Dakota Datebook

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Amy Lybeck and other bowlers

Written by Merry Helm

March 8, 2021 — Today is Amy Lybeck’s birthday. She was born in 1916 to Justin and Olga Georgeson in Heimdal, and grew up with her eight siblings on her parents’ farm near Maddock.

Amy was an outstanding student, graduating as valedictorian of her class and lettering in track and basketball. When she later moved to Fargo, she worked at the Fargo Café and also for the Dakota Tractor Company. She married her husband, Earl Lybeck, in 1942, and together they raised three children.

The special thing about Amy was that you couldn’t keep her down. For example, she loved ballroom dancing, and for awhile, beginning in the 1960s, she and several other Fargo-Moorhead women did a Roaring ‘20s Charleston routine around town, including appearances on WDAY’s Party Line.

Then there were her two favorite sports – golfing and bowling. Even when she was in her 80s, she would often golf 18 holes in the morning and then play another round or two in the afternoon.

Amy’s 2003 obituary read, “Her hobbies didn’t stop there. When Amy wasn’t golfing, bowling, walking, or doing volunteer work at her church, she would knit, and knit and knit. Amy loved knitting, but more than that, she loved giving her work away. It will never be known the hundreds, if not thousands, of booties, scarf’s [sic], golf hoods, sweaters, afghans and stocking caps she has knit for friends, acquaintances and occasionally individuals who she will never have the pleasure of meeting.”

Amy didn’t start her true addiction – bowling – until she was past 40, but then played as though to make up for lost time. For the next 40 years or so, there were weeks when she bowled seven days a week – morning, afternoon and evening. In 2002, she was inducted into the FM Bowling Hall of Fame. She died the following year, at age 87, following a battle with cancer.

The year Amy was inducted into the Hall of Fame, another area woman bowler was making news at the Women’s International Bowling Congress Championship Tournament in Milwaukee. Nearly 42,000 bowlers competed in the tournament, competing for prizes totaling almost $1.4 million. Kathy Pausch, of Fargo-Moorhead, became the national champion in the Division 1 singles by rolling 206, 209, and 267-point games, for a series total of 682.

In 1998, another newsworthy bowler, Missy Miller of Bismarck, became the state’s highest all-time scorer in women’s bowling, scoring 846. In fact, Miller holds the nation’s fifth highest record for a four-game series for women, at 1,113 points.

North Dakota also holds a couple records under “Statistics and Oddities” in the Bowler’s Encyclopedia, which is used by the U.S. Bowling Congress. In 1979-80, a women’s Bismarck team called 178 Capitol Janitorial had the distinction of playing a duplicate game – that is, all four members of the team had identical scores in one game.

Also in the “oddities” category are three Bismarck women who grabbed the distinction of all winning state titles and also being … sisters. Elma Kavonius won the WBA Tournament in 1951 and ’54; Elna Kanvonius won the championship in ’56 and ’59; and sister Helen Kavonius took the title in ’62, ’69 and ’73.

Violin Thief

Written by Sarah Walker

March 9, 2021 — On this date in 1911, the Fargo newspaper reported on an interesting crime.

Professor Hendrickson, the main player and victim, lived a relatively quiet life. He worked at the Dakota Conservatory of Music in Fargo where he taught the art of music. The Conservatory existed among other offices in the upper floors of a newly-built, yellow brick three-story building. Surely, sweet melodies could be heard by passersby on the street.

The professors at the conservatory were also performers, and one night, as he practiced alone, Professor Hendrickson grew hungry, and in need of supper left his violin in his room.

It was a night like any other, except for one thing-when he came back, his violin was gone!

Professor Hendrickson panicked. His violin was worth $200-no mere trifle for a professor in 1911. Immediately, he contacted the police. The police worked quickly and within a half hour got back to him with good news. They had found the missing violin in a pawn shop.

The thief had pawned the instrument for a mere $5.00. Professor Hendrickson was relieved! Had the thief known the true value, he could have taken the violin directly to a large city and made a handsome profit.

In the end, though, the professor who lived a relatively quiet life-except when his students hit the occasional sour note-enjoyed a happy ending to the story. He paid the $5 to the pawn broker himself, and took the $200 violin, still safely nestled in its $25 case, home. In the meantime, the police obtained a description of the thief, and stayed confident that they would catch him.

And if the thief read the papers on this date, he received a little music lesson, too.

Outdoors Ordinances


Written by Tessa Sandstrom

March 10, 2021 — Today was another Saturday for legislators in 1951, and no doubt it was a day of much needed rest after a full week of decision-making. Much like this session, many of those decisions that week concerned outdoorsmen—both residents and nonresidents alike.

Legislators voted that Canadians, like all other nonresidents, were allowed to hunt, fish or trap in North Dakota, and all nonresidents could take fur-bearing animals from North Dakota—if other states permitted North Dakotans to do the same in their state.

Winter fishermen should also thank this legislature for the comfort they experience today, because this was the legislature that allowed the use of fishing houses for a $1 license. They’d better not be fishing crappies or perch, however, because they were added to the protected species list that session.

Lawrence Welk's birthday

Lawrence Welk March 11, 2021 — Today is Lawrence Welk’s birthday. He was born in 1903. For those few listeners who may have never heard of Welk, he was one of America’s most successful bandleaders.

Lawrence grew up in a sod house near Strasburg in south-central North Dakota. His first clear memory was of crawling to his father who was smiling and holding out an old accordion. Another favorite memory was of the day his brother John got married. Lawrence volunteered to stay home to do chores so he could play John’s accordion the entire day without being made to stop. From driving around the Northern Plains with his “Hotsy-Totsy Boys” Welk went to hosting a hugely popular TV show from Los Angeles.

Welk died in 1992, but his television shows are still a big draw – the present day specials produced from his old TV shows are almost always the top rated shows on Prairie Public. Some quarters, when Prairie Public runs a couple of his specials, Lawrence Welk is ranked, you could say, a-one and a-two.

Buster Goes Home

Written by Merry Helm

March 12, 2021 — It was on this date in 1915 that the Hansboro News reported the following story from Wolford, northeast of Rugby:

“Buster, the big, old bloodhound that has made his home at the Third Avenue livery barn since Meyers’ animal show was here last summer, walked, ran or trotted from Minot to Wolford, a journey of close to 100 miles, in less than twenty-four hours. Buster was shipped by express to a man named Olson, living in Minot, last week. He kept the animal tied up for a few days in order to accustom him to his new home but turned him loose for a little exercise.

The next seen or heard of Buster was when John Finkenbinder came down to the livery barn and found him at the door waiting to get in. How he found his way and covered the distance between Minot and Wolford in such a short space of time are among the things hard to explain.”


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