Mystery photos found in flooded house

The Digital Minot Project at Minot State University is asking for help to identify some mysterious black and white photographs that were found in a flooded home at 314-9th St. NW.

Amy Lisner, project coordinator, said there are about 20 photos in the collection, which appear to have been taken in the early 20th century. The photos appear to depict some sort of ceremony that included games and pictures people dressed in Native American regalia, Scottish kilts and Norwegian bunads. Some of the photographs also include farming equipment and automobiles.

The photographs are from film negatives that were found during work on the home that was flooded during the 2011 flood and forwarded to the Digital Minot project by Minot resident Mark Hildahl.

A letter that was dated Nov. 17, 1926, was found nearby. The letter may or may not be connected to the photographs, said Lisner. The letter was from B.J. Franklin, writing from The Minot Daily News, to his girlfriend, Emma Zerahn, in St. Paul, Minn. In the letter he talks about buying a ring and he signs the letter “Burt.” Since the letter was found in a Minot house, Lisner assumes that Burt and Emma got married and settled in Minot.

All of the photographs can be viewed at ( Lisner said she hopes that someone who knew the Franklins or knows something about the people, place or event in the photo collection will contact the project.

People can contact the project by clicking on the “Contact Us” tab on the site or by emailing They can also call 858-3461.

“Digital Minot: An On-Line Museum of Local History” is devoted to recording the history of Minot and the surrounding area. The site includes many other photographs and historical accounts.