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Sarah Walker

  • Earlier this week, we reported on slot machine legislation from 1950. On this date that year, an article in The People’s Voice, a newspaper from Helena, Montana, asked readers to vote against legalizing the machines.
  • Gambling and the like were a big topic of interest in 1950, with legislation targeting slot machines under consideration in Congress. Slot machines were commonly called “one-armed bandits” because they have one lever and take people’s money.
  • Steamboats and ships were an important means of transportation in early years, and newspapers frequently reported on the shipping activity. In 1911, Williston papers published a number of interesting reports. For example, there was a note about R. C. Foster leaving to take charge of a two-deck steamer called the Henrietta, which would be making regular trips from Bakers’ Ferry to Williston with passengers and freight.
  • On this date in 1916, citizens of Fargo were reading about an attempted escape from the Cass County jail. According to the local papers, "Only the eternal vigilance of Sheriff John Ross and his force of deputies" prevented the escape from happening.
  • In early August in 1930, a group of armed, unmasked men robbed the Dakota National Bank and Trust Co. in Bismarck. They walked in around 2:30pm on August 7, forced customers and staff in the bank to lie on the floor, and then looted the vault. They locked the employees and customers in the vault, then left. After a few minutes, the employees liberated themselves and their patrons.
  • On this date in 1910, visitors were already arriving in Williston for a conference that promised to be big. It was for North Dakota newspaper editors.
  • It’s the Fourth of July, and on this date in Minot in 1907, the independence festivities were well underway. It was the midpoint of a five-day horse race, and large crowds were in attendance.
  • One century ago, in June of 1923, Ford, the automaker, was having a heyday of celebrations in the Bismarck/Mandan area. Mandan had a “Ford Day” first, at the beginning of the month. A large throng turned out in the city to celebrate—replete with automobiles. An estimated 800 Ford owners and their vehicles attended, perhaps drawn by the prizes being offered.
  • In the spring of 1873, the Reverend D. C. Lyon arrived by train at the newly established townsite of Bismarck. His purpose was missionary work, to “look after the interest of the Presbyterian Church” at the “end of the track.”
  • In August 1907, General Sir Robert S. S. Baden-Powell of England organized the Boy Scout Movement, to motivate, teach skills, and give agency to local boys. It didn’t take long for this idea to spread across the world. In the spring of 1910, a newspaper reported that the Young Men’s Christian association scouts had formed in Springfield, Massachusetts “Clad in khaki suits, golf hose, belts, and rakish slouch hats.”