After decades of donations Bonanzaville has run out of space
WEST FARGO, N.D. - For decades, relics of North Dakota's past have found their way to Bonanzaville. Pianos, guns, sewing machines, Victrolas, military uniforms, books, furniture, stained-glass windows and just about anything else your great-grand...
WEST FARGO, N.D. – For decades, relics of North Dakota’s past have found their way to Bonanzaville.
Pianos, guns, sewing machines, Victrolas, military uniforms, books, furniture, stained-glass windows and just about anything else your great-grandparents may have had in the attic has been donated to this historic village near the Red River Valley Fairgrounds.
So much has accumulated over the years that Bonanzaville has run out of storage space, said Executive Director Brenda Warren.
To make room and to raise money, Bonanzaville will conduct an auction on site from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 11. The sale list includes a payloader, two 1940s fire trucks, six collectible cars and a slew of antique guns.
“There is a lot of stuff here,” Warren said Thursday as she stood in a vast pole barn that had recently been filled to the rafters with donated items. “From A to Z, we got it.”
Starting last week, Warren and assistant curator Tessa Wakefield began the onerous job of sorting through the treasure and junk.
“It’s kind of intimidating,” Wakefield said. “You just have to start somewhere and just start to lump things, like similar items, together and then go from there.”
Broken, moldy or moth-eaten things – enough to fill a dumpster three times – were tossed, and historically significant objects were kept. The items that are being sold are ones that Bonanzaville has duplicates of, or they’re too large to store, or they don’t have historic value, Warren said.
No American Indian artifacts are being auctioned and likewise for items from the Sveum family of Enderlin, which donated their collections with the stipulation that they not be sold, Warren said. In other cases, donors sign a form allowing Bonanzaville to do what it sees fit with the donation, she said.
An advertisement said the auction will raise funds to replace the Bonanzaville church that was demolished after a fire severely damaged it in July. But Warren said most of the money from the auction will go toward Bonanzaville’s operating costs. The auctioneer has estimated the sales will yield at least $35,000.
Warren said pews, pictures and altar rails salvaged from the church will be auctioned, and that money, along with the proceeds of other fundraisers, will help pay to bring a new church from Christine. “It’s almost identical to the church that we lost,” she said.
On the web: For more information about the Oct. 11 auction, visit www.farmauctionguide.com and search for “Bonanzaville.”