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Debate of the Dance


If you’ve ever been to a dance, you know that many people feel better about taking part after they’ve had a little something—be it beer, wine or something else—to drink.

In 1935, however, that sentiment did not go over well with some, and so some of the people of Minot began to consider whether or not they should separate drinking and dancing. The topic was big at a council meeting, where Council member Roy Aney made a motion that would terminate the contracts which allowed dances at places that sold beer after December 31, at the very beginning of 1936. However, city attorney O. B. Herigstad killed the motion by advising that in order to make a ruling like that stick, it would be necessary to “amend the present public dance ordinance,” and no such motion was introduced.

In a report done by Council member I. Diamond, county commissioners said they felt they didn’t have jurisdiction over that area. Aney debated the issue, and said that “the commissioners … would follow suit if the city council would lead off to a separation of dancehalls and beer parlors.” Nonetheless, on this day, it was reported that “a lot of talk about Minot beer parlors and dance halls heard at the city council meeting … came to nothing.” Dancers could, if they desired, continue to imbibe.

The council members did grant some permits on that night. Herigstad said the council could not “arbitrarily refuse a dance permit to an applicant without cause” while granting a permit to another applicant, and so at the meeting, by a vote of 8 to 7, of which Mayor J. A. Patterson cast the deciding vote, dance permits were granted to one man, A. C. Schoonmaker. Two more permits for dance halls, one by Ed P. Ehr and one by the Sons of Norway lodge, were left until the next meeting.

J.O. Fylken’s license for a dance hall was withdrawn, but only because, according to Council member Howe, Fylken had not paid for his license fee.

A general ruling was passed that required applicants for beer licenses had to pay fees in cash or by certified check.

Otherwise, dancers who needed that extra liquid courage were in for some relief, as the matter was laid to rest.

By Sarah Walker


Minot Daily News, Tuesday Evening, October 22, 1935, p.2