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Event to celebrate courthouse project, historic avenue designation in Jamestown

Posted 5/10/24 (Fri)

By Kathy Steiner

JAMESTOWN — Activities on Saturday, May 11, will celebrate the designation of 3rd Avenue Southeast as a historic area in Jamestown and the completion of an elevator project at the 1883 Stutsman County Courthouse.

Mayor Dwaine Heinrich will officially proclaim Jamestown’s Historic 3rd Avenue at Elevating Community Through History, an event to recognize the completion of the elevator project and the dedication of the historic avenue.

Heinrich has also proclaimed May 11 as Elevating Community Through History Day.

"It’s for the entire community to come out and celebrate our history and have some fun,” said Emily Bivens, executive director, Jamestown Tourism.

The State Historical Society of North Dakota, which manages the 1883 Stutsman County Courthouse site, is sponsoring the activities, which will be held at the courthouse.

“They kind of fit hand in hand,” Bivens said. “We were putting together this historical avenue at the same time they were looking to do this Elevating Community Through History (event). It kind of just came together.”

The Jamestown City Council approved in March a request by Jamestown Tourism to designate 3rd Avenue Southeast as Jamestown’s Historic 3rd Avenue from 1st Street to 10th Street Southeast.

Bivens credited Allison Limke, Jamestown Tourism’s visitor experience manager and “in-office historian,” for coming up with the idea. Limke noted a number of historic sites are along 3rd Avenue Southeast.

Those historic sites include Jack Brown Stadium, built in 1917; Trinity Hospital, where Peggy Lee was born in 1926; the 1883 Stutsman County Courthouse; the Lutz Mansion, built in 1908 and known as the Stutsman County Memorial Museum; the Louis L’Amour home site at 113 3rd Ave. SE; City Hall, “where history is made every day,” Bivens said, and the cupola that in 1908 was located at the old City Hall and is now at Zonta Park.

“It’s another tool for us to help promote Jamestown and then drive visitors to those spots that are historically significant,” Bivens said of the historic avenue designation. “And the reason the event on the 11th (of May) is really exciting is because of the State Historical Society Site — the 1883 Stutsman County Courthouse — it’s the longest-standing courthouse, the oldest surviving courthouse in North Dakota. A lot of the conversations about North Dakota becoming a state happened there. … So It’s just exciting to be able to celebrate that and celebrate the history, not just Jamestown but our entire state of North Dakota.”

Jamestown Tourism purchased Jamestown Historic Avenue signs that are being placed with the existing 3rd Avenue Southeast signs. It also purchased signs noting the historic sites that will be placed at some of the sites on 3rd Avenue Southeast, Bivens said.

The Elevating Community Through History Day proclamation recognizes the efforts by the State Historical Society of North Dakota and citizens to renovate the 1883 Stutsman County Courthouse over the last 30 years and most recently the installation of an elevator, which allows visitors to easily access the courtroom, county offices, lower-level jail and voting area.

“This was an elevator that we wanted to put in to really allow us more accessibility throughout the whole building,” said Chris Dorfschmidt, one of the historic sites regional managers for the State Historical Society of North Dakota. “We think that the 1883 Stutsman County Courthouse is such an amazing building and has the potential to really be a centerpiece of the community. But being built in 1883, it didn’t have a way for people in wheelchairs or with other limited mobility issues to get up to the courtroom level. So this now allows folks to get up there so that they can attend programming that we have up there.”

He noted the building was used during the coronavirus pandemic for Stutsman County court cases and anyone with limited mobility had to use the stairs to access it during that time.

“So having this elevator really allows people far greater accessibility to the building,” Dorfschmidt said.

Activities on May 11 at the courthouse include remarks by a representative of the North Dakota State Historical Board and Heinrich, live music, food trucks, games and activities, a presentation on President Chester Arthur by Ruth Brubakken and a west-plate collodion photography demonstration.

The 1883 Stutsman County Courthouse is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and by appointment. For more information, contact Site Supervisor Steven Reidburn, or 701-328-1883.

Elevating Community Through History schedule

All day: courthouse tours

10 a.m.: flag raising by Boy Scout Troop #163

10 a.m.-3 p.m.: West-plate collodion photography demonstration by Kary Janousek

11 a.m.: Opening remarks by North Dakota State Historical Board President Matt Dunlevy, proclamation and dedication by Jamestown Mayor Dwaine Heinrich

11 a.m.-4 p.m.: food trucks available

Noon-2 p.m.: live music by Ricky Lynch; “Share Your Courthouse Story” with the North Dakota State Archives

Noon-4 p.m.: lawn games and activities

2 p.m.: Ruth Brubakken gives presentation on U.S. President Chester A. Arthur

2-4 p.m.: Live music by Steve and Nancy Kuykendall

4 p.m.: Flag lowering by Boy Scout Troop #163

Jamestown’s Historic 3rd Avenue sites

Jack Brown Stadium, 1102 3rd Ave. SE

Trinity Hospital, 715 3rd Ave SE

1883 Stutsman County Courthouse, 504 3rd Ave. SE

Lutz Mansion (Stutsman County Memorial Museum), 321 3rd Ave. SE

Louis L’Amour home site, 113 3rd Ave. SE

Jamestown City Hall, 102 3rd Ave SE

Cupola at Zonta Park, corner of 1st Street East and 3rd Avenue Southeast