Rutland Depot Jumps the Tracks

Adapted from an article originally written in 2008

For 100 years the Great Northern, later the Burlington Northern, depot had occupied the same location, north of the tracks and east of First Street, in Rutland. On June 1, 1987, a moving crew, commanded by Nick Schmidt, Wyndmere, picked the building up and moved it to new location one block south on the corner of First and Arthur Street, in Rutland. The depot now faces east. Once the center for commerce and information in the community, the 28′ X 60′ structure is now used as a Heritage Center for the Rutland community, “The Depot Museum.”

In 1886 the Great Northern Railroad laid track as far west as Rutland. The following year the Railroad was extended southwest to Aberdeen, and west, to Ellendale. During this year the Great Northern had a complex of buildings, including the depot, a water tower, coal dock, roundhouse and section house, constructed in Rutland to service its equipment and serve its customers. The business of the railroad was to move freight and the east half of the depot was a freight warehouse. The west half was a passenger waiting room. The office was located between the freight house and waiting room. Telegraph operators were on duty round the clock to send and receive messages and to relay messages to stations on the Aberdeen and Ellendale lines. Two freight trains and two passenger trains stopped in Rutland each day on the Aberdeen line. Another train originated in Rutland and made a round trip to Ellendale each day. The Ellendale line was extended to Forbes, N. D. in 1905 and was known as the Forbes line thereafter.

Mr. Bagley was the Great Northern’s first agent in Rutland. He gave his name to one of Rutland’s streets and is said to have contributed the name of his home town, Rutland, Vermont, to the new village on the prairie. At that time the agent’s pay was partly based on the volume of business transacted at his station. Because Rutland was a junction point and the station was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the business volume was greater than at other stations and the pay was correspondingly higher. Although this system was changed in later years it made the agent’s job a desirable one in the early days.

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Hens Do Crow! May 8, 2020

The custom of distributing May Baskets on May Day has almost, but not quite, disappeared from American culture. Those who grew up in the 1950’s remember making small baskets from cupcake papers, putting some candies and maybe even a flower blossom into the basket and then hanging them on the doorknobs of those for whom they held special affection. The custom was that the basket was to be delivered stealthily and included the requirement that a recipient who discovered the basket being delivered was to chase down and kiss the delivering party.  Young boys and girls ran very fast when they were 8 or 9 years old but got a lot slower by the time they were teen-agers. Last Friday, May 1, three youngsters from the Rutland community — Paislee Pherson, Brooklyn Pherson, and Kyler Pherson — accompanied by their grandmother, Ione Pherson, revived the old May Day tradition by delivering May Baskets to several homes here. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the kissing part of the custom was suspended this year. The Pherson kids are the daughters and son of Brian and Lyndsee Pherson of this community.

State and national regulations and recommendations intended to prevent, or at least slow, the spread of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, have had a dramatic effect upon individuals and communities throughout the country. In North Dakota, bars, restaurants, hair salons, barbershops and other businesses were closed by the Governor’s Executive Order back in mid-March. Many of these businesses have been allowed to reopen, on a limited basis, as of Friday, May 1. In Rutland, though, the Lariat Bar has remained closed. Most bars in Sargent County had elected to continue their off-sale liquor and takeout food business during the shutdown, but Mike Pyle and Jeremy Becker, who have been operating the Lariat Bar for the past four or five years, elected to lock the door and walk away, leaving their patrons dry, but not high. This is the first time that a bar has not been operating on Lots 9 & 10, Block 2 of Cooper’s Addition in Rutland since prohibition ended back in 1933. Back then, Ingwald “Ink” Skoglund, who had been operating an ice cream store and café at the location, obtained a liquor license and reconfigured his business as a liquor establishment known as Ink’s Bar. In 1947 Ink sold the business to Bud & Toddles Bohn, and the name was changed to Bohn’s Bar. Bud & Toddles remodeled and redecorated the premises in 1953, and renamed the business “The Lariat Bar,” the name by which it has been known ever since. Other owners and operators of the Lariat since 1958 include: Ronald Donaldson; Darwin & Kathy Brakke; Calvin Jacobson, Boyd Jacobson Jr. & Art Carlson; Dead Eye Dick Povlitzki; Bruce & Paula Meiers; Norman & Rita Preble; Janice Christensen; Bradley & Rebecca Christensen; and, Mike Pyle & Jeremy Becker. The original bar building was moved from the site it had occupied since the 1890’s back in 2009, and the owner at that time, Janice Christensen, had the current Lariat Bar building constructed on the site, retaining much of the original ambiance, including the western motif mural on the north wall, the classic antique backbar and the wagon wheel chandeliers. Janice also promoted the business, had consistent hours, and provided service with a smile, three attributes that it is hoped any future owner will bring to The Lariat, a Rutland community institution since 1933.

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The Rooster Crows – 9/13/19

By Bill Anderson

Rain, rain, rain!  With the rest of the world experiencing global warming, North Dakota, as usual, is bucking the trend. The Winter of 2018-19 was brutal, with more cold and snow than mortals should have to endure, the last blizzard was in mid-April, the snow didn’t go away until May and the temperature didn’t warm up until the end of June. July seemed to be hot only because it was warmer than June with higher humidity, and the weather has been cool and damp since the beginning of August. Now September has begun with 6 inches of rain in the first 10 days of the month, the same pace it hit back when Noah built the Ark. We are looking forward to an Indian Summer by the end of the month, but you have to have a Summer before you get an Indian Summer, don’t you?

Mr. Keith Olson of Minneapolis was in Rutland over the Labor Day Weekend visiting friends and family here. Keith is the son of the late Morris and Marcine (McNeil) Olson, Rutland natives who maintained loyalty and affection for their home community throughout their lives. Violet (Olson) Wyum; Shirley (Olson) Mahrer; and, Sharon (McNeil) Pearson are Mr. Olson’s aunts. Keith reports that his twp sisters also reside in the suburbs of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. He was heading for home on Wednesday, September 4, but stated that he plans to be back in Rutland for Uff-Da Day on Sunday, October 6.

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