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Edith Blinsmon: Resident led the charge to save Riverside Manor

A proposal after the flood 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.

Edith Blinsmon led the fight to prevent the demolition of Riverside Manor along the Red River near the Kennedy Bridge. The historic building was saved, and a floodwall was built to protect the neighborhood. (Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald)
Edith Blinsmon led the fight to prevent the demolition of Riverside Manor along the Red River near the Kennedy Bridge. The historic building was saved, and a floodwall was built to protect the neighborhood. (Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald)

A proposal after the flood 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.

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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.

- Wade Rupard

Related Topics: 1997 FLOOD
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