The past comes alive

Arlene Saugstad, Minot

When, many years ago, long before Google, iPad, Facebook, email, texting, Twitter and Kindle, a handful of Ward County men and women gathered together to make sure as humanly possible that future generations would have some knowledge of the past. Thus was born the Ward County Historical Society.

Little could they have envisioned that hundreds of men, women and children saw and enjoyed the Pioneer Village during this last week’s North Dakota State Fair. Our past comes alive with the Ward County Historical Village, which began with one building thanks to Einer Madsen. This building still remains as a repository for hundreds of artifacts from our past.

There was no thought back then of commercialization, simply an attempt to preserve the past for the future, a way to appreciate the “what’s and how’s” of the past and hopefully appreciate our present. Visitors to the Pioneer Village could peek inside a cook car which was a staple on farms during harvest season. Try to envision living in a sod house which the Mostad family gave to the village, or watch a horse being taken care of in a livery stable. They had an opportunity to visit our county’s first courthouse, an old-time post office and barbershop and bring back memories in an old rural church. Old time machinery put into working order did actually work to the probable amazement of the onlookers. The venerable white frame Samuelson House held many memories too of the past, especially those who have good memories of this family.

Forward to 2014, visitors plan to see a little red school house in the village, its foundation is ready for its arrival. Its bright red exterior is sure to be an attraction to this village. Just in case you were not among the hundreds who visited the Village during the Fair, it will still be possible for you and your family to make this village a place for you and your visitors to enjoy. You might like to be married in the historical church, have a reunion in the village, or take members of your classroom on a tour of the past, minus the books.

A call to Nana Schlafman, who lives at the Samuelson House, will arrange for whatever you decide you would like to do in the village. You can reach her by calling 720-1953. After the disastrous 2011 Mouse River Flood took its toll in the village, a host of volunteers undertook the job of making the village a wonderful place to visit the past once again.

I would like to toss my congratulatory chapeau in the direction of Bruce Brooks and Bernice Galusha. They were determined that the past was going to be preserved for the future. A proud past and a proud future. Thanks Bruce and Bernice and all of the volunteers (you know who you are) so our Pioneer Village could be a major attraction during the North Dakota State Fair and beyond. I would also toss a congratulatory chapeau to our first feminine North Dakota State Fair General Manager, Renae Korslien, who in my mind could be described as the “cream raising to the top.” Bruce describes her as being very cooperative, which in my book amounts to an A+. This year’s State Fair and was without a doubt a tremendous success, Renae. On to 2014!