by Gaylen Brown
The frenzied activity of its first fifteen years did not cease as Minot grew older and settled down as a far northwestern North Dakota community. Activity after 1900 became more organized with improvements that meant the old haphazard layout of the town must change. Main Street still followed the curve of the hill from its rise just above the Mouse River to its summit, leading into the farming country. But now the lower hill became increasingly segregated with the railroads (the Great Northern and the Soo) dominating the area just north of what was to be called Central Avenue. There were ferry stops at points along the river for transporting people between the major settlements to the south and what came to be referred to as “the wrong side of the track” to the north. For the north people, traffic with the various services of the south meant crossing both the river and the railroad tracks. As early as 1900, overpasses and bridges began to be constructed.
Activities in Minot during the years 1900-1920 were varied and many were not apparent in some of the positive aspects of growth and expansion. In 1900, Minot’s population was 1,277; in 1910, it had risen to 6,188; and by 1920, Minot was the third largest city in the state with 10,176. The surrounding farming area had also filled up; the greatest period of homesteading and immigration began in 1903 and continued well after 1910, stimulated by the railroads, immigration companies, glowing letters home, and lure of now land. This influx brought a population of varied backgrounds which stimulated business growth, both legal and illegal. Minot’s reputation as a boisterous frontier town endured, indeed deepened as its population grew.
South of Central Avenue on Main Street, the area became increasingly dominated by business establishments of the “respectable” variety, forcing the saloons, gambling halls, dance halls, and similar enterprises onto the side streets, until finally they ended in reigning control of the area bounded by Second Avenue and Second Street Southwest in spite of North Dakota law. The city government in September, 1906, passed an ordinance making it a crime to rent a house for questionable purposes. The announced aim was to rid Minot of immoral classes of persons and to halt construction of shabby tar paper buildings, a large number of which had sprung up in the general area of where the Federal Building is now located. The gradual emergence of Minot’s legendary “High Third” was a cooperative endeavor of the city fathers (who sought a practical compromise to potential legal embarrassments), the law-abiding citizens (who did not want constant reminders of the existence of the rowdier elements), the business establishments (who found a great profit in mutual professional dealings), the persons desirous of the services furnished by the place involved, and the people engaged in the services (who found a useful working relationship in having recognizable limits of operation, including knowing in advance about raids, probable fines, and adverse publicity).
The presence of “High Third” which its recognized boundaries permitted activities not tolerated elsewhere in the city, aided by the tolerance of the law and the often unvoiced feeling of a bit of pride from many Minoters for the unique area. Strangers coming to Minot expected anything. The experience of a young woman who came to join her brother, who had homesteaded sixty miles away, was not an isolated instance. She had to stay overnight in a local hotel and spent a first fearful night in wild and wicked Minot, made worse by footsteps in the hall, pausing along the corridor, until they stopped in front of her door. In the morning, after a sleepless night, she picked up a piece of paper at the door, only to read: “You are invited to attend services at the Methodist Church this Sunday.”
Of course, this segregation of the most colorful of pre-1900 elements which flirted with the letter of the law did not end the existence of establishments operating as “blind pigs” (places selling intoxicants illegally) outside the recognized boundaries. The newspapers of Minot were full of items about law agencies and their persistent crackdowns on the “pigs”. One item in the Reporter of May 23, 1911, combined both the aspects of upholding righteous law and order and the thriving feud with its rival, stating: “the editor of the Minot Optic continues to show his soreness at the police force because they were injudicious enough to close the “blind pig” in the Optic building.”
Meanwhile, businesses multiplied on Main Street from today’s Central Avenue to Second Avenue South where the First National Bank today stands. On the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue, Jack Doyle’s saloon (Minot’s best known) was replaced by a general store owned by Peter P. Lee. The building was known as the Lee Block. In 1906, Julius Fauchald bought the building and Lee’s store became the New York Store with offices above and the building was the New York Store Block. In 1912, Julius Fauchald sold the New York Store to Woolworth’s who operated that store until 1982. Fauchald in 1912 moved next door south of Woolworth’s and established Fauchald’s Department Store, which continued until it was sold to Abraham Bader in 1943.
