As part of KCCM's Our Home Town series, this program is a sound portrait of Dunn Center, North Dakota. Highlights discussion with residents on their fears of town’s future. About Our Home Town series: KCCM Radio in Moorhead, in conjunction with the North Dakota Committee for the Humanities and Public Issues, produced a series of twenty-six half-hour programs that documented attitudes and character of life in five North Dakota communities (Strasburg, Belcourt, Mayville, Mott, and Dunn Center). The programs were produced as sound portraits with free-flowing sounds, voices and music, all indigenous.
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What is the reason for Dance Center being right now? It's just a matter of few old. People living out their last days of our life that just reside here because they own what they sit on. It's a small value and they live on a small pension. And I think after they're gone. They won't be nobody taking their place. Tony sites fears about the future of Dunn Center are shared by many other residents in this program in the series titled our home town center population 107 has been losing population the schools and business all that could radically change at the lignite coal underneath the town is developed for gasification or it could just dry up more and blow away like Tumbleweed the series of programs is made possible with funds from the North Dakota committee for the Humanities and public issues. And it's produced by Minnesota Public Radio Station kccm. The interviewer is John gets day now for a sample of the life in Dunn Center today. We sitting on the daily pinochle game in the 200 Cafe. German McConnell email rehberg and Fred Fritz and I don't think I can bologna any more people than them guys and done send her here. How far would you go for that? Call 220-340-5260. Go ahead. I don't think so. How you get? No way. You could go where there more neighborly or anything like that. We said enjoy one another. Oh my goodness gracious. as we all know people don't want to let you engage in their own activities and 6340 Saturday I guess You know these small towns outside. Well, it was laid out with the idea that everything with all of my faster travel Linda need isn't there for so many small towns like the Little Pony that I spend the biggest share of my life. I was born in the shower, but that went went down to dream the future of your small towns. depend on your your businesses Now we have two outstanding garages. good grain elevator Are grocery stores in Quincy? Macho that we had when you have people driving fast. Are there towns to come to get their service went down on their cars and stuff like that where you got something working for you? And we do have to stop over in the corner. Probably nothing unless this gasification business. A lot of the people that live here now retired would you say? ecard I think over half of them are retired people having too many. See now if you've had the experience of living in the big city while you're better off. If you get your friends off in some of the buildings were living in the apartment before you know, what is running in every 5 minutes like that. So not branchez Minneapolis you no eyes. Back now, you take over there at that University Church. A real sociable over there. That's that's sociable. Well now what app no place for retired folks and older folks of the town of West because the well in the first place. Your you've you are not taxed out of your home City. Now there are in the cities if you have on a home mortgage, unless you are pretty well fixed. By the time you were up to your retirement age where you have to move out because you can't support the home safe. Many many of found that that that was so you know, they just company can support it's a so they have to move out well. Abdullah all that's not where we don't have that see you. Don't that we will let you don't have to move out now because you couldn't keep that also going you know. I think it's a good place for people to live or is it a hard life for the old folks know it's it's a pleasant life for the old folks because they can visit the they sort of our continuing in the environment. They've been living for the last 40-50 years. It is they're not caged in old folks home looking at four walls, they move around they go from place to place to meet people everyday. They talked to him and they don't see the X graph by in fact many of them sit in the store here and don't realize when I want to close the door, they still keep on talking and it makes it Pleasant for him. And that's one of the reasons I kind of stay along with him. I kind of guide lot of them help them see that they get the right amount of money that they have coming on their social security or or social supplemental income Wilfred. I think I should shake you for a coffee and then Okay. We won the base first. Start over there. reflexes for 6s So what if we got here we won't keep them three deuces. That's a good deal for $0.05 to. I should be two Vice 33435. I got to get another phone boy. I got it. How do you guys spend your time here now? What's the time playing cards? shaking for coffee pretty good life Not really. I mean I think of better things to do. Making a bigger city, you would go door sales training or to a political meeting to pass your time or a lot of other things or like even their go to hell and killed her. They got senior citizen clubs, which we have in the area either. So that's that's what we're missing here. That's what hurt what hurt too small town. Do I think we wore out our usefulness except to keep on going on that's all I want. We got left of children. I do enjoy the grandchildren of urine good them. So we're satisfied here. Why did why did you stay out here in this country? That's up hard questions because every once in a while we talk to wife when we talked about it. She other why we did it, we don't even know ourselves why we did that when we were here and it's too late to do anything else. I think there were about a chance this years ago over to it just didn't take him out here. I think simple life is good for people anywhere. It's transferred out here. Now. Look if you listen to the news and read the papers and all that stuff. You will read this that there is an accident some people from the cities. They they are moving back to their smaller towns are they probably think this was a better opportunity for the kids probably simpler way of running 11 and working in the factory. And so they're they're moving out. Back to the land again. You can figs how many. Why did you send them? I never did like far as I can see Well in that case I'll tell you what to do. I just read about it. 263 Really? I was going to tell you to take a case. baby but if I put it they were boys. I'm going to open. well fifty or sixty years ago or more. There was a family living on about every quarter section of land and Most most of them had had horses for transportation and so they would recognize this morning Downs. all of the crops and all of the cattle had to be very into the main lines it which was either Taylor Richardson or Dickinson and once in a while, somebody wouldn't go to grad school now that entail to transfer from two to three days for the average for the average farmer or Rancher say so after the Northern Pacific Built this Branch line and Holiday Inn Benson and Kildare Werner and all of those smaller towns along the line came into existence. Then in order to accommodate the pharmacy. Vape space the towns approximately 7 miles of Parts. He's always that they didn't have none had too far to go with with their horses. See well. Eventually, most of the fighting was done in my truck. So all of Chrissy miles is nothing for a