THAT REMINDS ME WITH MARILYN HAGERTY: Cold War made Grand Forks simmer 50 years agoHere in Grand Forks, some people were building bomb shelters in their basements. A few people talked about it. Others built bomb shelters and called them recreation areas.
By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
The fear of Soviet nuclear bombings hung heavily over the land 50 years ago.
Here in Grand Forks, some people were building bomb shelters in their basements. A few people talked about it. Others built bomb shelters and called them recreation areas.
The Herald carried a story, as follows:
“A 25,000-pound concrete enclosure in North Dakota is a must for fruit and vegetable storage in the basement. It could also be a mighty handy item in case of nuclear war — an event no longer as unthinkable as it used to be.
“Henry (Hank) Wynne and Alton (Al) Baglien hope the shelters they are building in their homes need only to be fruit cellars, but they are going to be ready for the other eventuality.
“Wynne and his wife and daughter live at 1015 13th Ave. S., and Baglien and his wife and two children live just two houses away at 1007 13th Ave. S.
“The two men have been collaborating in the construction of the fallout shelters, although Wynne started first a couple weeks ago. Both are near completion of basic structures. Furnishings and provisions can be added later.
“In their neighborhood, Wynne and Baglien have started a movement, and others are likely to be constructed.
“This is not the only area where shelters have been built in the city. Wynne and Baglien, however, are not keeping it a secret. There are shelters in some homes camouflaged as recreation areas.
“Wynne and his wife had some questions before building or fear they would seem a ‘little crazy.’ But when they started, they found many people were interested.
“Wynne said according to national defense policy, there should be a shelter in every home. He predicted a lot more activity.”
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Headlines 50 years ago show why people were concerned. Here is a sampling from the Herald in October of 1961:
** Soviets fire giant bomb — explosions recorded abroad
** Bomb protests spreading; non-Reds shocked by blast
** Biggest rocket launched — US test hailed as success
** World angered at blast; anti-Red protests spreading
Air Force Col. Lucien Powell told the Grand Forks Kiwanis Club meeting in the Ryan Hotel that the Strategic Air Command unit at Grand Forks Air Force Base would have about 1,700 personnel. The present strength was about 600 officers and men. Additional crews would be arriving in January.
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Fifty years ago, Chester Fritz returned to the UND campus for the dedication of the $1 million library bearing his name. He toured the building with UND President George Starcher. He also planned to greet students in the homecoming parade.
Fritz was an international investment banker and former UND student. He was born in Buxton, N.D., and called his gift of a library a “partial payment” to UND.
North Dakota Gov. William Guy was pictured saying, “Thanks a million” for the library.
And the frosting on the cake came when the UND Sioux football team edged the Jacks from South Dakota State, 14-13.
Then there was a headline in the Herald on Oct. 22 saying, “Sioux whip Bison 26-6 for fourth NCC victory — cop ninth in a row from N.D. State.”
The Panthers from Iowa State College handed the Sioux their first conference defeat, 25-0.
The new Schroeder School opened on Oct. 9, but Superintendent Richard Barnhart said some parts of the school still were being completed.