The Twenties

A test well was dug in Block 58 as the city prepared to begin work on the city water and sewer project.  All bids for excavating and concrete work for the tower abutments, reservoirs and pumphouse were rejected and the council voted to do that part of the work with day labor.  City street work was bid for 1920 with Court Bonewell the lower bidder at $8 per day with teams.  He underbid Stromme and Graby who submitted a bid for $10 a day, and Theo. Aaker at 85 cents per hour.

The project included city well, pump house, water tower, reservoir, hydrants, easement and purchase of land for sewer outfall, and an undetermined number of blocks of water and sewer lines which form the nucleus of today's city water system.  Many of the original mains are still in use.  As nearly as can be determined, the price of the work was less than $250,000.

In September the city bought an acre of land from Frank Pfeifer for septic tank purposes.  Thor Hetager was named official water tapper, and M. Cussons was to man the pumps in time of emergency.

A controversy developed with the water system contractor and the council voted to withhold final payment of $810 until the city had determined that the street crossings were in satisfactory condition.  This refers to the extensions of the sidewalks crossing the streets at the corners to keep pedestrians out of the mud.

The year 1921 was notable for a couple of things: one was that the city election was held on the wrong day and at the wrong hours.  It could have been worse.  Since the election had been well publicized in advance, it was declared legal.

The other was that North Dakota Highway 7 (Rollin Avenue) was graveled through the city limits.  The city asked for government aid and appropriated $900 as its share, later adding another $700.  The city levied $12,000 in taxes that year.  Salaries for Halvor Sharpe, street commissioner, Martin Rood, chief of police, and the night watchman, not named, were $100 a month.

In 1923 yet another dog ordinance was passed.  The council found it necessary that year to fence the dump ground to confine the rubbish.

During the 1920's several of Cooperstown's original frame buildings began to disintegrate.  Many had suffered small fires and had been abandoned.  Downtown Cooperstown's most serious fire of all time destroyed four buildings at the corner of Ninth and Burrell in 1929.

Some of them were replaced with new buildings, others were demolished and the space stood vacant.  Among those replaced were the old Palace Hotel at the southeast corner of Block 60, and the frame buildings at the middle of the south side of Block 60.  The Palace Motors building, now occupied by Sheyenne Tool and Die and the brick "Penney Store" building now occupied by Coast to Coast are from that era.  In 1930 the brick buildings now housing the Oasis and the dress shop were constructed.

In 1925, Robert Allen was granted a license to operate a dance hall in the Marquardt opera house (about where the Coachman Inn now stands) for three months.  That year the water tower was painted for $150 and a light put on top.

A public rest room was provided jointly by the Commercial Club and the city.  Later the Order of Eastern Star offered to install a public drinking fountain.  (Cooperstown eventually had two public fountains; one in front of what is now the Oasis, the other in front of the theater.)

From time to time the council invoked the city fire code.  Erick Erickson's smokehouse for his meat market was ordered removed, and R. Anderson was ordered to remove all additions to his icehouse that were not fireproof.

Approval was given to the telephone company's request to dig a ditch for cable on 9th street in 1926.

That was also the year when the electrical system was converted from direct current to alternating current.

After a lapse of a few years the city once more hired a supervisor for the city playground on the east half of Block 58.  The city park system at that time also included the block where the water tower stands.  When the council gave approval for tourist camping at the city park; that was probably the park they meant.

In 1929 the council acted on a communication from the school board regarding schoolboys frequenting pool halls.  The police department was instructed to warn the establishments about the law and ask them to remedy the situation.

Cooperstown's golfers played on a course at the fairgrounds.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial page 31

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