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What a Little Snow Can Do


The first real snow storm of 1905 raged through Minot and its surrounding areas in late November. The storm lasted all day and all night, with a strong northeasterly wind, resulting in a good 18 inches of snow—the heaviest snowfall in the area for the last twenty years. And there was more on the way.

Old-timers who watched the weather said it showed a climate change; and everyone agreed that the snow boded well for the crops of the following spring.

With all the fresh snow on the ground, the Minot Daily Optic reported that “coasting from the top of the hill south of town” was taken up by various residents. The newspaper cautioned, “In the event the gleeful custom is not stopped, either by the police department or some kindly disposed citizen with a club, some man, woman or child is going to get hurt.”

But there was also clean-up. Those North Dakota snows never seem to go away quite as quickly as they come, and on this date, some residents of Minot let the snow lay where it fell. However, chief of police Kimball sought to put a stop to it. He published in the newspaper that a complaint had been laid against those who didn’t clean their sidewalks, and that indeed, these property owners, mainly residing on Main, Third and Ramstad streets, were in violation of a Minot City ordinance. In short, if they didn’t clean their walkways—they’d spend some time in jail.

As the Daily Optic reported, “There will be something doing in Minot tomorrow morning and the prospects are that a snow shoveling brigade, composed of several prominent citizens of Minot, will be seen cleaning their sidewalks.”

Nothing came of it—no one was arrested. “Every person, served with a summons, made arrangements to have their walks cleaned,” and by the next day, the Optic pronounced a large number of them to be in passable condition.

There really wasn’t much choice; it was either shovel off the walkways or be shoveled off to jail!

Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker

Minot Daily Optic, November 28, 1905, p1 and 2
Minot Daily Optic, December 2, 1905, p1
Minot Daily Optic, December 21, 1905, p1
Minot Daily Optic, December 22, 1905, p1