Pioneer Village takes fair-goers back in time

Visitors to the North Dakota State Fair also took time to enjoy the Pioneer Village on the fairgrounds this week.

Visitors Geoff and Becky Mercer, Grand Forks, who brought their sons Tommy, 8, and Charley, 2, said they have never been to the museum before but just happened to stop by while they were visiting the fair.

The boys enjoyed ringing the old school bell on the grounds and visiting the school house, which looks like it did in their great-grandparents’ day.

Also on display at the museum during the State Fair were artifacts from the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, which has partnered with the museum during the past few summers to provide more information about its history.

Les Thomas with the Turtle Mountains Tourism Association said the display included a tipi, a Red River Cart built by Larry and Nick Azure of Belcourt, and willow baskets and other arts and crafts created by artists on the reservation.

“Never forget your culture!” said Thomas.

The Red River cart was used by tribal ancestors to transport goods from water way to water way. It is made of cedar, ash and oak and constructed from interlocking pegs. Such carts were pulled by either horses or oxen.

Bruce Brooks, president of the Ward County Historical Society, and Thomas said they are also seeking donations to help fund cultural performances by tribal members at the museum, such as storytellers or flute players or fiddle playing.

People can call the museum at 720-1953 or Thomas at 701-278-1167 for more information.

The museum is also in need of more volunteers like Kaylon Faul, 14, from Max, who is helping to restore a replica of a Case steam tractor with the assistance of Richard Quick. Kaylon, a classic car enthusiast who likes working on antique engines, volunteered at the museum last summer and received permission to fix up the steam tractor replica.

“Those things still outdo the modern day tractors,” said Kaylon, who is homeschooled. “They were heavy and you can’t outdo them.”

The replica he and Quick worked on is about 100 years old and is of the type often seen at threshing shows.

Other items on display at the museum this summer are a collection of antique vehicles and buggies, along with the museum’s buildings showing what life was like in the early 20th century.

Brooks said the museum had a number of visitors from many different states during the fair. The museum receives most of its visitors during major events like the fair, he said.

The museum, located on the fairgrounds, is open during the summer months. More information can be found on the historical society’s website at (