Dorothy Boatz's Memories

Memories of the Boatz Family Coming to Humboldt

My husband Bob Boatz took a position as Elevator Managerat the Humboldt Elevator in 1951. Bob was previously the manager of an elevatorin Enderlin, North Dakota.

My first impression of Humboldt was not good because therewas no place to live. We just rode into town and were to contact Pearl DiamondIten who took us to the home that Jim Burton presently resides in. At thistime, the home had not been occupied for many years and did not have furniture,stoves, and no plumbing. There was a pump in the kitchen and the toiletfacility was a horrible privy. The privy did not even have chemical treatment.There were no cooking facilities so we purchased a hot plate. I heated washwater on the hot plate. I also heated bath water on this make-shift heatingdevice. The house was the most primitive facility that I had ever seen.There was not even a heating stove. I was let down by having to live underthese conditions after having lived in a modern home in Enderlin.

The first person we met was Pearl Iten who was very welcoming.She told us that she would try to help us get the home in shape. We soongot acquainted with Helen and Quintin Tri and Pat and Rustee (Alfred Jr.)Rustad. We found it easy to become acquainted fast. We soon had a closecircle of friends.

We lived across the street from Don and Marian Brown. Donwas the manager of the filling station. Sylvan and Sarah Miller lived acrossthe street as well. Sylvan and Sarah were very refined and educated peoplewho served as senior advisors to us.

Bob was impressed with the elevator, but I was not impressedwith the house supplied by the Elevator Association. We had three smallchildren when we moved to Humboldt: Michael, David, and Mary. Imagine caringfor three small children under these conditions. My babysitter was one oftwenty one children and her name was Kathryn Kropelnicki. One of the thingsshe told me was that she would willingly take care of the three kids butwas insistent that her duties not include infants. She had too many at home.

Even though my first impressions were not that favorable,I grew to love the people of Humboldt. Humboldt was a town in which almosteveryone lived under less than modern or what would be thought of as substandardconditions. The Diamond and Brown family as well as the Bockwitz familyhad plumbing and more modern conditions. Since Humboldt lacked a sewagesystem, plumbing did not necessarily mean modernity. We had water that cameout of a faucet but it was hauled in by water tanks. Ruste Rustad and ClarenceIten hauled the water for years. All residents of Humboldt had to be carefulof water. Shared bath water was quite common. The first person who got intothe bathtub was clean. The others were semi-clean. The tub was never filledand could only be filled several inches to conserve water.

Fresh water was a scarce commodity. I remember when peoplehad to climb down the cisterns to clean them out periodically. Mike Rustadonce threw many of his toys in the cistern to hear them splash. His parentshad to drain the cistern. Mike was a one trial learner after being disciplinedby his parents.

It is now nearly fifty years since I arrived in Humboldtand I have never really left. Dotty Boatz, Elk River Minnesota (story transcribedby Professor Michael Rustad).tory transcribedby Professor Michael Rustad).