Picture from The Tumbleweed 1940, pg. 20                                           Researcher- Linda Oster

The 1938-1939 Conference Basketball Champs, the Dakota Wesleyan University Team.
Top L to R: Coach Belding, Lester Greener, Carl Johnson, Glen Draisey, Davis Johnson, Don Ahern
Bottom L to R: Keith Miller, Louis Davis, Roland Cotes, Don Swanson, Charles SummersSometimes while doing research, a well written piece with the flavor of the day comes along. The following is from the same page in the DWU yearbook as the photo and meets those criteria. Note the long-time Mitchell names on the roster.
     “Perhaps one of the most impressive chapters in Wesleyan’s basketball history was written by the conference championship team of 1938-1939.
     Competing in the National Intercollegiate tournament for three consecutive years, the Tigers met and defeated the Texas West Teachers, ‘tallest college team in the world,’ for one of the greatest upsets in the 1938-1939 tournament.
     Featuring such basketball aces ‘Les’ Greener, Don ‘Slippery’ Ahern, and Glen ‘Slick’ Draisey, this Tiger team probably had as much or more individual color than has any other team in Wesleyan history.
     During the seasonal conference play this Tiger team won ten out of twelve games. To make the season even more interesting and successful the final conference game, the only thing standing in the way of Wesleyan championship, were the Yankton Greyhounds. Determined to keep the ‘Ham,’ win the conference and defeat Yankton College for the second time during the season, these cagers decisively whipped the Yankton boys 47-22.
     Glen Draisey, lanky tiger forward, paced the entire conference in individual scoring, garnering 151 points in 13 games. His closest competitor, Goodbarn of S.F. College, had 126.
     In addition to this, four men were chosen for the mythical all-conference five. They included Greener, guard; Ahern, guard; Davis, forward; and Draisey, forward. This closed one of the most colorful years in Wesleyan’s basketball history.” Tumbleweed 1940

Published in the February 10th, 2024 Mitchell Republic.

Last month Back in Time did a feature on the Commercial Bank which was established on January 6, 1897, in a wooden building located on the SE corner of Main and East Third Ave. The original two-story wooden building constructed in 1882, according to the cornice on the top of the building, was replaced in 1906 with a new three-story brick building at the same location. The old building was moved to the back of the lot. While doing research on the Johnson Furniture Company, this picture came to light. It shows the old wooden Commercial Bank building as it sat on East 3rd Avenue after being moved in 1906. The bank moved in 1961, to 208 East Third with the main entrance on the north side of the building. Other businesses occupied the brick building space until the Commercial Trust and Savings Bank building at 220 Main Street was destroyed by fire in 1981 and razed in 1982. The area where the old wooden building sat is now a parking lot behind Uptown Park which is the area of the brick Commercial Bank building built in 1906. 

Published in the January 20th, 2024 Mitchell Republic.

Circa 1912       Linda Oster Researcher

The Washington Café’s sign on the back wall says, (314 N Main Street, formerly the site of the Little Red Hen and currently the Q Jewelry & Gifts store) “Try Our Hot Dinner Sandwich 15 cents” This café was owned and operated by Zina H. and Estelle Eager. They are pictured seated at the back of the café. As was common among store owners and operators, they resided on the second floor of the building. The café reopened on May 23, 1917, as the Grand Café and was open 24 hours a day.

Published in the January 6th, 2024 Mitchell Republic.

George Erhart started the SnowFlake Bakery around 1909. The bakery made deliveries and  advertised,  “Erhart’s ‘Eureka Bread’. Pure, clean, different and delicious –it really is best. For sale by all Grocers, or at the bakery.” In August, 1912, the bakery moved to 112 West First Avenue and remained at that location until 1932. Paul Hoffman worked for the Erharts from 1922 until he bought the business from Mrs. Erhart in 1929 after the death of her husband George from a heart attack that followed a 1928 car accident.  The bakery continued to prosper under Hoffman. He advertised fruit cake for 50 cents at Thanksgiving in 1931 along with “pies, cakes, rolls and all the goodies to make that Thanksgiving Turkey a success, can be gotten fresh at your grocers the morning of Thanksgiving.” He moved the business in 1932 to 114 North Main.  By 1947 Hoffman sold the bakery to Gerard C. Schoep from Platte.  Schoep was a Navy radarman recently discharged.  He served in seven battles in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theatres. Gerard wasn’t new to the bakery business; he and his father were bakers in Platte.  If anyone knows what happened to this business and would like to share the information for our files, please contact the Carnegie Resource Center at info@mitchellcarnegie.com or call us at 996-3209.

Published in the February 17th, 2024 Mitchell Republic.

Holy Family Church and Notre Dame Academy, located at 222 North Lawler as it looked circa 1918. The original church was built in 1882 and was moved to South Kimball when this church was built in 1906. The church has made many improvements in the last few years including work on the two side steeple towers in 2012. The Notre Dame School was opened in 1885 and that building was torn down and the one pictured was constructed in 1912, and high school students were admitted that year. In 1921 a southeastern addition was added to the school and academy. In 1956, the northeast side of the building was added. The Holy Family and Holy Spirit School systems were combined in 1999. The old school building was demolished in 2005, and a new gathering space, handicap accessibility, an elevator, new parish offices, small chapel, and new restrooms were built in 2008.

Published in the February 3rd, 2024 Mitchell Republic.

Researcher – Linda Oster

     Louis and Mary Beckwith moved to Mitchell, Dakota Territory on April 22, 1882. They were business people and weren’t interested in homesteading. Louis Beckwith is one of the people responsible for getting the first Corn Palace to become a reality. They were very community minded and served in many capacities to benefit Mitchell.
     Their home is an example of the Italianate style. The house was moved in 1976 to the museum grounds of the Friends of the Middle Border Museum (now Dakota Discovery) which saved it from demolition. Those wishing to check it out can find the home sitting behind Dakota Discovery with its side listed as 352  Andrews St. and the front door facing South Duff. The interior of the home had to have extensive restoration because it had been made into a duplex in the 1930’s.
     Frank Purdy constructed the house in 1886. It is a two-story building which was said to be conservative for the time; it boasted porches that featured the latest in archetectural millwork. A little Queen Anne style which was popular in the early 1880’s shows up in the “hood over the south bay window, and the porches with fishscale shingles, fretwork and turned posts.”
      Sage green with dark green and oxblood red highlights was the original color scheme, but by the 1900’s a new color scheme with a soft yellow with grey trim showed off the house. By the 1930’s the house was painted completely white. It is now painted in colors close to the original color scheme. The interior of the home had a curved walnut staircase with curved walls for the library and hallway, detailed wooden floors in part of the house and carpets in the rest, Japanese transome screens, elaborate hardware and wallpaper of the period graced the inside of the home.
Friends of the Middle Border brochure -1983

Published in the January 13th, 2024 MItchell Republic.

Back In Time 2024

SW Corner of East 3rd Ave and Lawler in 1930   -   Photographer – Hersey Photo Service    -      Linda Oster-Researcher

The largest building on the corner is the Johnson’s Furniture Co.  constructed in 1922 with the third and fourth stories added in 1928. The first location of Johnson’s in 1907 was a half block from the railroad station on the west side of Main Street in a converted livery stable. The second location in the old Scallin Drug building and then in the Feinstein’s location. The Feinstein’s location was not ideal as it sat next to Raskins Grocery which had many rats in the back of the grocery.  Fred M. and Will Johnson were cabinet and violin makers from Sweden who started the business.  Fred eventually bought his brother’s share and his sons, Harold and Orwin (Orv) bought out their father in the 1930’s. Barbara Johnson Murray, daughter of Harold, and Alan Murray moved to Mitchell in 1965 and purchased the store. In 1977 the Murrays purchased the old telephone building and did extensive remodeling of the Johnson Furniture store. The store motto was, “We Make A Home Out of Houses.” Johnson’s Furniture shut down in September of 1995, with an auction to sell out their remaining inventory.

Businesses that occupied this same area were: Starting in the far left of the picture on Lawler Street were, Armour Creameries, Mitchell Oldsmobile Company and the Day and Night Garage which at one time was used for the Hubbard Motor Company. The Staehle Hardware Company was above the Johnson’s Furniture store along with a series of doctors and other offices, as well as, the Betts Grain office. The Dakota Central Telephone Company which later became Northwestern Bell sat on East Third Avenue to the west of the Johnson Building. White Eagle service station sat across the street to the north. 

Published in the January 27th, 2024 Mitchell Republic.