We Are of the Coteau . . .

By Sandi Dewald, NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center


Centennial, a 100-years’ celebration of the land, people and events. One hundred years may seem like a long time but, historically, Streeter is considered very young. Tappen has already celebrated their 125th in 2003 putting them twenty-seven years our senior. Other towns that will reach their 125th are:

Dawson in 2005, and Steele in 2006.


Other Coteau communities which have already celebrated their Centennials include:

Cleveland, 1982

Napoleon, 1984

Woodworth, 1986


Kulm, 1992

Wishek, 1998

Lehr, 1998

Medina, 1999

Linton, 1999

Strasburg, 2002 and

Hazelton, 2003.


The summer of 2004 brings about four area Centennials:

Gackle, June 25-27

Alfred, June 27

Fredonia, July 2-4,



The summer of 2005 also has two Centennial celebrations:

Jud, June 25-27; and

Streeter, July 1-3;

and Dawson will celebrate their 125th.


Watch for local advertising of the various events in your area.

Each of these celebrations has taken many hours of planning and labor. All too often the work of the volunteer is taken for granted and we find fault much too easily. Each of these communities is hard working, determined and carrying on the traditions of our homesteaders the best that they know how. It is always easier just to stand by and watch but that is not what we were taught. If each of us do our part, our communities will still be here for another 100 years. Working together we will build a future for our generation and those that follow.

In the course of 100 years things have changed drastically. Our ancestors didn’t have running water, electricity, or telephones. In other words, there wasn’t indoor plumbing, television, automobiles or tractors. These things would come later with the advancement of modern technology. Nowadays our children would think we were telling them a story to explain to them just what it really was like even 75 years ago. One day I tried to explain how the windmill works to a 6-year old. I explained to him that the pump runs with the wind and when the tank was full you’d have to flip a lever to turn off the windmill, he then asked, “Where is the monitor to let you know when the tank is full?”

All the accomplishments that we enjoy today were made possible by the dedicated people who started these communities. Their commitment and love of place made it possible for us to have better educations, comfortable modern homes, and advanced technology for our businesses. Today Streeter is located partly on some of the land which was homestead by Alex Anderson, one of the first homesteaders in our area. Mrs. Anderson and her two daughters, Florence and Francis, came to homestead their land while Mr. Anderson remained in Fargo. They lived and worked here two years before Alex would be able to join them. Mrs. Anderson maintained a home and farmed the land to fulfill the homestead guidelines. It must have been a difficult task for a woman to work the land and set up housekeeping as well as being a single parent. Hard work and determination pretty well describes her way of life as well as the lives of our ancestors who also homesteaded here. Women and men throughout history are very much deserving of our thanks and our praise.

There are those who come after and there are those who go before . . .

Support your local Centennial and 125-year projects and events. Share your histories and tell your stories, keep our heritage alive. Celebrate. Check out your local calendar and support a celebration in your area. Together we can plan and work for a future of commitment and progress.


Sandi Dewald is the author of the book,“Gazing Forward, Glancing Back, Remembering Always.”


NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center
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