Class Is in Session at Minot
After what seemed like the plagues of Egypt, the Minot normal school’s first term finally started on this date in 1913.
The troubles began in 1907, when legislative squabbling almost killed the bill authorizing a third normal school in North Dakota. It took three tries and five years for the legislation to pass and be approved by voters. But the state’s attorney general was still hell-bent on preventing construction and funding. He filed an injunction, claiming legislators had violated the state constitution in the approval process. By late 1912, the matter went to the state supreme court, which ruled in favor of the new school.
Politics weren’t the end of the trouble. Construction began in the spring of 1913, and a late freeze ruined the first concrete. Then a tornado barreled in and almost obliterated the school power plant.
While awaiting completion of the school’s main building, the 11 faculty and 55 students were shuffled into the city’s new armory for classes. The armory’s offices served as recitation rooms, while the basement became the auditorium and gymnasium.
The armory was the temporary home for the school for over six months, but even after the move to campus, construction woes continued. A sidewalk to connect Main and a dormitory to the city streets needed over 2,000 feet of concrete. The cost delayed pouring until the summer of 1915.
The school’s colors weren’t an easy matter either. Defying the art faculty’s choice of three colors, President Arthur Crane said, “I don’t care what colors you choose. Just so they’re red and green.”
Declining enrollments plagued the school during World War I, but the campus still held rallies and parades to help the war effort. President Crane even served in the war with the U.S. Army Sanitary Corps.
By 1924, the normal school gained collegiate status and became Minot State Teachers College. The Great Depression brought more construction to campus, with two military educational programs helping bolster enrollment during World War II. Despite its delayed beginnings and hard times, Minot’s normal school pulled itself up to become Minot State University, one of 11 North Dakota University System campuses.
Dakota Datebook written by Jack Dura
Timbrook, M. (2009). Minot state university. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC.