Jailbreak in Conway
Conway is a near-ghost town in Walsh County, southwest of Grafton. Conway’s peak population was reported in the 1900 census as 216. Today the population is 23.
On September 7th, 1897, the New York Times published the following story:
KILLED TRYING TO ESCAPE
Tramps Imprisoned in Conway Set Fire to Jail
Fargo, ND. Sept 6th — The city marshal and a posse, after a hard fight, captured three tramps who had robbed several stores at Conway, a small town in western Walsh county, and lodged them in the city jail.
At an early hour Sunday morning the jail was discovered to be on fire, and before the flames could be extinguished, one of the vagrants was cremated and the other two have since died from frightful burns. It is supposed the men tried to burn a whole [sic] through which they could escape and the blaze got beyond their control.New York Times, Sep. 7, 1897
US Census Data for Conway
Total Population by Place
1900 – 216
1910 – 184
1920 – 148
1930 – 100
1940 – 120
1950 – 107
1960 – 67
1970 – 57
1980 – 33
1990 – 24
2000 – 23
2010 – 23
Every vacant lot we saw, we wondered whether it was the site of the former jail mentioned in the New York Times article.
Conway Memorial Park was dedicated to the soldier shown below, Lt. Frank L. Vorachek. We were able to determine that he was a veteran of the Army Air Corps ca. 1916-17, and that he later graduated from the UND School of Law. If anyone else knows more about Lt. Voracheck, we’d like to hear from you.
Sadly, the park doesn’t seem to get much use anymore.
Terry walked into this belt of trees and discovered the park.
It is sometimes… unsettling, to be in a playground where there are no children to play.
All of the furniture is falling into the basement. Note the spiderweb in the doorway.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC