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Capitol Air


While North Dakota is perhaps better recognized for its blizzards and cold, the heat of the summer can be blistering. On this date in 1965, the Weather Bureau predicted that some of that heat would soon hit Bismarck with temperatures in the nineties - a change from what had been an otherwise cool summer.

While far from the record of 114 degrees set in 1936, the upcoming heat surely added to an-ongoing discussion of how to keep state employees cool during the summer. It was a very "tall" problem at the eighteen-story Capitol building, where there was plenty of room for heat to accumulate and rise.

One thought was to add window air conditioners, and the Department of Accounts and Purchases let bids for 56 units at a cost of about $11,000. With 44 already purchased, that brought the total to 100 air conditioners for North Dakota's lone skyscraper, all of which, one observer said, would be "sticking out of windows and making the Capitol look like a porcupine."

So, the North Dakota Jaycees passed a resolution and forwarded it to Gov. William Guy, asking for a review by the State Planning Board to possibly get central air. The State Board of Architects indicated it would be forwarding a similar resolution letter. Others seemed to agree-including the State Board of Administration, which maintained the capitol building, and also the director of the Accounts and Purchases Department and his purchasing agent.

In the end, central air was installed, making the state's landmark Capitol not only cooler, but much more pleasant to look at.

Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker


The Bismarck Tribune, July 16, 1965, p.1

The Bismarck Tribune, July 15, 1965, p1, p2