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THAT REMINDS ME: Suffragettes hold rally 100 years ago

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opinion Grand Forks,North Dakota 58203
Grand Forks Herald
THAT REMINDS ME: Suffragettes hold rally 100 years ago
Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

North Dakota had been a state for 25 years, and Grand Forks was flourishing 100 years ago.

Then, as now, the Grand Forks Fair was under way. And there had been what the Herald called “seven glorious days of Chautauqua” from June 8-14 of 1914.


Before that, the Grand Forks Oratorio Society on June 4- 5 presented the Minneapolis Symphony. There were four concerts in the Grand Forks Auditorium featuring 55 artists.

And a “Pageant of the Northwest” was held at the English Coulee bankside theater at UND before the end of classes. More than 300 students and a group of Chippewa Indians from the Turtle Mountain Reservation took part.

While the Grand Forks County Courthouse had been largely built a year earlier, it wasn’t finished until 1914.

The dome was being completed late in May, the Herald reported. The county solons had authorized $11,000, but it was believed this “tidy sum” would add beauty to the building.

“The strong iron beams that support the dome are of finest quality steel, and the marble slabs that cover it are being put in place by skilled labor,” according to the newspaper.

Interior work was going on at a steady pace by June 1914. Plaster was molded and cemented into place over wall surfaces.

The ground floor originally housed the county superintendent of schools, surveyor offices and janitor and private rooms. And there was to be a farmer restroom for those who were coming in to transact county affairs.

“When completed,” the Herald said, “the Grand Forks County Courthouse will be one of the most beautiful and best in the Northwest.”

Headlines 100 years ago:

  •  “University swamps Aggies in dual track meet in Fargo.”
  •  “Flickertails whip Winona in 13-3 style.”
  •  “Grand Forks Stars have baseball games lined up at Oslo and Hatton.”

Then, as now, there were movies. Those playing at the Met were “The Treasure of Devil’s Vale” and “Zingo — the Son of the Sea.”

There was a complete redecoration of the Grand Theater. New owner A.J. Kavanaugh was said to have one of the finest vaudeville houses in the Northwest.

It had a new Simplex moving picture machine with 2,000 magazines. And it was all absolutely fireproof. A new spotlight was added along with a fireproof booth.

“Mr. Kavanaugh spent several thousand dollars and has made the theater one of the finest this side of Chicago,” the Herald reported.

George Duis became the ninth postmaster of Grand Forks in May 1914. Others who had served since the beginning of Grand Forks were D. McDonald, D.F. McLauren, J.P. Bray, Willis Joy, William Budge, Mrs. William Budge and F.E. Kent.

Businesses in Grand Forks in 1914 included Norman’s Furniture. Citizens could get hats blocked or cleaned by S. Friedman or at Hotel Dacotah. Women could find corset fitting at 711 S. Fourth St. And Geo. A. Swendimen, dentist, was offering painless extractions.

In other news during June 1914:

  •  Mrs. Sheppard, president of the WCTU (Women’s Christian Temperance Union) in Utah, spoke to two large audiences in Grand Forks. The subject was women’s suffrage. She spoke from a car in front of the Dacotah Hotel, and she drew a large audience.

Ninety-five percent of the crowd were women, the Herald reported. The newspaper also said the speaker was not militant, not antagonistic and not ignorant.

The Herald of 100 years ago minced no words. One headline: “Wife Becomes Raving Maniac — Taken to Jamestown yesterday.”

There sometimes were streetcar crashes. Late in June 1914, two street cars carrying a full load of women and children collided.

The accident was on the regular university line. “The women and children were given a fright,” according to the story.

“None were injured, but the car was vacated in brief intervals, and there was considerable confusion. Slight damage only was done to the car.”