For the Bowman County Development Commission, there were seven chances to find a dream.
And they even provided maps for the visitors to track down some local treasures and places to build their own dreams.
The driving and walking tour of Bowman commercial properties was designed to show off the chances for people to dream again and find homes for new businesses, according to the members of the county development commission.
The “On the Market” tour started July 13 in the now-vacant ShopKo building along Highway 12, then moved downtown to the former Sears building, Hibachi House, Dales, Hawks Landing, Schmit’s and finally the Super Valu where it ended with grilled hamburgers and hot dogs served up in its parking lot.
At the Shopko site, Brooklyn Engelhart explained to the more than 70 visitors that each of the locations had a history of business success.
“At every location there will be activities. a history, architectural renderings of what the places could look like. The purpose of tonight is to spark ideas. We want you to share your dreams and your visions for Bowman with us. We want to share it with others and discuss it with others.
“Some of our places have history. We know there is some gaps, but we know some of you have been here for a long time and we want you to help us fill in those gaps,” she said, her voice echoing in the large vacant building.
A motto for the event was “Relive and Reimagine.”.... and the group set up large chalkboards at the locations for suggestions about future uses.
At the Shopko building, the suggested uses left on of the chalkboard included Target, indoor mini golf and laser tag, an evangelical church, trampoline park, roller-skating rink, Tractor Supply and a tech/trade school.
The 25,660 square-foot building is available for both sales or leasing, according to the flyer handed out to the visitors.
103 North Main
The second stop on the tour was the old Sears building (103 North Main) where a Mexican restaurant closed earlier this year. Historically, the building started as the Carter Hotel in 1907, then became the Rudolph Hotel three years later and became the Clara Lincoln Hotel in 1942.
It became a Sears catalog store in 1975, then became apartments in 2006.
The Arqueros restaurant closed on the main floor earlier this year.
17 North Main Street
One of the smaller locations on the tour was the former home of the Hibachi House restaurant, which closed in 2019.
The restaurant site has slightly less than 4,000 square feet at 17 North Main Street and the location has been a restaurant or cafe for most of its history, In the early 1900s, it was the Cozy Cafe, then became Gene’s Restaurant in 1962.
In between, it was the location of Frank’s General Store when the original building was torn down in 1962 and transformed in to the Gene’s Restaurant until it became Big J’s Restaurant in 2001. In 2015, the Hibachi House took over in the location.
14 North Main
For years, Dale’s Clothing was the place to get work clothes, shoes and other items of clothing in Bowman.
The 3,317 square-foot building at 14 North Main was another of the locations with a history. It was built in 1953, then 1,350 more square feet were added to the building when it was expanded in 1976 to reach its current size.
13 First Avenue NE
Built in 1978, Hawks Landing has had many names.... and stories in its relatively brief history in downtown Bowman one block east of Main Street.
It started as Harold’s Bar on Main Street (where Bowman Drug is now) where four men went in one night and left the next morning as owners with the contract written on a bar napkin.
That created The Red Dog Saloon on First Avenue.
It eventually became the Sharivar Steakhouse in 1992, the Long Pines Steakhouse and Lounge in 1999, then Hawk’s Landing in 2005.
In 2014, the location became the Uptown Bar and Grill.
“It has changed a lot through the years,” Engelhart said. “We loved it as a steakhouse. If you want to open it up again as one that would be awesome. Just because it is a restaurant now, it doesn’t have to stay as one. It could be a tech center,” she added as a suggestion, noting the building has restrooms opens up the possible uses.
29 South Main
The building, which houses a frame business currently, was also on the list as a location that was available for either purchase or rent. It was built in the 1960s and had been used by a number of companies and businesses.
Ken’s Super Valu
104 Main St. S
Built in 1950, the former market with just under 9,000 square feet could be used as a market again in the future, the development organization suggested with a rendering visitors could see.
Some of the visitors came up with other suggestions, including a mini mall, an indoor shooting range, a photography studio, a youth center/roller skating rink.
After the tour finished, Engelhart took time to point out a new feature that has been created in the Super Valu parking lot, where raised beds were built and planted with vegetables.
It was conceived as a variation of the victory gardens of World War II. “At the time, they were calling everyone to grow their own food wherever they could. About 40 percent of the U.S. produce was grown from families,” she added.
“That kind of spurred our idea here. This space is for you guys. We want you guys to enjoy those,” she added, pointing out some of the plants already growing and being harvested from the large raised planters.