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Grassy Butte: 1936

Grassy Butte: 1936

July 1936. "Grassy Butte. The drought area of North Dakota." One of dozens of photos snapped by Arthur Rothstein of the Dust Bowl-era Midwest during the summer of Franklin Roosevelt's tour there. View full size.


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Gluek Beer

(say "Glick") was brewed in Minneapolis from 1857 to 1964, and later on in Cold Spring, Minn. Today it is brewed exclusively for Gluek's Restaurant in Minneapolis.

Beer sign

If you look at the full-size version, and blow it up a little, you see three Stroh's Beer signs on the "Meals and Lunches" building. They have "Stroh's" in the normal script with "beer" in block caps, both in white, with a solid dark six-pointed star as background. This is the first time I've seen this Stroh's logo, and a quick search of the net didn't turn up any other examples. Perhaps unique to a particular distributor?

[It's for Gluek's. -tterrace]

That was a place and time

North Dakota 1935-'36 - when the Earth basically said, "Die," to the people.

The previous winter ranged down to -60°F and one N.D. town reported six solid months where the temperature didn't rise above freezing. Then came the summer of '36 and the second killer depression heat wave - and again it was N.D. that got the worst, with a national record high of 121° that July.

That's 181° in temperature variation from midwinter to midsummer - probably more than any place outside Siberia then or now.

Bad day at...

...Grassy Butte.

Keep an eye out for a one-armed man getting off the train!

[Well done on the Spencer Tracy film reference! - tterrace]


Only one brand of gas, down from the previous three. I would have loved to step inside Robert Evans' hardware store, but I bet the locals now drive 40 miles to the Wal-Mart in Dickinson.

The Dust Bowl

It was in 1936 when my mother's family gave they're farm in Scottsbluff, Nebraska back to the bank and moved to California. She was 9 at the time and had a lot of memories of the trip, none of them bad, even though I am sure it very hard.

"Sure don't look none too prosperous"

A quote from Tom Joad. Although a couple of years before its publication, this photo makes me think of Grapes of Wrath. This little town is also north of Steinbeck's Joad family's travels along Route 66 from Oklahoma. I think the gas pumps on the opposite side are Phillips 66 though, which received its name from the Phillips brothers when their gasoline was tested on Route 66 and the test auto went 66 mph.

Three gas stations

The primary business in town seems to be pumping gas.

Lots of competition

Looks like two Hardware Stores, Two General Stores and at least three Gas Stations in this little place.

Love That 17 Cent Gas

I had to say it!

Still a gas station there

But the original buildings are, no surprise, gone.

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