Years of history were lost when the floodwaters inundated much of Minot last summer. Now Minot State University history students are hoping to get some of that history back through a project called Digital Minot.
"I'm looking for anything on Ramstad," said Stephen Davison, a senior history major, who is working on reconstructing a history of the school system, including Erik Ramstad Middle School.
So far it has been hard slogging. He has found far more photos of Jim Hill Middle School's early years. Senior history major Kevin Matze is conducting similar research on the history of the experimental college and the city's park system.
Minot State University history major Stephen Davison, and Digital Minot project director Amy Lisner are working on gathering information for a digital history of Minot.
Minot State University history major Kevin Matze gathers information for a digital history of Minot, focusing on the experimental college and the city’s park system.
A newspaper clipping about the flooding of Erik Ramstad Middle School in 1969.
Davison and Matze and digitizing project leader Amy Lisner spent part of the week in the archives at The Minot Daily News in search of old photos and newspaper clippings.
Davison said he's especially interested in old photos from the 1950s and early 1960s of Ramstad, including photos that show the dedication of the school in 1958.
Scrapbooks and photo displays showing the history of the school were put together a few years ago when the school celebrated its 50th anniversary, but Davison said all of that was lost.
School personnel stored the print materials high up in the school, hoping they wouldn't be reached by the floodwaters, but they were destroyed.
School personnel hoped to retrieve them after the flood but they had to be destroyed because they were contaminated by the floodwaters.
Davison will be conducting interviews with current and former administrators and former students and trying to reconstruct as much of the history as possible.
He's interested in the early years of the school and in factoids such as how Ramstad came to be called the Ramstad Rockets.
The Digital Minot project was created and proposed by Bethany Andreasen, an associate professor of history and director for the Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning at Minot State. The Great Plains Center for Community Research and Service funded the project for $43,000. Amy Lisner is leading the digitizing project.
Digital Minot is collaborating between agencies and the community to collect and borrow original documents, articles and images of Minot, Minot State University and surrounding rural communities.
Those working on the project will scan what has been collected and upload digitized items on a web-based platform.
When the project completes its first phase, the general public will have access to a web page linked through the Minot State University site.
The page will enable people to access various materials and records to include historical photos, postcards, newspaper articles, advertisements, scholarly journals, legal documents, oral histories and biographies.
Lisner said it will enable people all over the world to see the history of the area, not just those in Minot.
People who have old photos or history to share should contact Lisner at the university. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or she can be reached at 858-3461.