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THAT REMINDS ME: 1940: 'Batter up!', amid distant rumbles from Europe

There was joy and there was sorrow 75 years ago in Grand Forks. Pages of the Herald in May 1940 reflect excitement over the new season for the Chiefs baseball team and the annual state marble tournament in Grand Forks.

Marilyn Hagerty

There was joy and there was sorrow 75 years ago in Grand Forks. Pages of the Herald in May 1940 reflect excitement over the new season for the Chiefs baseball team and the annual state marble tournament in Grand Forks.

At the same time, there was concern over the news from abroad, as the German troops were marching across France.

A preliminary count showed the Grand Forks city population to be 19,878 - a 15 percent increase over 1930, when Grand Forks had 17,162 citizens. The population of Devils Lake was 5,902. And Grafton, N.D., counted 3,042.

Herberger's department store was running big ads in the Herald. Other downtown stores were Dotty Dunn, C.H. Opsahl, Blacksmith Shop with women's wear and Friedman Furs.

Bray's was a leading women's shop, and Rudh Bros. Furniture Store was a fixture in East Grand Forks.

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As the summer of 1940 approached, Grand Forks County Agent William Page announced an all-out war on grasshoppers. Crews of WPA (Work Progress Administration) workers were to mix poison for four stations.

And there also was an all-out war on crows. A bounty of 10 cents a pair on crows' feet was to be made again in 1940 by Grand Forks County. The feet were to be left at the Club Cigar Store downtown at Fourth Street and DeMers Avenue.

And it was reported the Sportsmen's League was planning to arrange a crow hunt.

Building permits for 18 new residences in Grand Forks were issued in April 1940.

A total of 5,700 new telephone directories were distributed in Grand Forks by Northwestern Bell. The listing included 63 Johnsons, 40 Andersons, 39 Olsons, 15 Petersons and 18 families named Smith.

The estate of John Myra, who died July 28, 1939, was appraised at more than $355,000. Myra had become one of Grand Forks County's largest land holders and had acquired 15,000 acres.

Carroll Day was the attorney in charge of the estate, which continuesl to benefit charitable causes in Grand Forks County to this day.

Other news during May 1940:

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โ–‡ Grand Forks had 210 students graduating from Central High School.

โ–‡ At UND, there were 249 seniors eligible for degrees in June.

โ–‡ The Sioux defeated Winnipeg's Blue Bombers 20-19 in a baseball game at Memorial Stadium.

โ–‡ The Grand Forks Chiefs crushed Eau Claire 14-7 at the end of the month to regain first place in the Northern League. Fred Williams was the team manager, and Joe Holte was president of the association.

When they began their season in May, a Herald editorial said Manager Williams and his band of "Fighting Chiefs" deserved support.

โ–‡ The Grand Forks Park Board was planting 325 elm trees on berms around the city. The planting would be done by the WPA, Mrs. M.B. Kannowski, park superintendent, announced.

The purpose was to beautify the city with a uniform appearance of the streets, Kannowski said.

โ–‡ Construction crews were finishing up work on "streamlined'' Highway 2. It was reported to be the most streamlined and safest highway - a most modern thoroughfare.

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