Altringer called to order the Tax Equalization meeting. Burke County Tax Director Kris Hillaert presented her recommendations. Ted Hawbaker said he felt the assessment on the 78.02 acres in Section 60-164-91 is too high. Hillaert said the assessment is based on soil type, she will supply Council with the details. Motion Sjue, second Melton, to adjourn the Tax Equalization and reconvene Monday, April 10th at 4:00 p.m. All in favor, motion carried.
Altringer called the regular meeting back to order.
Jeff Johnston outlined the plans for the installation of fuel pumping station. Council discussed issues of parking, traffic control, electrical and building code requirements.
Sjue reported on his meeting with DOT & Ulteig Engineering on the proposed Highway 52 project.
Ed Kremer said he has been paying for city services on his EDP property based on total occupancy of four but two of the units have been vacant for 12 months. He has also been paying for city services on his property located at 114 Main street which has been vacant since August 2016. Kremer requests a refund. Motion Sjue, second Keesler, to compensate Kremer $1,240.00. All in favor, motion carried. Kremer also asked Council to lift the manhole on 2nd Avenue; Sjue said Price Asphalt has agreed to do so when they are in the area.
ND Department of Health issued a Safe Drinking Water Act Certificate of Achievement recognizing Larry Wangsness for a job well done from which the consumers benefitted.
State Historical Society of North Dakota Foundation thanked the City for its financial support.
ND State Procurement Office offers a free cooperative purchasing service that government entities can use. Council authorizes Auditor Larsen to take advantage of this service.
ND Insurance Reserve Fund will hold its annual meeting Wednesday, May 10. As no one will be able to attend, Council authorizes Auditor Larsen to sign and return proxy.
David Gunderson requests a building permit to install an 8'x10' steel storage shed on lots 12-16 of Block 6, Olsen's First addition.
On behalf of Gateway Cities Golf Club, Arlan Espeseth requests a seasonal on-sale liquor/beer license.
Larry Wangsness gave his maintenance report; lift station is full due to the water coming in from sump pumps. Wangsness also said he has meter idlers on hand; the installation fee is $25.00; anyone concerned should contact either Larry or Auditor Larsen.
Motion Fitchner, second Melton, to approve the minutes of the March meeting as presented. All in favor, motion carried.
Motion Fitchner, second Melton, to approve the ﬁnancial reports as presented. All in favor, motion carried.
Auditor Larsen said she met with Divide County Commissioners requesting permission to engage the services of D.C. States Attorney Seymour Jordan as Portal’s Attorney of Record. Mr. Jordan asked for some time to consider the complexities before making a commitment to Portal. Council advised Auditor to explore other options with Burke County States Attorney Amber Fiesel and ND Bar Association.
The resignation of Steve Larsen as mayor also leaves a vacancy on the Portal Municipal Gas Company Canada Inc. Auditor Larsen has contacted David Both at Fasken—Martineau for advice on how to change the Board of Directors.
Sjue will coordinate details of sidewalk replacement on Main Street.
Council discussed ongoing drainage problems.
Motion Melton, second Sjue, to grant David Gunderson request for a building permit for a fee of $25.00. All in favor, motion carried.
Motion Sjue, second Melton, to grant Gateway Cities Golf Club request for seasonal on—sale liquor/beer license at a fee of $400.00. All in favor, motion carried.
Northwest Veterinary will be at the Community Center Saturday May 13 to administer pet vaccinations, Auditor Larsen will attend to issue pet licenses. All dogs and cats must be registered as to sex, breed, name & address of owner and pet. The fee is $10.00 annually for each male dog, male cat, spayed female cat and spayed female dog; $20.00 annually for each female dog or cat that is not spayed. The owner must present a letter or certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian as proof. in conjunction with the pet clinic, the Council plans to organize a city clean-up and complimentary lunch. Details will be posted on the community bulletin board at the Post Office and online at www.portalnorthdakota.com.
