Flood of 1997: Edith Blinsmon credited with saving Riverside Manor in Grand Forks from wrecking ball
GRAND FORKS — A proposal after the flood of 1997 would have put Grand Forks' Riverside Manor on the wet side of the dike, which would have led to its demolition and forced out the dozens of elderly and disabled residents who call it home.
But one resident, Edith Blinsmon, was determined to keep the building standing.
"I don't know if I played any part in keeping it, but I'd like to think I did," she said.
Riverside Manor was in the path of a levee under construction. Without realignment, the building would have needed to be torn down to make way for the clay dike system.
Riverside Manor is on the National Register of Historic Places. Originally built in 1907 as St. Michael's Hospital, the building features Classical Revival architecture. The St. Michael's Nurses' Residence was added in 1913.
In the days of flood recovery, residents of Riverside Manor signed a petition to express their desire to stay in their homes, and Blinsmon also wrote a letter to city officials.
Eventually, the city decided to build the dike behind the building, sparing the unique building and its residents.
The building's interior was updated in the early 1990s, and more recently, new windows were added and it underwent an exterior paint job. Dozens of people call it home yet today.