PRAIRIE POST FOR JULY 19, 2011
It was a very busy time, in July, 1937, for Company H and Battery F of the North Dakota National Guard. These were the units here in Jamestown and all of their activities were right here in town.
First off there was Governor’s Day. Obviously, on Governor’s Day you invite the Gov. In this case it brought William Langer to town. He headlined a day that included a parade, baseball games, speeches and a few races.
Langer was early in his second term as governor. He served from 1933 to 1934 before being removed from office after charges of impropriety. He was cleared of the charges and reelected to the top office in the state in 1936.
The parade was led by the official Governor’s band from New Rockford along with all various local and regional parade groups. This was followed by a barbecue lunch in the park at noon.
Evidently the organizers of the event thought a political speech right after a heavy lunch might put the crowd to sleep. They gave everyone a break until 2 p.m. when Langer spoke to the crowd.
This was followed by horse, pony and bicycle races at the fairground. The baseball game featured the Adrian and Ypsilanti squads.
And to make it all loud and official, Battery F of the North Dakota National Guard fired a 17 gun salute to the governor.
But that was not all the the National Guard was busy with in July, 1937.
It seems they had a little trouble with vermin at the North Dakota State Hospital. Big time exterminators were called in to fumigate all the buildings.
Two or three squads of the local National Guard units were called out to guard the buildings during the fumigation process. An article in the Jamestown Sun on July 13 also suggested the guardsmen would play a part in guarding patients at the hospital during the fumigation process.
And it was quite a process.
The gasses used to fumigate the buildings were so toxic a single breath of air from within the building could be deadly even a day or two after the fumigation. The guardsmen were charged with keeping the public, patients and staff away from the buildings during the process.
The whole cleaning process was expected to last up to 10 days with the gasses intended to penetrate every crack and crevice of the patient care buildings.
The Sun article described the buildings at the State Hospital as “unspeakably filthy” and infested with “lice, bedbugs and cockroaches.”
The local National Guardsmen dealt with politicians and cockroaches in the same week. Those of you that are pessimistic about our political system may wonder how they told them apart.