Altringer said there are persons interested in hosting a rummage and vendor sale at the Community Center possibly in June. Anyone wishing to participate should contact Debra Altringer or the auditor. Further details will be posted when available.
Auditor Larsen will be out of the ofﬁce April 17-23.
Motion Sjue, second Fitchner, to pay bills as presented. All in Favor, motion carried.
Motion Keesler, second Fitchner, to adjourn. All in favor, motion carried.
Reconvene Tax Equalization Meeting Monday April 10 at 4:00 pm.
Next regular scheduled meeting Wednesday, May 3 at 7:00 pm.
All American Towing 8: Repair—$850.00
B&G Oilﬁeld Services—$900.00
First District Health Unit—$22.00
Fargo Water Equipment/DSG—$117.19
NOTICE TO THE TAXPAYERS
Portal City Council was unable to satisfy all concerns at the April 5th meeting with Burke County Tax Equalization. Council will re-convene with BC Tax Equalization 4:00 p.m. Monday, April 10. Public is welcome to attend.
Below is a brief history of Wally Iverson and his family, provided by his daughter, Nicole. Many of our readers will remember Wally as a larger-than-life personality who lived and worked for many years for the Soo Line Railroad in Portal. Wally has since passed away but his memory will live on for many of us who were fortunate enough to have known him.
I was born at home on a farm near Flaxton, North Dakota to Gus and Alpha Iverson. I had 2 sisters, Wanda and Trilby. Our house burned down when I was 7 years old and we lived in a granary for the next 7 years until we were able to move to a neighboring farm. I went to a county school through 7th grade. At this time I used to hunt skunks and keep them alive in a steel granary until the fall when the fur became prime. I fed them rats and meat scraps from the butcher shop in Flaxton. I would skin them and sell the hides for $3.50 each. There were many years I would have fifteen to twenty to sell. That was pretty good money for a kid in those days.
I graduated from high school in Flaxton. When l was 17, my dad was called for jury duty in Fargo. I took his threshing machine out and threshed the neighbor's crops while he was gone. He had a 24 inch separator and a Twin City tractor. I used the same crew dad had, 5 bundle teams, a grain hauler and a spike pitcher. I threshed for 4 of our neighbors before dad came home to finish up.
Then, I enlisted in the U.S.Navy and went to boot camp in Cor d' Alene, Idaho. I volunteered for the submarines and was sent to New London, Connecticut for training. We had to go through a lot to see if we could handle life on a sub. I had to go in a tank and let the pressure build up. 2 men started hollering so we had to let the pressure out and let them out. Then we went to a tower 100 feet high and had to build up the pressure so we could open the hatch and go out into the water, hang onto a rope and go up 16 feet, count to 10, and go over a knot in the rope to the next one. We had on Munston lungs so we could breath. When we got to the top we closed the lung and paddled to the side and crawled out. Then we fell in and had to go to a building and crawl up thirty feet on a rope. Then do 20 push-ups and after all of that they said, “Fall in for swimming”. I told my buddy there was no way I would pass as I couldn't swim. He said, "Give me your dog tags" He swam his lap, the came back around and swam mine. It worked! The next morning my name appeared on the bulletin board as Iverson 1st Class Swimmer.
I never had to get in the water again! We also spent time on the fleet subs in the Atlantic Ocean for training on the submarines.
After qualifying I was sent to San Diego, California for sonar training on old 0 boat submarines. From there we went to Treasure Island in San Francisco, before shipping out to Pearl Harbor. While in Hawaii I was sent to the bakery to become a baker. After this I was assigned to the Balao 285, a fleet submarine, and we headed for Japan. While in route the war ended so we returned to Pearl Harbor and I was attached to the Nereus, a sub tender as a 3rd class baker and was in charge of the bake shop.
We went to Sasabo Bay, Japan and took over 34 Japanese submarines for 3 weeks. Then we took them out to sea and sank 30 of them. The Russians took 4 home. (They didn't sink theirs...) The Japanese crews were still on their boats when we took them over. They had rats running loose throughout the subs to detect if the batteries were leaking. They were even on the tables eating with the sailors. They took the subs out into the ocean and we took the crews back to shore before sinking the subs. There were stops in Subic Bay in Manila, Philippines and San Diego before being discharged in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
My Uncle Del and I bought a butcher shop in Flaxton and we ran it for 4 years. I did most of the butchering for the shop and also for the farmers in the area. After 4 years I sold out and wait to Minneapolis to the Gale Institute to learn telegraphy and railroad accounting. After 2 months I returned to Flaxton and hired out as an agent and operator on the Soo Line Railroad.
I married Eva Lou Erickson while I was at the butcher shop in Flaxton. I bid in as a second trick operator on the Soo and we stayed in Flaxton for 4 years until I bid at Portal as a swing operator. We had 2 children, Nicole and Steven while living in Flaxton arid Tim and Scott were born while we were in Portal. We lived there 23 years and I worked all the operator jobs and relieved agents when they went on vacation.
I was Commander of the American Legion, a 3rd class master Mason, Chairman of the Hall Board, City Alderman, Assistant Fire Chief and Assistant Boy Scout leader. I was a school bus driver, bartender, owned and operated a sewer pumping business to clean sewer tanks. A number of times I helped barbecue beef, pigs and sheep. We would invite the surrounding towns to come to the parties. We had a great time. This was done in pits with burned wood, trees and railroad ties.
For fun, I trapped fox in the fall. I got pretty proficient at this. I would catch 40 - 45 a year, skin them and sell them to Mint Hide and Fur. I would also catch raccoons, mink and skunks. I also tamed a coyote, fox, raccoon, skunk, beaver and I even caught a muskrat. One evening when Eva was at Eastern Star, I had to wash the oil out of a skunk skin so I put it in Eva's washer but forgot to clean out the hair. The next time she washed clothes it sounded like an Atomic bomb went off. Boy was she mad! We walked very quietly for a while after that. We also hunted every year during deer season. I made sausage and smoked meat and fish. She was a very good wife to have put up with all of way shenanigans.
In 1973, I was promoted to Assistant Train Master and Official Agent at Minot, Worth Dakota. My 250 mile territory included lines from Kenmore to Blsbee, Drake to Devils Lake, Drake to New Town, Flaxton to Whitetail and Balfor to Portal. In 1975, I was promoted to a full Train Master. We had 5 derailments in the first year I was in charge for the transportation department. That was a good year! I retired in 1898 after 36 years of railroading.
My son Steve worked for the State Department and was head of security at the embassy in Djibouti, Africa. He invited me to visit him and his wife Lou. The day after I arrived Lou and I took a sailboat trip on the Indian Ocean to Septfrepres and on the return trip we stopped and did a little fishing. We did a lot of sightseeing before we flew to Nairobi where Steve was on business. Lou and I went on 3 safari trips; then the 3 of us went to the Mount Kenya Safari Club for a few days and then another safari. We flew to Lake Victoria for a fishing trip and caught 65 lb. perch. Then it was on to Kichwapempo for some more sightseeing.
When Steve and Lou moved to Australia I was able to visit for 6 weeks. It was some trip! Steve was in charge of security at the embassy and George and Barbara Bush were visiting. I was able to attend a party held for embassy staff. Lou had her picture taken with George but I chose Barbara and the Ambassador's wife. Got some pretty good hugs from both. We also made time for a trip to Tasmania for some albacore fishing.
Speaking of fishing I had some great fishing trips with my 3 sons and surrogate son Gordon Sjue. We fished the Atlantic and Pacific, Alaska, Canada and Mexico and parts in-between. So many good memories!
Eva died 1986 and Steve in 2010. His death really left a big hole in my heart. But life must go on. I married Delores Coons in Hawaii in 1988 and together we danced our way through just about every state in the union. We were married 18 years.
After I sold my house I moved into a beautiful assisted living facility in Minot. I lived at the View for 7 years and made many good friends there. In 2013 I moved to the Vet's Home in Lisbon, N.D. Boy, this is a wonderful place. The residents and staff are excellent. And, it has been nice being close to Tim and Mary and grandsons Sid and Tanner.
I have had lots of hobbies over the years. Tim got me started on the computer and I spent 2 years researching the genealogy on both sides of my family, got interested in making vehicles out of pop cans, whittling, knitting and making pictures out of snuff cans. I read every Louis Lamoure book he ever wrote. And of course I have always loved to bake. Fudge and Rice Krispie bars were two of my favorites.
This past August we had a family reunion in Horace at Tim's house. Everyone was able to make it and we had a wonderful time. I have 4 children, 8 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. I have been truly blessed.
On October 6, 2015 I celebrated my 90th birthday at the Vets home. I'd say, all things considered, I've had quite a life!
Pertinent information: Moose are becoming a more common part of everyday life in many areas of North Dakota.
For additional information please visit www.gf.nd.gov/private-land-programs/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of our readers will recognize the photo of Bud and Anne Davidson and may have even attended their auction sale in 1968. Both were characters of days gone by in Portal. Bud or "Dinky Bill" as most of us remember him hawked newspapers on the streets and could always be found at the Soo Line Depot when the passenger train arrived. Anne ran the sundries store and was a bit scary to us as small children in the mid 1950s. A fire badly damaged the store in the 1960s. An auction sale was held and the St. John's Catholic Church was the beneficiary.
If anyone has an interesting story or anecdote about them please send it to me from this web site and I will include it.
I would like the thank the late Bud Granrud for the photo and Charles and Jean Altringer for the auction sale poster. The poster has been framed and will hang and can be viewed in the Portal State Bank museum.
The above wagon is a replica of the wagons used to haul boron out of Death Valley in the 1800s. It is being built in a shop in Joliet, Montana. He is making two wagons which will be in the Rose Bowl Parade this year. Each wagon holds 10 tons of boron. Twenty mules pulled two wagons and a 1200 gallon water tender to water the mules. This shop made two wheels for the old hand-pulled fire truck used in Portal at the turn of the century. When the tank is refinished in a weeks time it will be put on permanent display in the Portal Memorial Park. Once displayed, I will post photos.
Since Veterans' Day is upcoming, I thought we should remember it with the following dedication presented on April 30, 1943. It is important to honor, not only these veterans, but all from Portal who have served their country in times of conflict or in times of peace.
Another big thank you to the attendees of the 2014 Portal Reunion. With the remaining money the Reunion Committee has purchased 64 chairs for the Community Center. We will be retiring most, if not all, of the old folding chairs upon which so many of us spent more than a few uncomfortable hours.
Lights have been installed to illuminate the new Portal sign. The citizens of Portal and the Portal Reunion Committee would like to thanks reunion attendees whose generous donations made it possible. The lights will always be on when you come home for a visit.
Ada Tarevell Swennumson was born in York, England on October 23, 1868. After the death of her father she immigrated to the United States in about 1871 with her mother, Grace, and two siblings. In Des Moines Iowa at the age of about 13 Ada found employment as a chambermaid in the Savoy Hotel. She later worked as the nanny to the children of the Governor of Iowa. Ada subsequently married John Swennumson a farmer in the New Hampton, Iowa area. In Ada’s words "it was a marriage of convenience with no real courtship". He needed children to help with the farm and she needed security.
Ada Swennumson with grandchild, circa 1935
John’s father and three brothers traveled to North Dakota and homesteaded in the Petersburg area. Ada and John soon followed and opened a butcher shop. Three sons, John, Glen and James were born in Petersburg. After a short time in Petersburg they sold the butcher shop, traveled to northwest North Dakota and homesteaded near Short Creek north of Columbus. They built a house on the homestead to prove up their claim and had three additional children, Grace, who died at age one, Anna and Esther. John became disenchanted with farming and moved his family to Portal where he opened a butcher shop. He retained the homestead and purchased a half-section of land in Saskatchewan near the border. Ada became active in the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) whose goal was to eliminate vices, such as, alcohol, gambling and prostitution. Earl claims that Ada’s active participation in the WCTU may have hurt business in her husband’s butcher shop as it was burglarized on numerous occasions.
John became a member of the Oddfellows Hall (IOOF) and Ada was active in the Rebekahs. As a member of the Presbyterian Church in 1915 the Ada and the Ladies Aid made a quilt naming Portal residents and area homesteaders. This quilt, now over 100 years old, was donated to the citizens of Portal by Earl Sutphen in October 2015. The quilt is maintained in the Portal State Bank and Museum.
Earl Sutphen's mother, Anna Garina Swennumson, was the eldest daughter of John and Ada Swennumson. What follows is Earl's recollection of conversations with her about her interesting life.
Anna was born in Short Creek Township approximately 10 miles west of Portal. She also had a sister Esther Irene Swennumson. Anna graduated from Portal High School around 1920. Anna was atheletic and enjoyed riding horses. After graduation she attended Minot State Teachers College where she met Earl's father, Earl Harold Sutphen. Despite the protests of her parents, they were married in 1925. With her husband's support, she became involved in training how to trick ride on horses and eventually joined the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. During the grand entry of her debut at Madison Square Gardens she was injured when her horse suddenly reared up. She continued to work for them for several years.
Anna Swennumson Sutphen (Sutton), Ringling Brothers-Barnum and Bailey Circus, 1926
As with other circus' of that era there was a main show and for an extra fee one could watch a wild west show. Anna's husband, Earl, was the manager of that show for Ringling Brothers. He was quite capable and well regarded. He was a first-rate horseman and roper. He also participated in rodeo work with Buffalo Bill's show. Earl Sutphen has letters that his father wrote to his father, John, from the Buffalo Bill Show in Council Bluffs, Iowa. In one letter he described the show and how he rode a bucking, loudly bellowing buffalo through the arena, shooting his pistol in the air. Earl and Buffalo Bill developed a close friendship and decided to write a book about the show. Apparently the book was never written.
During those early years Anna performed with various circuses besides Ringling Brothers. They included, Rodgers Brothers, Cole Brothers and Hagenbeck-Wallace. In 1930 Earl's brother, Cody, was born in Owassa, Michigan. He was immediately sent to Portal to reside with his grandparents, John and Ada Swennumson. At one point Anna's sister Esther joined them and they became known at The Three Suttons as Earl had changed his name from Sutphen to Sutton. He retained that name until his death in 1974. He is buried in Ekalaka, Montana. His son Earl never saw his father until he met him at a fair in Chicago in 1948 some 16 years after his birth.
Anna Swennumson Sutphen (Sutton) riding Rusty, Cole Brother's Circus, circa 1940
In 1932 Anna Sutphen now called Sutton, returned to Portal with her second son Earl. As was his brother Cody, Earl was quickly turned over to his grandparents for them to raise. Anna returned to show business and traveled to Europe on the Queen Mary with rodeo promoter Sy Compton. During that time Earl's father was drinking heavily and carousing around. Compton went broke in Europe. The return to the US was a somewhat less glorious voyage on a cattle boat. Soon after returning to the US, Anna and Earl separated and later divorced. Anna continued to work for various circuses from 1933 to 1935. In 1941 or 1942, Anna married Pete Glade a renowned bronc rider and rodeo performer. During WWII, he broke horses for the US Army at Ft. Sill. Later on he owned his own livestock and performed at rodeos and fairs.
In the early 1930s, Anna would return to Portal at Christmastime to see her children. Earl recalls fondly his days growing up in Portal. His grandparents were not well off financially. Earl can remember his grandparents trading butter and eggs for groceries at various stores. Earl can still recall how well he was treated by Portal residents and he says Portal will always be strongly linked to his heart.
