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Archive for the ‘Remember When’ Category

The Community Hall
by LuVerne Hamre

As a youngster growing up in Hampden, the Community Hall was a place of absolute enchantment. On Saturday evenings I remember that feeling of elation as I waited for that magical time, 7:30 p.m., which meant the beginning of the first showing of that week’s movie.

I remember thinking that 7:30 in the evening on Saturday would never arrive, especially if a western movie was playing that week. Come to think of it, Saturday was the only day of the week that I ever had my evening chores done on time. Also, I remember the times that I spent eagerly looking forward to the basketball games, recitals, card parties, traveling magic shows, roller skating, and school Christmas programs.

And let me not forget the dances. Two of the traveling bands that I always looked forward to enjoying were Dick Mango and Preston Love. Probably my favorite dance band of all was the Al Wentzel dance band from Lawton.

Who could forget the school carnivals? The grand old hall with its exterior lights beaming, the bright interior alive with excitement and young children with faces painted and filling the air with confetti.

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Jail Break in Hampden
by Don Morentson

Hampden maintained a jail cell during the 1930’s.  The cell was made of steel except that the top, which was made of two-by-ten planks bolted to the steel cage.  The cell housed many citizens who had consumed a little too much beer at the Kelly Pool Hall and John Neilsen, the town constable, would march the offender off to jail for protective custody until the next morning when the citizen was able to go home on his own.  Relieving ones self of excess beer on the Main Street would bring a certain fine of $25 to $35 and an overnight in the jail cell.  The offense was written up as “leaking on the street”.  That was probably the most serious crime in Hampden in those days.

Two bachelor brothers known as “the Swedes” were carpenters.  They built many of the barns and granaries in the Hampden area.  The Swedes were good citizens but sometimes the younger brother would partake of a few too many beers at the pool hall.  On one such occasion he was headed for home when the excess beer in his system was more than he could handle.  He leaked on the street and the constable promptly marched him off to jail.

The next morning when the constable came to let his prisoner out of jail he found both brothers busily replacing the planks on the top of the jail cell.  The older brother explained that his brother couldn’t sleep well unless he was home so during the night he had sawed a hole in the top of the cell and taken the inebriated brother home for the night.  But they were rebuilding the cell so it would be stronger than before.

No additional fine was levied for the “jail break” but the standard fine was collected for “leaking on the Main Street”. 

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Old Model T
by the Tosos

I remember when I was about 7-8 yrs old, during the summer time, they had roller skating on Sunday nights and how I wanted to go, but Dad having to do milking and bringing me in and coming to get me wasnt always easy, so I would hope Grandpa Ole and Grandma Hattie Dahl would come out to visit and then I had a ride into Hampden, but Grandpa drove a Model T and I thought it was so old. I rode in the back seat and when I got to the outskirts of Hampden I would lay down in the back seat so that none of my friends would see me and tease me. Now how I would give to be able to ride in the old Model T again

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Saturday Night Ritual
by Norma Ruth Skaar

Has anyone written about the Saturday Night ritual of going to “town” for the movie?  As usual, the Community Hall was the theater.  The movie of the week ran twice, no one minded coming in the middle of “the show”, you just stayed until the place where you came in then left. Kids always sat in the front row if at all possible! I’m not sure how much an adult ticket cost, but I remember kid’s tickets being fifteen cents.  The huge ice cream cone afterwards cost five cents and could be made to last many trips walking with friends around and around the block — west from the bank building to the Willing Worker’s building, across the street to the “Pool Hall”,  and back eastward to Damschen’s Grocery Store and again, across the street; round and round we went, laughing and giggling with friends.

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Glenn Neidlinger’s New Car
by Norma Ruth Skaar

I can remember when Glenn Neidlinger first drove his new Studebaker to Hampden on a Saturday night.  What a razzing he took about the car that you couldn’t tell the front from the back etc. I can see Glenn standing behind the car as it was parked in from of the Knudson Hardware.  He had his hands on his hips, a big smile on his face and  took on all comers smart-remarks good naturedly.  I think it was the first new car to come to town after WWII was over.  People went around saying “have you seen Glenn’s new car” and variations on what such a totally new concept really looked like!  It kept everyone talking for quite some time. 

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Town Constable Admonishes Governor
by Don Mortenson

Governor Bill Langer was in Hampden campaigning.  He had a stem winding speech going in the Community Hall.  As his speech climaxed he pounded his fist on the podium hard enough that the podium seemed to bounce on the floor.  John Neilson, who was the town constable and custodian of the Community hall, took his jobs seriously.  Concerned about the podium, he yelled from the back of the Hall “Stop that, goddamit! Governor or not, if you bust that podium you gotta pay for it!”  There was silence in the Hall, and the Governor had lost his stride.  John rendered remarkable service to his town while he lived there.

Side Note on Governor Langer: In 1934, Gov. Langer and eight associates were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to solicit and collect money for political purposes from federal employees. Gov. Langer was tried, convicted and sentenced to 18 months in a federal penitentiary. Langer was removed from office by the ND Supreme Court and replaced by Lt. Gov. Ole Olson. Lydia Cady Langer ran during the next election against Thomas Moodie, but was unsuccessful. However, Moodie was removed from office in 1935, the same year he was inaugurated. Walter Welford was inaugurated and completed Moodie’s term. Bill (William) Langer was reelected for his second term in 1937. This all occurred after the 1921 removal of Gov. Lynn Frazier from office through a recall vote. North Dakota has an interesting political history!
-Julie Neidlinger

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