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THAT REMINDS ME: Nonpartisan League bloomed in '32

The Nonpartisan League was at the height of its power in North Dakota in the summer of 1932. The league swept the primary elections in North Dakota, winning all offices over other candidates on the Republican ticket.

The Nonpartisan League was at the height of its power in North Dakota in the summer of 1932. The league swept the primary elections in North Dakota, winning all offices over other candidates on the Republican ticket.

Gerald Nye had a 50,000-vote margin in his bid to return to Congress, and William Langer had a 20,000-vote margin in his bid to run for governor.

"Only the fall elections stand in the way of complete dominance for the League," the Herald said in July 1932. "In the past, success in the primaries has been tantamount to election." The overwhelming victory of Nye over Gov. George Shafer was called one of the greatest election upsets in the history of North Dakota.

In spite of the Depression and heat across the land, there was a lot of activity around Grand Forks 75 years ago:

-- North Dakota's Greatest State Fair opened here on June 18, 1932, and ran for a week. Record crowds were lured by the free admission, but temperatures of 100 for three days running began to cut into the attendance. Bands from Hillsboro, N.D., and Erskine, Minn., won awards.


-- The new Forx Theatre on North Fourth Street had a formal opening July 15, 1932. It had a canopy with neon flashes to illuminate the main entrance where there were constrasting Vitrolites of intensive color in the foyer. Vitrolite was a special tile made of pigmented plate glass.

The theatre had a seating capacity of 600. The first movie shown at the Forx earlier in July was "Broadminded" starring Joe E. Brown. Matinees cost 5 cents and 10 cents. Evening rates were 10 cents and 20 cents.

-- -- --

Money was scarce 75 years ago. The cry to cut taxes was heard across North Dakota. A taxpayer association in Grand Forks requested a hearing before the City Commission. President W.H. Alexander of the taxpayer group asked for a 30 percent pay cut for city employees and elimination of some jobs.

The city eventually cut salaries by 10 percent and cut the budget to $352,980. The school system was facing a $77,000 budget slash, which would mean salary cuts or reduction in the number of teachers. The Park District budget was skimmed from $44,150 to $34,150.

U.S. Rep. O.B. Burtness of North Dakota told people here that there were new laws aiming to end the Depression and a feeling that there were signs showing improvement.

Meanwhile, several farmers were reporting entire fields virtually destroyed by grasshoppers. Samples of damaged flax, sweet clover and other crops damaged by the hoppers were brought in to the office of county agent William Page. However, the "green bugs" were the only serious menace to crops that year.

-- -- --


On the bright side 75 years ago:

-- Yo-yo contests were popular in 1932. They had one at the annual Fourth of July community picnic in East Grand Forks, and the Herald held a yo-yo contest in Riverside, Central Park and East Grand Forks.

-- Chicago Grand Opera stars presented "Barber of Seville" at UND.

-- Ten Sons of Norway lodges held a picnic at Stump Lake.

-- The Turkey Hen Club held its annual picnic in Riverside Park for Northwest Turkey Raisers.

-- Roy Bridgeman, president of the Grand Forks Country Club, made brief remarks at the opening of the nine-hole golf course south of East Grand Forks on the Red Lake River.

-- Grand Forks American Legion Drum & Bugle Corps won its fifth successive state championship in competition at Devils Lake. Fargo came in second.

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