest assured that this city will henceforth have a laundry second to none in the state.”

Dakota Datebook by Sarah Walker


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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