truck same way with going going for their their other shopping and they for some reason or are they they found that they couldn't survive on a quarter section of land not hearsay. At least they could live the way they want to do. So I packed up and moved out swear. Why have you stayed? Well, I'm going to stay out at 11 and I was only boy in my family and I kept on at it. I was always going to quit General. But I forgot made it couldn't quit there. So few businesses that Liam can't stay here for that reason. They would move out and they marry or have to find something to do. Yeah, they got to go someplace else to find a job, you know. I'll try to develop it takes over your dad's business or something mean or Farm. Why do you think them Center has declined in the last few years? Well, I hate to say it because I love but that's a good roads. Because it's so much. It's so easy to run to Dickinson and we find a lot of our people doing especially their grocery shopping in Dickinson their big shopping, which are little stores need badly. And we don't have clothing here anymore. But even that I think it is made the difference of the good roads. And I suppose more money than they've had for a lot of years and I have our population around here is very small and we are the big towns are roads are better and everything in general is better or back when I used to beat horses teams instead of so many cars and that's my to the winter months. We we had real good business here and then we did have a complete line of clothing and everything else which we don't have nowadays cuz it just don't pay in a small town. Well, I enjoyed that you're doing what I'm doing. I mean, I I'm just real happy working in the grocery store cuz I said too many people. In fact is you almost feel like yeah, you become a counselor cuz you know, everybody's problems and they bring them to you. And in fact that you you share a room with them. I said you'd be surprised how many people a bit like to come and just unload their problem is a few more than happy to think. We'll maybe you all you've done is listened to him, but I always feel like I've out somebody by just listening to things people live in small towns want something different out of life and people who live in largest urban centers I don't know. Maybe we think we're missing lot of things. I shouldn't I think I'm contended to go on from here, but I think maybe our young folks. I mean there's a really isn't anything for him cuz if they make up their minds to Create things on the road. And I think they have they can have their good times. But did you grow up here? I don't know what I can say. I've never been away. I don't know. I really never been unhappy here until now I mean until I mean even the future looks kind of bleed for us. I said that I don't know what else I do. I guess the 2in you build your home from scratch and everything you've done in your home you've done with your own hands and that I think you kind of miss that you had to give it up you get so that your joy Most Wanted great big happy family. Anything that goes on in your community. It's always the same people that are there. I said make quite a difference if you move it away, and then you went to something and you didn't know anybody. 6 weeks ago Chuck I said papers going to be icy. So few days later, I was up to Gary's up there, you know, man, so $10.20 a maidique Brandon everything. Today I went up there was going to get some they had sold and said they sold the last this morning. So, I'm sure he's got some same dog on a Dollar Tree. Show me they're trying to build up so they can have the truck coming again. I've heard that it's some of these people from down here coming up for shopping to said he just don't have anything in the store. Did you need I just can't put up with that. You know, I didn't. For Thanksgiving, but it does it'll come tomorrow. It could be that but he's got to scratch up every penny to have that truck come then. It's real good. Is that Could you projected all the one you wouldn't wouldn't be feasible to continue to run your groceries to me? under the present trends another two years after the growth of inflation and under the present. games I don't see you that we can stand up more than about three years to me. It don't feel very good to see you tone go down it just It isn't all necessary. I don't think and It sure hurts know there are. There are people in the area that help have helped to pull a town down instead of trying to hold it together or build. How do they Well in this case, so I think the worst thing that happened today. Thought they'd have better education for their kids if they went to killdeer to a bigger school, and maybe I can't blame them, but they did. You do that and they finally got the school closed and I had really hurt to tell him my specially the grocery stores. I think the grocery stores and suffering by far the most from that and I don't think they gained that much in education are student high school and all my God down to 29 and we were unable to hire good teachers and superintendents in a longer they were the dregs of what was left and our Tax base was so low. They didn't have territory enough to bring in any Revenue to keep things going and we were going behind at the rate of about $5,000 a year and it was just one thing to do is to try and correct the same so it was fair to the kids. And so we decided to close the school and bus them to kill her made an arrangement was killed her to pay tuition and that went on for about four or five years and then they decided to Annex to the Kildeer District, which was the coming thing in those days and the annexation was carried through and a Kept the grade school open for about 5 years, I guess could night at 5 years and then they grade enrollment even got down to where there was. Possibly 20 and they decided to head to close school. So that's the main reason that the great school is closed cuz there just was no longer enough young children to keep School. Too bad to see a grill to go into town with us getting less people around here too long time in the world. I sure hate to see it like one or just east of us has washed off the map. Straight to see this town in the same way. I anticipate it though because we're too close to killed her. You know, you can't keep two small towns going 7 miles apart. It didn't want to die until all of this is closed up in the post office closed up and then finally did give up. They got the Feeling here. That is scary. You see the same signs are that the same science if it's gasification don't come in. I don't know. my feelings well do mid they have I think I think they have to cuz I seen one or two go down and icy and send her suffering happened. So gradually you really You don't realize until like now when we look around and we sit back and think well used to be used to have a lot of things around but it happens in end when you live with a day-by-day it happens and you don't think about it at the time and I think it's happened in a lot of small towns especially in North Dakota. It's it the past and we have to accept it as that it's it's happened all over and I guess it had to happen. That's all it's just no choice. You been listening to the residence of Dunn Center North Dakota population 107 describe the decline of their tongue. This is been another program in the series titled our hometown which explorers of values and character of life in small towns and is produced by Minnesota Public Radio station kccm with buns from the North Dakota committee for the Humanities and public issues series producers are open and Dale Sebring cassette copies are available by writing kccm, Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota 56560.