Monday, April 10, 2006

Spring has arrived in Dunn County. My friend Jan flew in from Philadelphia to go on a three-day safari with me across the breaks and plains of western North Dakota. Among other activities, we stopped at a lot of thrift stores. I bought a vintage movie screen and a large aluminum bowl for mixing bread dough. Jan found a silk scarf and some boots. I got a Jonathan Richman cassette. She purchased a Sarah Vaughn record. The weather was warm. We ate out a few times. We explored abandoned houses and found secret treasures. All in all, 'twas vacationland on the prairie. She flew back to Philly yesterday.

Tonight I went to a Dunn Center City Hall meeting to learn about one of our town's last remaining old buildings--The Dvorak Center. It's a huge theater/dance hall with an equally large basement. The wood floors are awesome. Unfortunately, its roof leaks and needs immediate repair; this is an estimated $20,000 job. Other repairs are imminent, and the building itself would cost about $20,000. The city can't afford to buy it, and many think it's soon to be a goner--just like all the other great old buildings that have been bulldozed and brought down like Cheney gunblast victims. This one is too beautiful and soulful, though. It's no doubt a money pit, but I want to buy it. I want to bring back the old sock hops and country oprys. I want to see variety shows, and listen to ranch-inspired poetry, and play in half-court basketball games there. I want to buy pie from Adeline T. or jam from Emogene S. at some worthy auction.

As a youth I ran across those magic floors shooting hoops and hiding behind the gigantic velvet curtain. I once threw a rock from its outside porch at a high school kid's car and cracked his windshield. He and his brothers caught me and hung me from a nail by my belt loop until a local mechanic found me there twenty minutes later with a Wrangler wedgie. How can I not love the place? It needs to be saved, right?


Anonymous said...

go to your local bank and get a good ol' american mortgage. if your income is decent then you should qualify. especially if you don't have any car payment and shit like that. i know you owe people money but it's off the books isn't it??? just a thought

Anonymous said...

contact the ND historical society.

Anonymous said...

Have you thought about contacting The Learning Channel? (TLC) They have a show that is called "Town Haul" a crew comes in and totally renovates buildings,some are historic. The main idea of the show is to bring the towns people together as a volunteer work force and perseve the towns historic buildings, store fronts etc. Spruce up the town in other words. Not sure how to contact tlc regarding having them look into your town as one they would preserve/renovate, but any contacts made even if no is the answer is one step closer to that building being perserved. It never hurts to ask. I believe the funding is donated by big business sponsers.. Home Depo, Sears etc. Check out I too believe in preserving historic buildings and if I had the money I would certainly would give it to your litte town, Good Luck !!

east seattle said...

holla @ microsoft. or a company called vulcan (aka paul allen). seriously, those guys are giving away shitloads of cash. most of bill's is going to little things like malaria in africa, but with a proper grant proposal (hard work), you never know what you might get. plus, paul allen bought our little radio station (, built a damn museum (emp), and continues to support the arts through projects like 'sound off!'. i dunno, i'm sure it's an uphill battle--just an idea.

Sandman said...

Thanks everybody for the ideas. Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

i think you have enough ideas to run with it. make it happen brother. you can do it. pedro offers you his protection!

Anonymous said...

yeah, no doubt.
seems like you thrive on uphill battles anyway.
and it'll make you feel good.
plus, your standing at the dunn county museum must
amount to in:
some old fairly important guy: "now this young whippersnapper from somewhere's near seattle, who does rap music that the kids seem to be into these days...well he's back, and ready to be a part of our lives, and "understands" the big ol' goofy world...anyways, he's totally into the preservation of our NoDak ways. he's in chanrge of the museum for chrissakes. usta run around in the old Dvorak as a young un to boot. i say we listen to him!"
who might be able to provide that much needed venue between Minneapolis and Missoula. Or Fargo and Bozeman. Or Bismarck and Billings.