Pete Glade and Anna developed a rodeo act after the war. His star animals were a beautiful, tall, half thoroughbred horse named Gypsy and indian paint called Jerry. Earl joined them in 1945 in Hempstead, Long Island and learned the rodeo/fair business. Pete rode saddle broncs and Anna trick rode. Earl recalls performing in rodeos in several cities in the Northeast. He learned to trick ride, rope and the show business end of rodeos. When the war ended, Earl can remember his mother was so excited she jumped up and down in the trailer and knocked it off its jacks.
Earl attended school in Portal but returned to the rodeo when school was out. He performed in several states in the midwest and south. His mother was the star of the rodeo. She was immaculately dressed and always had excellent horses.
In about 1947, Anna's husband Pete bought a ranch in Wasta, South Dakota. His idea was to raise stock and perform at local rodeos and fairs. Earl worked on the ranch during summer vacation. That year they were offered a very good contract to perform at the Chicago Railroad Fair and several other shows in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Pete Glade decided he did not want to do anymore shows so Anna hired an old friend, Harold George.
In 1949 Pete Glade still did not want to go out on the road. Anna answered an ad looking for trick riders. Bill Bomburg, an old friend hired her immediately. She was paid $75 per week and furnished livestock. Anna and Earl trick rode that summer. Anna returned to Wasta and severed her relationship with Peter Glade. She then returned to the Rodgers Brothers Circus and took up with and later married an Irishman named Jim Conway. Conway had extensive experience with gaited horses and show horses. He provided riding lessons to rich people and eventually wound up in Bangor, Maine. Anna joined her husband there and joined the Dressers and Stage Union. Jim joined the State Hand Union. Thus began a new chapter in the life of Anna and Earl.
Anna became a dresser for Broadway shows and worked as a supervisor for producer Harold Prince. She worked various shows including West Side Story. She was responsible for dressing the stars and caring for their wardrobes. Other shows she worked were A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum and the Sound Of Music, in which Florence Henderson played the lead. On one occasion while on stage, Ms. Henderson was distraced by Earl's younger sister, Susie, and caused a big fuss. Earl held a dislike for Ms Henderson from that day forward.
During this time, Jim worked on Broadway as a carpenter or fly-man or was dropping scenery during plays. This gypsy-like life was much different that the circus but was very interesting and included much travel. Anna's final show was in New York. It was the Follies staring Gene Nelson and Yvonne De Carlo.
Jim and Anna retired and bought a home in Sarasota, Florida. Jim continued to work shows at the Van Wezel Theatre, including one with Robert Goulet and Sammy Davis, Jr.
Earl's brother, Cody, also moved to Sarasota and started a successful antique shop. He died in 1966 and 11 days later Jim Conway passed away. Later in life, Anna moved to Montrose, Co. until she passed away at the age of 100 on December 30, 2005. She was interred along side Jim at Cedar Cemetery, Montrose, County. There are three surviving grandchildren of Ada and John Swennumson, Earl Sutphen, Patty Stebbins and Dick Swennumson.
Annual Drinking Water Quality Report
Portal, North Dakota 2015 (Download)
Following our successful 2014 Portal Reunion, we were faced with what to do with extra money our donors and attendees had contributed.
The Committee decided that the money should go to something that would benefit Portal and at the same time honor those who attended.
The decision was made to erect a Portal sign that is visible to those entering our town.
We wanted to ensure the sign reached into our past, hence the slogan "Gateway To The Great Northwest" and, with crossed American and Canadian flags, depicted the close ties we have enjoyed with our friends in North Portal for the last 100 plus years.
As with any small-town project, volunteers made it happen. The residents of Portal would like to thank Jim and Deb Altringer, Allen Larson, Lance Granrud, Roger Gulbranson, the Casey Baumann family, reunion attendees and all the hunters from my hunting camp.
Limited quantities of Whispers From A Press, Volumes 8, 9 and 10 are now available at $20 per volume. Email email@example.com to place an order.
We are coming up on the second anniversary of Portal's 2014 reunion. We are looking for photos to hang in our Gallery Section. Send as many as you want to firstname.lastname@example.org Also any other interesting Portal-related photos or stories that you might have would be greatly appreciated.