Downtown history

Student historians recorded stories Saturday about a witty orchestra director and how the looks of downtown Minot changed following the flood of 1969.

“He had a great sense of humor,” Lee Snyder said of his former neighbor, Arturo Petrucci, director of the Minot Symphony Orchestra who died in 1974.

Snyder was among those who came to Digital Minot’s oral history session, held Saturday at the Taube Museum of Art during the Downtown Minot Fall Festival. Five student interns for the web-based museum and archive located at Minot State University, were set up at the Taube to record stories.

“The Rockin’ Horse used to be the Old Dutch Mill,” Linda Ringsaker, Minot, told student intern Joshua Lewis.

She told Lewis about her other memories of former downtown locations and about how the city looked before the flood of 1969. At the time, she was dating her husband and remembers that some houses were later removed for flood control and the entrance to Eastwood Park was changed.

The landscape is changing again following the flood of 2011, said Ringsaker, whose home is located in the flood plain. The Ringsakers haven’t heard what will happen to their own house, but several of their neighbors’ houses have been marked for demolition, leaving an altered landscape again.

Amy Lisner, Digital Minot project coordinator, said there were about 30 people who came to the oral history session. About a dozen people wanted tell their stories and have them recorded; others wanted to look at the history displays, show the student interns historic artifacts or make arrangements to meet later with the history interns.

“Homesteading … that’s a big topic today,” said Lisner.

Lisner said the student interns will still be recording stories even after the oral history session and they are interested in hearing any type of story. People may think their memories are not important, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

“Anything anybody has to contribute is important,” said Lisner.

Digital Minot was established in 2012. The site contains historical photos, postcards, newspaper articles, advertisements, scholarly journals, legal documents, oral histories and biographies.

The Digital Minot website can be found through the history department homepage,, or at