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Pioneer Village in Alphabetical Order

Arthur Town Hall

Temporarily closed for repairs

Constructed in the early 1890s for approximately $1,000, the town hall in Arthur, North Dakota was host to many community events until it was moved to its current location in 1971. Church services, town meetings, dances, graduations, plays, talent shows and basketball games were all held in the building. Susan Peltier, a resident of Arthur, remembered silent movies playing every Saturday night starting in the mid 1920's. The cost was ten cents per person. Various people from the community played piano to accompany the films. The movie screen rolled down from above the stage. The projector and projection room is still upstairs but is off limits to visitors. Movies with sound, or talkies as they were called, began appearing in Arthur around 1930.

Blacksmith Shop


During the height of bonanza farming every city had a blacksmiths shop. People went to the blacksmith for wagon wheel rims, horseshoes, chains and plows. They also made latches, hinges, and wrought iron gates. The blacksmith shop was moved to its present location at Bonanzaville in 1970 from Tower City, ND. Many of the shop’s original furnishings and tools are still present. The large anvil located in the shop was used by Clarence Evenson who worked as a blacksmith and machinist in Kindred, ND from 1935 to 1965. The anvil weighs over 250 pounds and was originally used in the oil fields of Oklahoma before being purchased by Evenson.

Bjerklie Drug Store


Jud A. Freeman built a drug store in 1887 in the city of Gilby, located northwest of Grand Forks, North Dakota. In 1889, L.P.Bjerklie purchased the store and operated it until his death in 1942. The store was then taken over by his son Elvin Bjerklie, known to residents as “Gov”, and remained in the family until 1975.

The Bjerklie’s store sold medications, ice cream, malts, sodas, candy, magazines, and cigars among other things. The Gilby drug store closed in April 1975, and the building was sold to the city. The interior of the drug store was removed and donated to the Historical Society where the Bjerklie’s drug store was recreated inside a renovated building.

The ice cream and soda fountain is still located at the back of the store. The furnishings were all recovered from the drug store in Gilby. Many of the medications, however, were donated by the North Dakota State University School of Pharmacy.

Brass Rail Saloon and Hotel


The Brass Rail Saloon and Hotel was built in 1889 in Page, ND. It moved to Bonanzaville in 1971 by the Page Homemakers, who operated the building as a museum in Page 1968.  It offered 9 comfortable sleeping quarters, including a bridal suite, meals, and live entertainment on the player piano. No alcholoic beverages were served in this building until 1930 because North Dakota entered the Union as a dry state. A dry state is a state in which manufacturing, distribution, importation or sale of alcoholic beverages are prohibited or tightly restricted. When Prohibition was repealed in 1933 making alcohol could be served.

When the hotel opened in 1889, the room prices ranged from 50 cents for a common room to 75 cents for the bridal suite. There was no indoor plumbing so water had to be carried in, and chamber pots carried out. The current furnishings in the rooms are similar to those used in the early 1900’s.

Buffalo Bandstand


Bandstands, like this example from Buffalo, ND, were found in most towns in the Nineteenth Century. 

Case Eagle


Jerome Increase Case (1819-1891) of New York established the JI Case Company in Wisconsin in the mid 1800's. The company produced various motorized agricultural implements and machinery.

Case introduced the eagle logo for the first time in 1865. The symbol was taken from Company C of the 8th Wisconsin Regiment, during the Civil War, who dubbed the eagle “Old Abe” and used it as their mascot.

Cass-Clay Creamery


The Cass-Clay Creamery building is a reproduction of a 1920,s era creamery. It was constructed in 1986 and sponsored by Cass-Clay Company in celebration of their 50th anniversary. The interior is furnished with dairy equipment from a creamery in Kenmare, North Dakota.

Farmers would bring milk to their local railroad depot in large metal containers known as cream cans. The train would take the cans to the creamery where the cream was separated and the cans were washed before being sent back on the train to be refilled. Inside the building, you can see how butter was made inside a large old style butter churn and how the butter was cut into sticks. The creamery also contains the equipment that was used to milk cows, and displays the evolution of milk containters ranging from the old glass bottles to the plastic jugs used today.

Checkered Years House


This house was built during the late 1870's or early 1880's on a bonanza farm in Mapleton Township southwest of Fargo, North Dakota. Mary Dodge Woodward lived in the home with her children from 1882 to 1889. Her son Walter was hired to manage the 1,500 acre farm owned by their relative Daniel Dodge.

Mary kept a detailed diary of their life in Dakota Territory at this time. She filled five small leather bound books with day to day accounts of the family’s activity and life on the farm.

In 1882, Mary noted that there were only two buildings on the farm, but by 1887 twenty-seven buildings were located there. She wrote that people would think their farm was a town, and that if they built a saloon, it really would be a town. She thought “Dodgetown” would be an appropriate name.

Mary writes a lot about the weather in her diary. She mentions snow banks as high as second story windows in the winter. She also writes about sleeping with her shoes on so mice would not get in them, and using a telescope to see a light in the city of Fargo from her upstairs bedroom window.

Mary never thought her diaries would be published. On May 1, 1885 she wrote, “I’ve nobody to talk to except this diary, and here I can say what I please for nobody but my children could ever read it.”

The Woodward family left the farm in the spring of 1889 and returned to Kingston, Wisconsin where they had originally lived. Mary became ill in 1890 and was diagnosed with lung fever. She died on Christmas Day later that year. After her death, Mary’s granddaughter, Mary Boynton Cowdrey, took the diaries and compiled them, in shortened form, into a book that was first printed in 1937 entitled, "The Checkered Years". The house the Woodward family lived in was given to the Cass County Historical Society and named The Checkered Years House, after the title of Mary’s diaries. The book is available in the museum store.

Cass County District Courthouse


The Cass County District Courtroom has been recreated inside this building which originally served as the Hagemeister School #2, District #31 in Berlin Township near Argusville, North Dakota. The building was constructed in 1928 to replace the original wood framed schoolhouse built in 1882. In 1956, the Hagemeister School closed and was purchased by Frank Gavin of Absaraka, North Dakota and served as the Berlin Township Hall. He donated the building to the Cass County Historical Society in 1978.

The building now contains the restored furnishings of the Cass County District Courtroom which were used from1904 to 1967. The interior of the courtroom was salvaged while the courthouse was being remodeled to accommodate two smaller courtrooms instead of one large room. The furnishings remained in storage at the Cass County Historical Society until a suitable building was found to recreate the courtroom. A generous donation from the Alex Stern Family Foundation helped provide funding for the retrofitting and restoration of the courtroom’s furnishings into the school house.

The bell in front of the building is from the tower of the Cass County Courthouse. It was donated to the Historical Society after the braces holding the bell broke and the bell plunged several feet into the building before it came to a stop.

Dawson Hall

This building is used for demonstrations and programs during the annual Pioneer Days celebration. It can also be rented for wedding receptions, corporate gatherings and meetings. Remodeling, funding and much of the building contents were donated by museum patron Jim Dawson. 

Dobrinz School


The first school in Mapleton Township, southwest of Fargo, North Dakota, was built in 1895, one-quarter mile east of the farm of John Dobrinz. The school designated as Mapleton Township District #27 School was named after John Dobrinz who was the farmer closest to the school when it was built, and the father of thirteen children, one of which later taught at the school.

This building is typical of one-room school houses that were built in the area during the late 1800's and early 1900's. These schools were designed to teach students from grades one through eight. While some students were as young as three or four years of age, other students were older than the teacher. Grade level was based on how many books were successfully completed rather than on age.

Despite also being used for community events, church Sunday School, and as a voting precinct for Mapleton Township, the school wasclosed by the mid 1900,s. Other one-room school houses in North Dakota had a similar fate as school districts consolidated and the state’s rural population dwindled.

The Dobrinz School was given to the Cass County Historical Society in 1968 and was one of the first three buildings at the Museum’s new location in West Fargo, North Dakota.

Eagle Air Museum


The Eagles Air Museum exhibits a collection of over a dozen aircraft and aircraft related artifacts, as well as other vehicles. One of the highlights of the museum is a Douglas C-47 that was used in World War II during the D-Day Invasion, and was later used as the “Governors Plane” transporting North Dakota’s governors from 1947 to the 1970's. There are twenty aircraft on display, dating from 1911 to 1980's. The oldest aircraft is the 1911 Curtiss Pusher. In 1911 "lucky bob" St. Henry of Minot, ND, made the first successful flight in North Dakota in Fargo in one of these Curtiss Pusher. This was only seven years after the Wright brothers first flight in 1903.

The Museum also features a collection of aircrafts built and restored by Charles David Klessig, a pilot from the Page, North Dakota area who flew aircrafts during World War II and was instrumental in creating the Air Museum at the Cass County Historical Society. Mr. Klessig wrote of his life of flying in a book titled, "My Highway in the Sky", which is available in the museum store.

Ellingsberg Carriage House

This museum houses Bonanzaville’s large collection of horse-drawn vehicles and equipment. Buggies, sleighs, farm wagons, drays, and a milk wagon are just a few of the vehicles located here. A replica Well’s Fargo stage coach, also known as a Concord Coach, was custom-made for Bonanzaville by the Minnesota Cart and Coach Company. Every detail is authentic.

This building also houses the horse-drawn hearse from the Fredrickson and Brakke Funeral home of Davenport, ND. It was build in the late 1800’s and purchased in 1905 and comes complete with a wooden casket. The caskets lid was bolted down and the class window allowed a public viewing. Before burial, a cover was fastened over the glass.

Embden Depot

Embden Depot

The town of Embden, North Dakota was created shortly after the Casselton-Marion Branch of the Northern Pacific Railroad crossed Eldred Township located in southwestern Cass County. Land used by the railroad was purchased from William F. Krueger, and therefore the Northern Pacific suggested the town be named Kruegersville. Mr. Krueger disagreed and chose the name Embden after his home town in Germany with a similar name but different spelling, Emden.

In 1900, the railroad built the Embden Depot to conduct railroad business and where telegraph services were provided. The Depot which contained an office, passenger waiting room, freight dock, and agent’s quarters. The agent lived in the depot in a room that contained a small kitchen, bedroom, and private bathroom. The agent typically provided their own furniture and were charged one dollar a month for coal and lamp, one dollar in 1900 would be roughly 29 dollars today. 

Eugene Dahl Car Museum


This building houses a collection of over sixty vehicles from the early 1900's of automobiles to more modern vehicles.  Many of the vehicles were donated by Eugene Dahl and Lester Melroe who purchased a large collection of automobiles from the Paul Hemp Automobile Museum in Rochester, Minnesota.

Fargo’s First House


Fargo’s first house was built by Harry Moore with help from George Mann in 1869. Fargo, at this time was just a city of tents in what was then Dakota Territory. Initially the house was close to the Red River near what is now Island Park, was later moved because of annual flooding. The house was named “Elm Tree House.” This sign hung on a large elm tree in the front yard for many years.


In 1872 the house served as the Man-Moore Hotel and in 1875 as a jail. The city paid rent of $15 per month for a year while the new jail was being built. The upstairs of the house was the jail. The main floor held the offices of the sheriff and mayor.


In 1882 Henry Hector bought the house and rebuilt the structure and moved the house to 199 4th St. S. Hector lived there until his death in 1940. THe house was then rented as a duplex for many years.

In 1974 the Fargo Moorhead Board of Realtors and Multiple Listings Service donated the house to the Cass County Historical Society. Palmer Forness, a member of the Cass County Historical Society and a Fargo Fire Department Employee, did most of the restoration to the Cabin. Replacing a few of the original logs, and adding mixture of cement and sand to openings between the logs, the house was said to be near original condition by 1980.

Furnberg Store:


Christian Furnberg was a young boy when he and his mother moved to Dakota Territory in 1871. As a boy, Christian would peddle goods to people in the area, shortly after getting married, Christian borrowed $50.00 from his sister-in-law to open a general store. A site southwest of Fargo was chosen for the store where the Great Northern Railroad came within a mile of the Shyenne River, called Osgood after a farmer who lived nearby. Christian, and his cousin, purchased lumber from the Robinson Company in Fargo and constructed the 20’ by 60’ store over the next three months. The simple building was made to look more impressive by adding a fancy front onto the store which was ordered from Chicago, IL. The storefront had large finial ornaments decorating either corner of the roof. Christian’s son, Oscar, noted that the ornaments didn’t last very long because every boy around used the finials for target practice.

Besides operating as a general goods store, the back room of the building housed a blacksmith shop. Farmers could get their horses shoed while shopping for goods. Outside of the building, there was an oil shed and two gas pumps where people could purchase coal, kerosene and gasoline. Warm orange cider was served from a barrel in the middle of the store. Customers would sit and chat while drinking the cider. Christian operated a printing press out of the store where he printed sale bills that were sent out to potential customers. The store also served as a post office for the area surrounding Osgood. Christian was the postmaster for the area and would walk to the train station twice a week to retrieve the mail. The post office remained at the Furnberg Store until it was replaced by a mail route in 1911.

The store was usually open six days a week. Christian would be ready to open the store at around seven in the morning and would close once all the customers had gone, usually around nine at night. The store was operated by Christian and his wife until about 1948 when his son Oscar, and his wife, took the store over until it closed in 1953. It was given to the Cass County Historical Society over a decade later.

Habberstad Cabin


This cabin was built by a group of Finlanders in 1874 out of oak logs. The original location of this building was on the farm of Helmer and Emma Habberstad located northeast of Kindred, ND, on the Sheyenne River. Eventually Carl Stenhjem, Mrs. Habberstad’s cousin, bought the farm with the log cabin on it. He donated the cabin to Bonanzaville in 1968.

The stove located in the cabin was quite versatile. People would cook on it, use it as heat source, heat water on it for baths or boil water for washing clothes. The upstairs was used only for sleeping, and the downstairs was used for cooking and socializing. It was not uncommon for 12 people to live in a cabin of this size.

Hagen House:


The Hagen House site is really a set of three buildings—the main house, a summer kitchen and the outhouse. It was located on a farm near Horace, ND. Martin Hagen built the house in 1897 on a farmstead southwest of Horace. Three Hagen generations lived here without running water or electricity.

Behind the House is a summer kitchen which was used for cooking, doing laundry and anything else that required a fire. During the warm months in summer/ fall the main house would become to hot if it was used regulary, this is why a summer kitchen outside the house became an important feature on bonanza farms. This also made more room in the house to seat the threshing crews who numbered in the 20’s at times. In the summer kitchen you will see a kerosene stove and a crock that was used for brine and to preserve meat after butchering, there is also a slicing board and stomper, used for making sauerkraut. Summer kitchens were used into the 1940’s.

Harness Shop


From Addison, ND, this building was used for harness repair and oiling, and horseshoe repair.

The harness shop is typical of those built in prairie towns in the early 1900’s. The harness which was placed on the animals, allowed them to pull something with their shoulders. The basic parts of harness are the bridle, reins, collar, hames and traces. Most part of harness are constructed of leather and are held in place by metal buckles and clasps. Harness shops were common before the transition to steam-powered machinery.

The Family of Thomas T. Smith maintained the shop. Tom, along with Dakota Hardware, which his grandfather founded as North Dakota Harness Co., fitted the shop with much of the period equipment to make harness’s.

Houston House

Houston House_001.jpg

The Houston House, a beautiful bonanza farm home, was built by David H. Houston in 1881 near Hunter, ND. Houston was a Scottish immigrant, farmer, poet, and inventor. Because his first house was destroyed by a powerful wind storm, this house included a storm cellar, 2” by 6” supporting timbers and the largest nails that he could find. 

The house was an elegant home with maple floors, cherry and oak wainscoting, a walnut staircase leading to the second floor, high ornamental ceilings and large bay windows. The original cost to build this house was estimated to be $7,000. Houston installed a new type of heating system in the basement, a hot air furnace. The house was heated by means of metal conduits and air registers. It even has a bathroom which was uncommon in any house at this time.

David Houston is best known for his photographic inventions. He sold the rights to manufacture and sell his patented roll film camera to William H. Walker for $700. Walker sold his rights to Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company of Rochester (Eastman Kodak). George Eastman noted that Houston “had the most uncanny genius for camera invention that I have ever known.” Conflicts arose when Houston designed improvements to his camera and sold them to Eastman competitors. It is rumored that Houston becam so disillusioned over his treatment by Eastman that he ordered all his photograic inventions and cameras destroyed.

Houston married Anni Laurie Pencille on April 26, 1888. She was an exceptional musician and was known as “The North Dakota Songstress.” They had one son, David Jr., born 1889.

The original house was twice the size it is now. The main part that you see was the Houston’s home. The other half housed the kitchen and was where the staff lived. Eventually the house was divided and the staff’s quarters were removed across the road. Be sure to check out the model of how this bonanza farm looked inside the house.

Hunter Times:


Originally from Hunter, ND, the newspaper flourished until the 1940s.  The first paper printed in Hunter in the 1890’s was known as the The Eye., in 1920’s, the paper was known as The Hunter Herald. The building burned in 1930’s but was rebuilt and named The Hunter Times. The Potter family bought it in 1960 and in 1970 consolidated it with another newspaper, The Cass County Reporter. This paper is still printed in Casselton Today

Among the different types of machinery located in this building are a strip casting machine, hand-operated presses, flatbed press, and Linotype machine. The strip casting machine was used primarily for advertisements, particularly grocery ads, and would often be used to print objects instead of letters.

Kathryn Depot/Spud Valley Railroad Club


This depot came from Kathryn, ND. The Spud Valley Railroad Club operates a complete model railroad in this building.

Model trains housed here pass through Fargo/Moorhead of the 1950’s. Over 400 feet of track are in place, with three trains operating at one time. The trains are motion activated and start running when you enter this room. The display shows the Union stockyards, Northern Pacific Depot, Dilworth and many buildings along Font street, renamed Main Street in 1957.

Land Office Bank


The Homestead Act was important piece of legislation in the settlement of Dakota Territory. The Homestead Act was signed by Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862, part of which stated that any head of household over 21 could file for 160 acres, one quater section, of land outside of the orignal 13 colonies that was neither claimed nor public land. The next step for homesteaders was to improve the land; this required a house of some sort to be build as well as 15 acres of land to be broke or plowed. Men and women from all over came and claimed land, and was not uncommon for single or widowed women to claim land.

The Land Office Bank was where hopefull new land seekers would file their claims. After improvement was shown on their land, these land owners would receive the titles to the property. Inside this building you can see the requirements that settlers needed to complete in order to recieve their land titles. This project, undertaken by the Bonanzaville Belles, who are part of the Cass County Historical Society.It is a replica of a building once found in Cogswell, ND that was used during the years of settlement.

Law Enforcement Museum 


We are the only Law Enforcement Museum in North Dakota and most likely the upper Midwest.  Our Museum was Chartered and Incorporated as a Non-Profit Law Enforcement Museum in 1989 by the State of North Dakota.  It is maintained by active and retired law enforcement officers from this area and appreciates all those that donate to our museum, both financially and with artifacts.

A tribute to Law   Enforcement, this Museum spans time from the founding of the Dakota  Territory in 1861 to current day.

The  Museum provides an educational opportunity for the General Public to view and understand the many functions of law  enforcement, their historical significance, mission, memorabilia and artifacts. Our museum has artifacts from all across North Dakota, Minnesota and Canada.  We display uniforms and other memorabilia from Federal, State, County, City and Private Police Agencies.

Maier House


This house was built by John and Dora Maier in 1896 on a site south of Moorhead, MN. The house originally had two rooms and was plastered with mud and straw. In 1898 a lean-to addition was built and the house increased in size by two rooms. In 1940 the house got electricity. Today artifacts relating to the medical field can be found in this house, and contains everything from dental equipment to nursing equipment.

Martinson Cabin:


closed for repairs

The Martison cabin was originally a barn that was built in 1913 on Broadwater Beach, Pelican Lake, Ottertail County, MN. In the late 1920’s Henry Roney had it moved back by the road and he later sold it to Henry Martinson.


Henry turned the barn into his house. He put a sign on the building which reads “The House by the Side of the Road.” The cabin contains many of the Martinson’s furnishings

Henry served for 28 years as the North Dakota Deputy State Labor Commissioner. When he wasn’t working in Bismarck, Henry and his wife Melba spent time in this cottage in Minnesota.


Henry was a well-known author and labor organizer. He wrote many poems and was named Poet Laureate of Fargo, North Dakota in 1967 and Associate Poet Laureate of North Dakota in 1975. . At the age of 94, Henry had a role in the award-winning film, “Northern Lights.” directed by John Hanson and Rob Nilsson.   The Film won the Camera D'Or Award at the Cannes Film Festival.  This film and Prairie Trilogy are in our collections.

Melroe Tractor Building


This building shares the rich history of American agricultural innovation. It features many manufacturers including Case, Hart-Parr, Rumley and Allis Chalmers. J.I. Case was a prolific steam engine builder. Steam engines were heated by a variety of fuels ranging from wood to coal, or even straw. Two of the earliest steam engines built by Case are in this building. Case was also well-known as a pioneer in selling machinery on farmer’s credit. Case representatives had what farmers needed, and would sell to them on the basis that they would make further payments.

Charles Hart and Charls Parr formed the Hart-Parr Corporation while still in college. Their dreams of “modernizing farming” helped them produce their first tractor in 1902. By 1907 a third of all tractors in use came from their factories. These tractors were made in LaPort, IN, and were called “hit or miss” because they fired on operator demand. The early models had flywheels that weighed a ton.

The M. Rumley Company produced the first Oil Pull tractor that ran on kerosene. The tractors got this name because the exhaust was cooled by 50 or 55 gallons of oil, depending on the model. They had two speeds, forward at 1.9 mph or reverse. Rumleys were on of the big movers that broke virgin ground in this part of the country. They weren’t small machines; their Model E weighed about 23,000 pounds. The last Rumley model was ahead of its time, with six cylinders and 50 horsepower. In 1931, Rumley was sold to Allis Chalmers. The Allis Chalmers Company was formed in 1901 with the merger of the companies of Edward Allis and William Chalmers.

Hundred of companies built tractors—some were successful and some were not. Some of the other tractors on display include the Fordsons of Henry ford, McCormic Deering and its successor International Harvester, Olivers and Co-ops.

Moum Agricultural Building


Early agricultural technology as well as more recent inventions are housed in this building. Farm machinery implements ranging from threshing machines to plows to seeders, walking plow and diesel- driven tractors can be found in this building. The highlights of this building is the very first Steiger Tractor which is housed here, and was at the time of its production the world's largest bulldozer, The first Steiger tractor was built by John Steiger and his sons, Douglass and Maurice, who built it in the barn of their farm northwest of Red Lake Falls, MN.

Also in the building is housed Bonanzaville’s Bobcat Machinery collection. On display is a history and evolution of the Bobcat machinery. We have many models of Bobcat throughout the years and many are first editions. Also housed in part of the Bobcat collection is the Melroe machinery that pre-dated Bobcat. These early models started the innovation and success of Bobcat.

Pioneer Fire Company

Fire Buckets.jpg

The Pioneer Fire Company is a memorial to all firefighters of the area, past, present and future. Firefighters from Fargo, West Fargo and Casselton built the fire hall to resemble a fire station of the 1890’s and to preserve and protect fire fighting memorabilia. When the City Council of Fargo chartered the Pioneer Fire Company in 1877, John Haggart was named Fargo’ first fire chief.

Equipment displayed includes the hand-pulled “bucket” truck, and the soda and acid truck from Davenport, ND. Fargo’s horse drawn hose truck from the turn of the century is displayed, including the harness with hinged horse collar that hangs from the ceiling. The horses would walk to their position when the alarm sounded, and the driver would trip the harness holder allowing the harness to close and the horse wagon was ready to go.

Fargo’s 1930 Amaerican LaFrance 1000 GPM pumper is on display as well as the 1947 pumper and the American LaFrance 1000 aerial. The apparatus floor also includes various other pieces of firefighting equipment.

Upstairs was the living area where one or two men lived in the station to care for the horses. An interesting photo display shows fires, personnel and equipment. Many other artifacts are also on display, the original brass fire pole from the Moorhead, MN Fire station extends from the second floor to the apparatus floor.

Railroad Museum


The Railroad Museum houses various examples of railroad history including a wood snow wedge plow, a Northern Pacific passenger car and caboose. The highlight of the Railroad Museum is a steam locomotive used by the Northern Pacific Railroad and the Nez Perce and Idaho Railroad from 1883 to 1945. The engine was built by the New York Locomotive Works of Rome, New York in 1883 and given the shop number 39. It was constructed as a 4-4-0 type engine which has four large drive wheels, four smaller pivoting wheels and no trailing wheels behind the drive wheels. This type of engine was later designated the “American Type”.

On September 10th, 1883, two days after the Northern Pacific Railroad was completed, engine NYLW 39 arrived for duty and given the designation Number 684. The engine worked mostly on the Northern Pacific’s Main Line in Montana and Idaho. As larger engines were produced, Number 684 was sent further east for use on less mountainous terrain sometimes serving tourist areas as a glamorous “old timer” of the early steam era. By the late 1920s, the Northern Pacific had no need for the out of date steam engine and retired it from duty.