What was true of the history of that location was also typical of many businesses in the twenty years from 1900 to 1920. More noteworthy was the fact that so many businesses of various kinds were started early and remained so long with the same family or the same interests. The Charlebois Blacksmith Shop is Minot’s oldest business, in the family sin 1886. Samuelson’s Shoe Store was established on August 20, 1899, Minot’s oldest continuous one-family store handed down for three generations. Among businesses long associated with Minot were Ellison’s Fair Store (1902), Nash Finch (1906), Minot Farmers Cooperative Elevator (1906), Saunders Drug (1908), Valker’s Floral (1908), Minot Flour Mill Company (1903 and reorganized by William Dunnell in 1906), J. B. Reed Transfer and Storage (1903), the Grand Hotel (1907), and Montgomery and Company which was established by R. E. Barron in connection with the Second National Bank in 1907 with H. W. Montgomery as General Manager. In 1908, Montgomery and Company was incorporated as today’s Minot Insurance Agency. Today’s First National Bank has had a varied name history, beginning with Great Northern Bank in 1897, then long known as the Second National Bank (avoiding any connection with two previous First National Banks, which had failed amid considerable publicity and bad feelings), then finally as the First National Bank. R. E. Barron was associated with the Second National Bank and was to play a prominent role in Minot’s next decades.
After 1910, other businesses appeared, including Steenstrup Jewelry, founded by Ole and Harry Steenstrup in 1919; Mowbray Plumbing and Heating by Harry Mowbray and Ernest A. Lewin in 1916; Borene’s Men's’ Clothing Store in 1916 (later becoming Olson’s Men's’ Store); Penney’s in 1916, as the 112th J. C. Penney Store in the United States; and J. H. Weinrebe Furniture and Undertaking founded in late 1917 in a new building constructed on First Avenue Southeast. After J. H. Weinrebe’s death in 1919, the establishment was sold to P. C. Hamre, the building now houses Saunders’ Sporting Goods.
In the professions, the Directory of 1905 listed thirty practicing attorneys, about half engaged primarily in problems accompanying the settling of the territory. Prominent and longtime attorneys, many families of which extended into today’s scene, included McCutheon, Coyle, Herigstad, Aurland, McGee, Bradford, Palda, and Murphy. Others followed, lured by Minot’s turbulent but lucrative economic and political fields. Ragnvald Nestos became a partner of the multiinterested C. A. Johnson, in this period concerned with law, land, politics, and the newspaper business. It was incidentally, the spacious residence of C. A. Johnson which became the location of Trinity Hospital.
The first directory for Imperial Ward County lists ten medical doctors in Minot, including Dr. Andrew Carr, who with his son Dr. Andrew Jr., played important roles in building Minot as a medical center. Dr. G. R. Ringo, one of Minot’s most colorful doctors and controversial characters, came from Chicago in 1907, and took over the practice of Dr. James Windel. In 1916, Dr. Ringo opened a 30-bed hospital in a downtown building to be used by his patients. Later his hospital was operated under the jurisdiction of Dr. E. C. Stone, and was later closed when the St. Francis sisterhood expanded facilities at St. Joseph’s Hospital. In 1914, the Franciscan sisterhood formally assumed the administration of the Ward County Hospital, with the cornerstone laid July 22, 1916 for a new 4-story building completed in June, 1918. By 1920, the attached school of nursing had grown to twenty-six students.
