THAT REMINDS ME: 1962's Sunday sales controversy

John Patrick Flaherty was the first baby born in Grand Forks 50 years ago in 1962. He won the Herald's First Baby Contest and prizes from sponsoring businesses. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Flaherty, 314 1/2 Second Ave. N.

John Patrick Flaherty was the first baby born in Grand Forks 50 years ago in 1962. He won the Herald's First Baby Contest and prizes from sponsoring businesses. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Flaherty, 314½ Second Ave. N.

Among the gifts for the first baby were an infant seat from Vold Drug Store and a first baby portrait from Lee-Evanson Studio.

Early in the new year of 1962, the City Council took action on the controversial Sunday sales and gas franchises ordinance. There had been a city ban on Sunday selling of any merchandise except special commodities. And it was lifted when the aldermen adopted an ordinance repealing the municipal regulation than had been in effect for many years.

Voting to repeal the ordinance were H.E. Sondres, Clarence Sage, R.R. Smith, Virginia Rose, Gordon Obie, H.H. Magnuson, Lloyd Hillier, Myron Molstad and J.H. Endres. Those voting against the repeal were M.A. Hoghaug, Oscar Norby, Eugene Lavoy and F.C. Bundlie.

The new ordinance was patterned after the state law. And it took eight votes for repeal of the old ordinance.


Then, as now, change is always with us. And it was announced in the Herald that the O'Connor Building at the corner of DeMers Avenue and South Third Street would be torn down as soon as the weather permitted. The building had been sold from the estate of J.F.T. O'Connor, former federal Comptroller of Currency under President F.D. Roosevelt and later a federal judge in California.

The building's oldest tenant was C.F. Peterson, former law partner of O'Connor.

With the new year of 1962, a long time gas war was ending here in Grand Forks. It had been going on for five months. Prices generally were 22 cents or 23 cents for regular and 26 cents or 27 cents for premium at the major brand stations -- and only a few cents lower at independent gas stations. Per gallon prices had been 8 cents to 10 cents below that level since Aug. 28, 1961.

The Grand Forks Public Library was also in the news with its new bookmobile. Librarian Mary Margaret Frank said the unit had room for 320 books. In the previous April, a record 9,000 books were issued from the unit. It had shelves for childrens and adult books.

In January 1962, vandals entered the downtown library through an unlocked window. They ransacked the interior of the building, tossing books and card indexes on the floor and spraying liquid from the fire extinguisher around the place.

Along with January clearance sales 50 years ago, there were wrestling matches at the Grand Forks Armory. One bout featured lady wrestlers Millie Stafford and Annette Palmer. It had a time limit of 45 minutes. The special bout was between Ben Blunt of Grand Forks and Joe Snyder of Park River, N.D.

Other names in the news in Grand Forks 50 years ago:

- Walter Branvold was elected president of Grand Forks Builders and Traders Exchange in a meeting at the Golden Hour Cafe. He succeeded George Gardner.


- Mrs. O. Lewis Ugland was president of the Women's Curling Club with 60 members.

- Rev. Carl E. Osland, St. Mark's Lutheran Church for the past 11 years, resigned to accept the pastorate at Albert Lea, Minn.

- William Micklin was elected potentate of the Shrine at the Masonic Temple. He succeeded Walter Kaloupek.

- Dr. Ralph E. Leigh was named chief of staff at St. Michael's Hospital. He was a graduate of UND and the University of Minnesota. Other new officers were Dr. Frank Hill, Dr. Kenneth Helenbolt and Dr. Walter Dailey.

- State Senator George Longmire of Grand Forks issued a statement blaming Democratic Governor William Guy for "failure to support the lignite group in its quest for a federal loan to build a generating plant in central North Dakota."

Longmire was also in the news when it was reported that the Senator had backing here for the Republican endorsement for governor.

Reach Marilyn Hagerty at or at (701) 772-1055.

Related Topics: HISTORY
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