The Nez Perce and Idaho Railroad purchased the engine in 1928 and was renamed the NP&I No. 4. The Nez Perce and Idaho Railroad was a small operation with only one locomotive and a total of thirteen miles of track between Craigmont and Nez Perce, Idaho. Only a few freight cars of grain or other commodities were handled at any time. Often, the engine could only handle two cars at a time due to the steep grade. By 1945, the NP&I needed an engine that could pull heavier loads and engine No. 4 was pushed off a spur of the NP&I tracks, in a field near Nez Perce.

In 1948, an appeal was made that the Northern Pacific collect relics of its past and found old Number 684 in the field where the Nez Perce and Idaho had left it. The Northern Pacific bought the engine back from the NP&I in 1951. The original track leading to the engine had been removed so the Northern Pacific built temporary tracks out to the engine to recover it. A crew worked over 16 hours to return the engine to its tracks and then dragged it to the Northern Pacific repair shop in Spokane, WA for refurbishing.

Despite missing parts, layers of rust and peeling paint, only moderate restoration was needed. Original blueprints were used during the restoration. One year after being rescued from a field in Idaho, engine Number 684 was back in operation once again. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the Northern Pacific held various exhibitions along its railroad system displaying the old engine. After years of a traveling as an exhibit, the engine was stored in a Northern Pacific roundhouse for many years. Eventually, because of various railroad mergers, the engine needed to be removed from the roundhouse and found a permanent home here at the Cass County Historical Society.

Herb Banks, the General Foreman who worked getting Number 684 restored, summed up the importance of the American Standard class of steam engine when he said, “The American Standard’s history from 1837 to the late [1880s] is full of deeds of conquest over wilderness and trackless wastes – the bitter cold and mountainous snows and battles against almost insurmountable obstacles which they fought to settle the frontiers of the nation… No other single item has done more to make our country great than the Standard – by uniting vast territories into one nation and converting gloomy untrodden forests, dismal swamps and pathless prairies into prosperous states and fertile farms.”

Steam Museum


Telephone Museum


Enter the first telephone museum in North Dakota. The Telephone Pioneers of America converted the old Tower City, ND, hardware store into a communications museum. The displays illustrate telecommunications throughout the 20th century with receivers, switching equipment and line insulators which were made of glass. Phone operators connected all calls before direct dialing, which was common by the 1940’s, and often slept in the office.

Trangsrud Elevator


The Trangrude elevator was originally built as a grainary in the early 1900’s near Kindred, ND by Amund Trangsrud and his son, Henry. The scale and elevator were added later, most likely in the 1920’s.

The building consist of a drive through scale and grain shoot, 30 foot elevator and ten bins that hold a combined 6,300 bushels of grain. The elevator was in continuous use by the Trangsrud family until the 1970’s. In 2009, the elevator was moved to Bonanzaville along with the Trangsrud farmhouse which is now located in the southeast corner of Bonanzaville.

Trangsrud  House


The Transgrud House was constructed around 1871. Amund Trangsrud emigrated from Norway to Cass County in 1870. Seven years later, he married Rikka Myrah and moved into this house where they lived until a larger house was built in 1908. The old house continued to be used as a bunkhouse for hired men during the summer, and was eventually used as storage.

Amund and Rikka's grandson, Hank and his wife Joyce, began restoring the house in the early-1980's and donated the house, along with a grain elevator, to Bonanzaville in 2009

U-R Next Barber Shop


Built around 1900, this barber shop was originally located in Buffalo, ND. W.J. Frederick first operated it as the “City Tonsorial Parlor.” From 1909-1964, Lewis Easton owned and operated it as the “U-R Next Barber Shop.” Easton was also a law enforcement officer and it was reported that he would sometimes run out of his shop and give a speeding ticket to someone racing through Buffalo on the highway. Before Buffalo had a city water system, the U-R Next had running water. Easton’s son Donal, would fill the large galvanized tub above the ceiling in the back entry using a bucket. The two water pipes went to the tub/shower and to the sink in the main room. The pipe carrying cold water went directly to the shower/tub, the other pipe when through a small, coal-fire water heater.

Many of the artifacts here are original to the shop, including the wood and glass-backed bar with the marble top and wooden barber chairs. Combs and razors were kept in a small glass container marked “ANTISEPTIC.” A glass showcase used for candy and cigars still sits in the shop where it did during operation. The desk and chair are in their original places. The mug rack housed personalized shaving mugs belonging to their regular customers.

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