THAT REMINDS ME: Fire claimed St. Michael's Church 100 years ago
On the first day of September 1907, the Herald carried a front page banner headline saying: "St. Michael's Catholic Church totally destroyed by fire."...
On the first day of September 1907, the Herald carried a front page banner headline saying: "St. Michael's Catholic Church totally destroyed by fire."
The residence of the Rev. E.J. Conaty had been in danger but was saved by firefighters, the Herald also reported. It was announced that the service of Mass would be held on the day after the fire in the Jack roller rink at University Avenue and Fourth Street.
The fire was discovered shortly after midnight when flames were shooting from the roof. The fire was fanned by the wind, and the big building was a mass of flames. The church was covered by only $10,000 to $20,000 insurance to cover the $40,000 loss, it was reported. Hundreds of people gathered from all over the city to express regret over the loss of the church, which had been built here in 1883.
The church had been damaged in a tornado 19 years earlier and rebuilt on a more elaborate scale.
Soon after the fire, plans were made to replace the church with the finest cathedral in the state because the building that burned was too small to accommodate the congregation.
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Other big news 100 years ago was that the Red River line of steamers established by J.J. Hill of the Great Northern Railway had passed into possession of C.S. Wallace of Grand Forks. He bid $20,213.22 at the mortgage sale. The property consisted of the steamers Grand Forks and Fram and several wheat elevators and barges along the Red River.
"It is said that the Soo was after the line," the Herald reported. "Had the Soo secured it, the grain would have been diverted to Soo City (cq) for shipment, and Grand Forks would no longer be the terminal point.
"The Great Northern has secured grain shipments from up and down the river to this time. The Grand Forks and Fram are all that is left of several vessels that used to ply the Red River from Grand Forks to Winnipeg. The list included the Alsop, Selkirk, International and Pluck. The Hill interests operated the line until about five years ago when it was sold to East Grand Forks capitalists. Two years ago, McGuire & Atwood purchased the vessels.
"The Fram was built by Dr. Fawcett, who operated it for a while and finally sold it to East Grand Forks Transportation Co. The line has not been a great success of late. Wallace, who purchased the steamer line, has been in Grand Forks quite a while in the St. John's Block, where he looks after the interests of the transportation company.
"Transfer of the Red River line of steamboats to Wallace is vastly significant," the Herald said. "It means Grand Forks will have the benefit of railroad competition for the first time in years. The new company plans to run steamboats on a regular schedule. New steel barges will be added to the fleet."
Note: Soo City was a point on the Minnesota side of the Red River and near Granville.
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Other news items from September 1907:
-- J.F.T. O'Connor lauded labor unions in a stirring address during the first Labor Day celebration in Grand Forks. He said the unions have a "civilizing" effect. The day was considered a big success with thousands watching a fine parade.
-- An ordinance granting Northwestern Interurban Railway Co. a franchise for building and operating a streetcar in Grand Forks was introduced in the City Council by Alderman Carothers.
The company was organized for the purpose of construction of a line between Grand Forks and Carrington, N.D. The local proposal was for lines to the north city limits down Third Street to DeMers Avenue and to Fifth Street and south to Chestnut Street and on to 10th Avenue near Grand Forks College. Another line extended on Alpha to Seventh Street and to the university.
-- Prospects were reported as being "never brighter" for a banner year at "North Dakota University." The Herald said, "The last year was considered the most successful in the history of the school. More interest is being manifested through North Dakota and western Minnesota than ever before. A total of 854 were enrolled the previous year representing 12 states and 35 countries." The 1907-08 enrollment was expected to be near the 1,000 mark.
-- East Grand Forks was to have a new candy factory that would be managed by F.N. Black of Grand Forks. The factory would go on the Minnesota Point with plans to fill local and outside trade.