Two other public service buildings of note were established before 1920. The Minot Carnegie Library was built in 1911 with funds granted by a foundation established by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. This building has also served as the Senior Citizens’ Center and is due to become the home of the Minot Art League. The Federal Building and U. S. Courthouse, a 3-story structure, was completed in 1915. Both buildings have now been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In two decades after 1900, most of Minot’s churches grew in membership and expanded facilities. Mortgages were burned – for instance, Vincent Methodist Church, located then where Northern States Power is now situated, had a gala mortgage-burning, appropriately on New Year’s Eve of 1917; other denominations planned and in some cases built larger facilities. When Bishop Stanley blessed St. Leo’s new church (the present one) on Thanksgiving, 1908, he referred to it as “by far the best” of the twenty-nine churches he had dedicated in the diocese during 1908. Even so, many people of the congregation criticized the pastor, Father J. J. Raith, for thinking “just too big” and having over-enthusiastic illusions about the growth of the Catholic population of Minot. Father Raith came to Minot in May, 1901, and remained here for forty years.
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church was organized in 1905, and of
particular note was the organization on May 20, 1906, of the Congregational
Church with a membership of twelve adults.
In 1906, there was no English-speaking church on the north side of Minot.
The “North Side School House” (McKinley) was the scene of
organization and a church for the people on the “wrong side of the tracks”
was the result. Growth was steady
if slow and on July 22, 1919, the lots on the southeast corner of Second Street
and Fifth Avenue Northwest were purchased from Peter and Francis Her for
$2,600.00. The congregation was 32
people when that church building was completed and Rev. J. M. Sutherland was one
of their early ministers. The
Church of the Nazarene denomination was organized in 1908 with the merger of
three smaller groups. The Minot
Church was chartered in November, 1912.
The Elks Lodge Number 1089 was chartered on July 12, 1908,
and their first home was established where the First National Bank building now
stands. The cornerstone was laid on
May 22, 1909, and L. J. Palda was elected the first Exalted Ruler.
The Palda family is the only Minot family to have had father, son, and
grandson serve as Exhalted Rulers. In
1919, the national American Legion was founded and by 1920 Minot had established
Wm. G. Carroll Post #26, which has seen continuous existence since.
The present Women’s Club was organized in 1905, and has been active
ever since. The establishment of
the new high school in 1916 brought with it new cultural exposures, especially
two which had permanent impact on Minot. One
was the high school band which quickly became the center of much of the city’s
musical energies. On January 8,
1919, a concert by Mme. Ernestine Schumann Heink dedicated the new high school
auditorium. C. P. Vandenoever
organized a high school baseball team in 1903 which played men’s teams in the
area. Minot had a full-salaried
outfit from 1903-1904 called “The Magicians”.
Minot and Berthold played a 20-inning encounter on August 27, 1916.
Minot pushed across 4 runs in its half of the 20th inning to
gain a 5-1 decision. Travel from town to town was by special train.
Minot joined the Northern League in 1917 competing against
Fargo-Moorhead, Winnipeg, and Warren, Minn.
The circuit collapsed on July 4 of that year, chiefly due to the
However, of all the new enterprises founded between 1900 and 1920, two especially made Minoters proud. The first was the Jacobson Opera House, built by Martin Jacobson, known as “The Hardware Man.” The Opera House had a capacity of 800 persons with a stage 30 feet by 50 feet, built at a cost of $30,000, and constructed by D. A. Dinnie, an early pioneer contractor. It was considered among the finest in all the Northwest at that time. The grand opening took place on January 5, 1903, and was attended by over 600 people with “The Count of Monte Cristo” presented by the Crows Imperial Stock Company. Box seats were auctioned off to the highest bidders, for which $55 was paid by J. J. Ryder and A. P. Slocum. A grand sum of $1,000 was taken in at the door for the grand opening. All sorts of town meetings, political rallies, dances, parties, school affairs, and other public events were presented at the Opera House, including the funeral for the first Minot fireman, who died on April 2, 1909, as a result of a fire in the Daily Optic Building.
