Kate’s 8 ~ Regan, ND
Them: “Where’s Regan??” or “I know where Regent is!”
Me: That’s R-e-g-a-n not R-e-g-e-n-t
Most of us from very small towns have heard similar. For the first installment of “Kate’s 8” I will use my little town of Regan.
(and we don’t even live ‘in town’!)
I know most people will say, “But there’s nothing there!” This post will show there is much more than meets the eye.
Let’s start with History. Regan was officially formed in 1912 and named for Austin Regan, though the town was platted in 1910. It is about 40 miles NW of Bismarck. The first business was Tolchinsky’s Cream Station and was the only building on the site for some time. In the early years there were 300+ people living in Regan. There was quite the assortment of businesses too. Billiards halls to markets, banks to an auto dealer and blacksmith, opera hall and bar and a lumberyard and so much more. From 1914 to 1941 the town fielded a baseball team every year. if you were looking for a job in Regan, one of the first questions asked was “Can you play ball?”.
Just outside of Regan city proper is the old Jewish cemetery dating back to the early 1900’s. It is listed on the state historic register.
Regan also boasts one of the last surviving stone jails in the state. (photo-op! come take your picture IN the jail)
We celebrated our 100th centennial with a fabulous community party!
Cuisine Though there is no café or bar there now, you can still get fabulous home cooked Ukrainian and German foods at any get together. I’ve had my share.
Architecture Several different styles of architecture are to be found in Regan. The old Regan telephone switchboard office is made from all rocks. The two room jail house is made from stone. The old schoolhouse is there as well as the ‘newer’ school. The big Denver Square on Blueberry hill was built in the late 1900s. Along with the old, are a several newer ranch style homes .
The old school is set up on the main floor as a local museum. It has the school room, kitchen, nursery and living areas. The gym is still used for dances and family reunions. In fact… Come to this years Halloween dance!
Customs Regan was settled by predominately Germans and Norwegians, who for many, many years held onto their old world customs. They spoke native tongues in the home and danced and dressed traditionally for special occasions. Regular church socials and Homemakers club are still part of the local customs.
Art /Culture For years there was a nice lady (???-I’m having a brain freeze!) that painted the local scenery and sold it from her house. There are some amazing older paintings on display along with photography and crafts and textiles in the school house which also doubles as the local museum
People Nearly everyone in Regan and surrounding is from ‘original stock’. Uhde’s, Strands, Backmans and Aune’s are some of the founding families still very active in the community. Regan may not have many people today, but we care about our town and encourage others to come and look. Visiting and front porch sitting or coffee with neighbors, is usually part of the daily routine.
Commerce Up until the 1940’s there was a wide assortment of businesses in Regan. Two markets, a dry goods, auto dealer, bar, two banks, a doctors office, drug store, opera house and more. The last store and the bar closed in the 1980’s.
Today there is JI Fabrication and welding to anchor the town and an auto upholstery business and paint booth.
The old school is available for weddings and dances and reunions and such for a nominal fee.
Geography Regan is surrounded by sweeping prairies and farm land and is only minutes away from new Johns Lake. Also a large local landmark is what’s known as the Regan Rocks. Please don’t ask me the technical name for the formation, because I have no idea! If you go to the Regan School house there pictures of many picnics, class photos and hikers on those rocks!
Keep watching for the next town! You never know where I may be.
*I am a rural/small town and small business advocate. I also write and speak on this. For more information on myself or Annette Tait you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org