MARILYN HAGERTY'S THAT REMINDS ME: Bad years of ’34-’36 didn’t dampen ’37There was an optimistic feeling about the new year in Grand Forks when January rolled around in 1937. This was true even though drought had destroyed the crops in 1934, rust had ruined them in 1935, and the drought had returned in 1936.
By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
There was an optimistic feeling about the new year in Grand Forks when January rolled around in 1937. This was true even though drought had destroyed the crops in 1934, rust had ruined them in 1935, and the drought had returned in 1936.
The drought of 1936 was called the worst in the history of the state. The Works Progress Administration program paid out $11 million in North Dakota that year. Aid went to 46,000 North Dakota farm families because of drought, crop failures and grasshoppers.
Still, there was optimism. Roger Babson, renowned entrepreneur, was seeing 1937 as the first real year of prosperity since the disastrous stock market year of 1929. Building permits in Grand Forks in 1936 had hit an eight-year high — the best since $1,186,000 in 1928.
Three large projects here included the Winter Sports Building at UND and the digging of a railroad underpass in Grand Forks.
The 14th annual All-American Turkey show here was a highlight of January 1937. Snow-white turkey aristocrats bred by Henry Domes in Oregon brought the Pacific Coast competitor the most prizes.
A White Holland tom turkey raised by Domes in Rickreall, Ore., was declared the grand champion of the show. He also was declared the exposition’s master breeder.
The champion bird was to be sent to President Franklin Roosevelt. C. Dyke Page, president, and all of the other officers of the association were reelected.
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Central High School was getting a new look 75 years ago — as it is today. A $250,000 face lift was nearing completion. The three city grade schools — Wilder, Winship and Belmont — had been completed during the summer.
The main improvement was nearly completed at Central, according to Superintendnet Elroy Schroeder. The auditorium was built with assistance of Public Works Administration grants. It had 1,600 seats on a slanted floor.
School enrollment was 3,561, down from 3,578 the previous year.
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Books, movies and dances were entertainment 75 years ago. Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind” continued to be the most popular book at the Grand Forks City Library.
James Withers was starring in “Paddy O’Day” at the Forx Theatre 75 years ago. Tickets were 10 cents and 15 cents.
A half-page ad in the Herald announced Gary Cooper in Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Plainsman” was coming to the Dakota Theatre. The extra attraction would be a Betty Boop cartoon.
There was dancing at the States Ballroom to Bert Christianson and his 11-piece orchestra and to Bill Lee and his Swing Band at the Eagles Club.
** More than 450 Greater Grand Forks couples attended the President’s Ball in the States Theatre at the end of January. They paused at 10:35 p.m. to hear the president’s broadcast.
Proceeds from the event were to help infantile paralysis sufferers (which included President Franklin D. Roosevelt.)