On Thursday, April 18, 1907, a completely local production was presented with great success, written by lawyer Thomas B. Murphy (father of Paul Murphy and Grace Fisher) and newspaper publisher Sam H. Clark with music by C. D. Aaker and Roscoe Kernan. This “musical relish” bore the unlikely North Dakota name of “The Polynesian Pickle” and concerned a crew shipwrecked on the island of Polynesia. R. A. Nestos wrote to the Reporter that the play was “the best that has ever been presented by local talent and infinitely superior to 90 percent of the professional plays that ordinarily appear in the West.”
The Opera House occupied the third floor of the Jacobson Building with offices on the second floor, including the Post Office where Peter Fugelso was the Postmaster until 1906, and on the ground floor was Martin Jacobson’s famous hardware store. He had started his store in Minot in 1879 after becoming a successful rancher near Des Lacs. Peter Fugelso became bookkeeper in 1898, then left Jacobson’s employ to become Minot Postmaster in 1901, resigning to re-enter Jacobson’s service until Fugelso and D. R. (Doc) Jacobson, Martin’s nephew, purchased the store on January 1, 1907, to form a company that endured until recent times. When the Union National Bank was organized, it occupied one corner of the building. Martin Jacobson was the first Vice President of this bank, which eventually occupied the entire site after a fire of unknown origin destroyed the Jacobson Building on July 9, 1923. The old Union National Bank building at Main and Central is this location. Boris Karloff, later a famous motion picture star, appeared in 1915 and stayed for over a year with a stock company at the Opera House. J. Warren Bacon (Bacon’s Sign Company), then 11 years old, ran errands for the actor; Bacon’s father was manager of the Opera House. The Martin Jacobson home was a lavish place on Main Street, now housing the Thomas Funeral Home. A white barn stood behind the house on the present site of the Thomas Apartments. An editorial in the Minot Daily News said on the occasion of Martin Jacobson’s death: “A man of faith and energy who took life as he found it, and smiled.”
The other event of pleasing occurrence to most Minoters was the establishment of an institution of higher education in the city, long a desire of early citizens. They began to advocate this as early as 1898, but the project did not take definite form until 1907 when C. A. Johnson introduced a bill in the House of Representatives during the 10th Legislature to establish a normal school at Minot. This required an amendment to the state constitution and that provision required three successive legislatures to pass. Representatives Mark M. Chatfield and A. M. Thompson introduced the second and third bills; all the bills passed and the constitutional amendment went tot eh people for a vote at the general election in 1910, when it was overwhelmingly ratified. The original bill in the Senate for construction provided a $252,000 appropriation, which would make possible the construction of a main building, a girls’ dormitory, and a power house. After being pared down to $200,000, the bill passed both houses. One provision of the bill was that 60 acres of land were to be donated for the site of the school. This precipitated such a rush of offers that the matter was put to a popular vote in August, 1910, Erik Ramstad had donated 60 acres of land for the site, which would be near Ninth Avenue North. The resulting quarrel between the Northside and the Southside partisans had Minot in hot emotional battle for months, ending only in the August, 1911, public vote, which resulted in a victory for the northside choice. A group of citizens accompanied by a band carried Erik Ramstad decked out in a tall silk hat on their shoulders through the city.
Construction was begun in the fall of 1912 and the cornerstone of the Main building was laid July 25, 1913. Dr. A. G. Crane, who had been selected as the first president for the Normal School in 1912, gave the address. According to a widely accepted story, Dr. Crane had on the evening before stepped out in the middle of the night from his home and moved the stakes of the building 50 yards back toward the hills. He wanted to leave plenty of room for future expansion, plus the fact that he had had a disagreement with a member of the State Normal Board who wanted the main building nearer the street. Dr. Crane served as the president until 1920, although he left for wartime service in 1917 and 1918, with acting presidents serving in his absence.
