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By David Lehner
Many people have heard about the wild times in the early days of Minot. I will attempt to give you some information that I have compiled from stories as told to me. Some stories from the people who lived during the later years of what became known as Minot's High Third. Other stories are from descendants of the people who lived in the very early days of Minot. One thing to remember is that all the stories (as told to me) may not be historically and possibly factually correct but they are the reality of the story tellers as they remember it.
Many people get confused when researching early Minot. At the turn of the century the avenues were named and ran north and south. The streets were numbered and ran east and west. Main Street was and always has been Main Street. Central Avenue was First Street, First Avenue was Second Street and so on. What we now know as 1st Street Southwest was Reishus Avenue. What is now 1st Street Southeast was Ramstad Avenue.
Pre-1900 Reishus Avenue was the original home of the entities that later occupied Minot’s High Third. This was about the edge of town. What today is known as Broadway was a few houses along the coulee. About 1899 the city fathers drove all the “bawdy houses” out of the city limits to the first coulee to the west, referred to some as "Inequality Hollow." These “bawdy houses” ran the gambit of illegal activity; after hour liquor sales, opium dens and houses of prostitution. They are referenced in the article below.
Fred Hines at one time was a cab or bus driver in Minot in the early 1900’s. He drove for both the Leland Hotel and Waverly Hotel at different times. His task was to pick up and deliver clients to their destinations around Minot. He would deliver his passengers from the railroad stations to the hotels and when the fair was held on south hill, he would also transport the passengers to it. Quote from 1939 article “at that period in Minot’s history there was a segregated district of bawdy houses in a coulee southwest of Minot and as a hack driver he was called upon to transport gentlemen of the double standard from downtown hotels to this place which was sometimes called Inequity Hollow.” Alto North Dakota was under state prohibition at that time, Hines recalls that whiskey was easily obtained in Minot. This area is what we refer to today as 3rd Street Southwest or Minot’s High Third.
Over the next few months, or as long as it takes, I will inform you of some of the many stories I have come across about High Third. This area of Minot played a large part in Minot history and early financial success.
For more on Dave Lehner's collection of historical stories of Minot, visit http://www.minotmemories.com/