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That Reminds Me: Housing shortage dogged GF in '58

Grand Forks was faced with a critical housing shortage 50 years ago. In February 1958, there was a big military buildup at Grand Forks Air Force Base. The Chamber of Commerce and Grand Forks Board of Realtors were helping people find apartments a...

Grand Forks was faced with a critical housing shortage 50 years ago. In February 1958, there was a big military buildup at Grand Forks Air Force Base. The Chamber of Commerce and Grand Forks Board of Realtors were helping people find apartments and houses, the Herald reported. The base was facing an influx of 625 Air Force personnel and 200 civilian workers before the end of June.

Around Grand Forks, talk centered on whether the Elks Club should be granted a club liquor and beer license for the proposed clubhouse south of the golf course at Lincoln Park. The issue was before the City Council, and the Herald's front-page banner headline on Feb. 6 read, "Elks Win Fight; Get License for Proposed $500,000 Clubhouse."

It was also 50 years ago this month that UND received a million dollars from Chester Fritz to build a new library. Fritz had earlier contributed more than $100,000 in scholarships. The gift was said to be the largest in the state history, and UND President George Starcher said it was the greatest thing to happen during the 75th year of the institution.

Fritz was born in Buxton, N.D., and attended a one-room school in Traill County for his early education. He graduated from high school in Lidgerwood, N.D., in 1908.

After attending UND for two years, he graduated from the University of Washington. He was an investment banker doing business in the Orient. He lived in Italy, but it was said that he and his wife considered North Dakota their home.

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In other news during February 1958, the enrollment at UND reached 3,433. . . . "Peyton Place" was held over at the Empire Theatre, and Marlon Brando was starring in "Sayonara" . . . The Women's Curling Club hosted 13 rinks for the bonspiel held at the rink in Grand Forks County fairgrounds . . . And Newsman Eric Sevareid, a native of Velva, N.D., spoke at Founder's Day during the 75th anniversary of UND.

-- -- --

In area news:

-- The people of Park River, N.D., declared a Bing Larson night at a UND basketball game. They came in a caravan to see their hometown boy in the game, since Bing was co-captain of the team along with Gene Afseth. Larson's wife, Rae Ann, was among the Sioux fans at the game.

-- Near Grafton, North Dakota's oldest twin brothers - John and Joseph Rutherford - marked their 83rd birthday by sawing wood on their adjoining farms in the Nash vicinity.

-- In Warroad, Minn., the triplet children of Mr. and Mrs. Glen Phillipe were one year old on Feb. 14, 1958. Jeffrey, Joyce and Jerome had their celebration cancelled when Jeffrey needed medical attention after swallowing an open safety pin. He was taken care of by a physician in Crookston.

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Names in the news 50 years ago:

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-- Lt. Colonel E.E. Binford, new commanding officer at Grand Forks Air Force Base, set up his office in the base readiness building.

-- Mrs. Hugh Robertson was named president of the YWCA board of directors.

-- Rev. H.R. Harrington, rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, announced he would be retiring in July after 28 years of service.

-- Joan Erickson, Crookston, was named queen of the annual King Kold Karnival at UND. Her attendants were Beverly Olson, Roseau, Minn., and Gail Waldon, Moorhead, Minn.

-- Gordon Caldis was selected Grand Forks County director of the Greater North Dakota Association, succeeding James T. Rice. Caldis was immediate past president of the Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce.

-- Dr. Louis Geiger chronicled the first 75 years of UND history in his book, "University of the Northern Plains."

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