The laying of the cornerstone brought a city-wide celebration with a parade, toasts, silk hats, and community singing. Governor L. B. Hanna wielded the gravel. Documents were placed in a sealed box in the cornerstone, including a copy of the original school bill, appropriations bill, copies of the Daily Optic, Daily Reporter, Ward County Independent-Democrat, and The Iconoclast (a Socialist Party paper published in Minot), and a history of the school.
The school did not open at its original scheduled time for two reasons; high winds of tornado proportions damaged the power plant, and frost damaged the footings of the building and forced the contractor to replace some of them. The City Armory had just been completed so it was leased for college space. The late Hazel McCulloch of the original faculty, serving until her retirement in 1959, said: “Take up thy chair and walk” was the order students received when going from assembly to classes that first year since a shortage of chairs made it necessary to carry chairs along.
September 30, 1913, was the first day for 50 students who registered to attend Minot Normal School. The first student is now agreed to be a “dear little blonde” named Harriet Christenson. The registration fee was $5 for the entire year. Room and board was $13 a month and board alone was $14 a month. In 1913 the school offered 45 subjects and its first teaching staff totaled eleven.
In April, 1914, the school moved to the Main Building, and
Pioneer Hall, dormitory for girls, opened.
Male students lived off campus. Eighty
students were registered. A period
of great expansion took place until 1917 and World War I.
Harrison School was purchased in 1915, new departments were added,
organizations of all sorts were begun, a summer school was inaugurated, and the
first annual (then called The Magician) was issued.
The school also established some sort of wartime record:
the students and staff raised one ton of squash from twenty cents worth
of seed, planted on campus.
Most of Minot’s doings were recorded by two daily newspapers, zealously, if not without bias. A series of colorful journalsitic men made their imprint in the period of 1900-1920 as the dailies changed both owners and names. The Ward County Reporter had begun as the Burlington Reporter but moved to Minot with a new name but the same owner, J. L. Colton, who then sold it to C. A. Johnson. Johnson himself sold the paper in 1897 but re-purchased it in 1912, with the paper under two separate ownerships in the interval – George W. Wilson from 1897 to 1976 and Sam H. Clark from 1906 to 1912. Both of these men were politically active, Clark being elected a Minot mayor; outspoken, and intensely interested in local affairs.
Meanwhile, the Minot Optic was founded by the
equally colorful, outspoken and politically active Marshall McClure and later
sold by him to H. A. Zimmerman, a “red-hot edutorialist” in constant
political hot water, according to A History of the Minot Daily News.
The paper passed through various crises until it was purchased by W. M.
Smart and published by him until May 1, 1914.
Smart is well known in Minot for his real estate, and hotel businesses,
and a long career in the House of Representatives.
On May 1, 1914, Johnson and Smart consolidated their papers as the Minot
Optic-Reporter, and on November 25, 1916, they changed the name to The
Minot Daily News. In 1920,
Norman B. Black, H. D. Paulson, and Hal S. Davies, all of The Fargo Forum,
purchased the News. Davies
was then general manager of the Forum and became the new publisher of the
News. It was the beginning of a long relationship between Davies
and the city. It is interesting to
note that The Minot Daily News made the observation in March, 1912, that
“The Fargo Forum has passed into better hands, and a cleaner sheet will
be the result.
Whatever its name, the newspaper was intensely interested in everything concerning Minot, as these random quotes indicate: “There are rumors afloat to the effect that the new Minot Normal School is to meet with strenuous opposition at the coming legislative session because of the fact that the Republican candidate for governor received so small a vote in Minot”; “There are but few men in Minot with business so urgent they need to run their autos at a speed exceeding the limit of eight miles per hour, as stated in the ordinance.”; “There are many pool halls and other places of business selling cigarettes in the Minot section and we aim to stop it.”; “The roads of North Dakota have been excellent for motoring all winter, and whiskey runners are still doing a flourishing business.”; “When Sheriff Ed Kelly heard a man blowing off steam and denouncing this city, he remarked: ‘Say, did you know that there are 16 trains leaving Minot every day’”; “St. Paul’s Lutheran Church is increasing the use of the English language in its services.”; “City Auditor Thompson announced that the Minot residents wishing their part of town to be electric-lighted should present their petition at once.”; “Minot police, cooperating with federal agents, launched a drive against opium dives in the city.”; “Lower prices and palatable quality have given moonshiners an advantage in their “war” with bootleggers who bring whiskey in from Canada.”; “An expense account of $50 is offered to any citizen who arrests a World War I “slacker” and takes him in custody to the nearest federal military post.”
The sort of local political donnybrook the editors loved broke out in 1917, (even though the papers were full of patriotic fervor and positive spirit). The immediate issue was a broken water main, which brought the papers, the city commission, and the citizenry to a political boil, and ultimately resulted in the resignation of the president of the City Commission, Walter S. Shaw. A special election to fill the post centered on this issue. Was the city negligent with regard to the broken main which resulted in water contamination? The News was anti-Shaw and was chastised in print by the opposition newspaper for supposedly refusing to publish a warning against the use of the bad water. In an editorial of April 3, 1917, the News proved that the fine art of pointed journalistic thrusts had not passed: “When the bastard, mongrel, and scurrilous publication, whose publishers and editors are afraid to have their identity known seeks to place a stigma upon the integrity and newspaper honor of the Daily News, there will be no mincing of words in refutation…” Shaw was re-elected but was defeated in 1921 by W. M. Smart by a 17-vote margin.
Adding to the political turmoil and the general excitement was the fact that Minot was the state headquarters of the Socialist Party, and the years 1912-1016 were the years of greatest activity in North Dakota. Henry Martinson came to Minot as organizer for the Party and attributed the Socialist Movement in the city to the influx of Scandinavians and Germans, who had witnessed mid socialism in their native countries. Mr. Martinson died in late 1981 at the good age of 97. In the Minot membership a spirit developed between the left and right wings of the Party that would lead to its demise and the emergence of the Non-Partisan League in 1916. The outbreak of World War I (to which the Socialists were opposed) gave the final shove to the decline of the Party’s strength of 1912-1916.
The Socialist Party’s official newspaper, The Iconoclast, was published at Minot with Henry Teigan as editor. The Minot chapter in 1914 obtained a lease on a meeting hall located above a bank; they also had a Socialist Park called officially Dorman Park in honor of Dewey Dorman, on whose land it was situated, on the banks of the Mouse River. The year 1914 may well have been the high-water mark of the Socialist Party in Minot, including a visit from Eugene V. Debs, the national leader. On February 1-3, the state convention was held in the city instead of in Fargo. Henry Martinson in his memoirs wrote: “The good people of Minot were a little more careful to lock their doors when the delegates began to arrive for the big event.” Also that year on the local level, Arthur Le Suer, a Minot lawyer and a card-carrying Socialist, was elected Mayor of Minot; several councilmen were also Party members. They began a clean-up of the city which was so ambitious it resulted in Le Suer’s recall. Martinson contends that the “good people” objected to the raiding of the swank hotels.
Another serious complication for the Socialists came with the arrival of the I. W. W. (International Workers of the World also known as the “Wobblies”) who set up headquarters across the street from the Salvation Army. The latter urged the police to do something about the bawdy songs and speeches while the I. W. W. stood steadfast for the right to free speech. The Iconoclast took the opposite stand from The Optic. Socialists disclaimed any connection with the I. W. W. but felt the issue was free speech, while the mainliner charge was of blocking the streets. Later the Socialists entered actively into the fray with the result that both the Socialists and the Wobblies were hauled off the soapbox to jail; however, the Wobblies were enclosed in a bull pen outside the jail while such as Le Suer and Dorman (then Commissioner of Streets) were inside. The whole issue, which had taken on crisis proportions, was largely settled with some of the offenders going to jail and others (especially Wobblies) were run out of town. Le Suer and Dorman themselves received fines of $25.
The last Socialist state convention was held in Minot in 1915 and The Iconoclast ceased publication that year. For Minot the Socialists numbered only a handful of old regulars (“Leftists” who did not join the Non-Partisan League) and they stayed largely quiet until after 1920 when they revived in a new era.
Many of the threads comprising Minot’s complex living pattern came together in a bizarre episode and also indicated the lively tone Minot would take in the 1920’s. Most Sunday’s were quiet but not on May 7, 1917, because William “Wild Bill” Langer seized the phone office at gunpoint in a vice raid. Langer was 31 years old at the time and had been elected North Dakota Attorney-General in 1916 as a Non-Partisan Leaguer. Famous for strict enforcement of existing laws ever since his early days as States Attorney of Morton County at Mandan, Langer had long been eyeing Minot’s vice picture. He claimed that he organized and conducted this raid at the request of Ward County States Attorney O. B. Herigstad, who had told him local authorities were unable to cope with the continuing vice problems. Some shocked and indignant Minoters retorted Langer was seeking personal publicity and that the Non-Partisan League was attempting to ruin the reputation of W. S. Shaw, President of the City Commission and former police commissioner.
Whatever the reason, the raid involved many Minot lawyers and seems today to be almost hilarious Keystone Kops material, with armed men at one point nose-to-nose beside a telephone switchboard. Langer had done his homework well, preparing for the night assault on known houses of prostitution, drinking, and gambling. His intentions were well-concealed and the raid came as a complete surprise. The county sheriff and 40 deputes carried out the action, including many men who were deputized on the spot, which in turn upset a number of wives who “waited in suspense during the night.” The raid was coordinated for 11 p.m. with Langer’s first thrust at the telephone company (Langer had long suspected that the vital leak which made previous raid unsuccessful had come from the central switchboard). The deputies, with guns drawn, ordered operators away from the switchboard and for the next 53 minutes not a phone rang in Minot. We are indebted for a complete coverage of all the events to The Minot Daily News who recorded it all with zest. The next day The News reported: “Promptly on the minute the raid began and for an hour there was more excitement in the city than there was when the Battle of Arras was at its height.” Judge A. B. Dill sat throughout the night, setting bail for those with money. In all, 53 individuals were charged with bootlegging, keeping and maintaining a common nuisance, prostitution, gambling, or lesser misdemeanors.
Meanwhile, back at the telephone office, things were proceeding as planned, until F. J. McGuire tried to make a call and found the system out-of-order. He happened to be the manager of the company and rushed to the office ordering the deputies out and operators back to work. Neither demand was met and McGuire left to return with the company’s legal representative, L. J. Palda. Palda breezed in and attempted to make a call of his own to the judge but the deputies ordered him to turn around. He did, but according to published reports, with a pistol aimed at the deputies. After an exchange of words, McGuire and Palda left and recruited a group of gun-toting volunteers and returned. The locals “quickly put the deputies… on the run.”
Charges, counter-charges, warrants for arrest for obstructing telephone communication, assault with a firearm with intent to kill (Palda) and a variety of assorted charges on both sides flew thick and fast. In the words of the News: “While little permanent good came of the raid, it did afford an opportunity for the practice of political oratory.” For month later, Governor Lynn J. Frazier suspended Shaw as President of the City Commission, charging that he permitted liquor to be sold, gambling to be done, and bawdy houses to exist. City Attorney G. S. Wooledge said the governor had no such power and called a hearing. As the hearing began, Shaw submitted his resignation. Shaw, however, ran for re-election and defeated James Johnson. All of these shenanigans did nothing to stop the illegal activities or call a halt to popular airing of local concerns.
World War I, fought simultaneously with these affairs, seemed to be a quiet and almost dignified period in comparison. But the end of the war also released much of this feeling. The years of 1900-1920 had been busy, thriving, and energetic years, setting the stage and the pace for the next turbulent period in Minot’s history, 1920-1935.