Vintage Views of Devils Lake

Devils Lake, North Dakota, 1937

We’ve been collecting postcards and vintage photos for years with the intention of doing a book one day. Today, I discovered a couple postcards depicting vintage views of Devils Lake, and thought we should share these on the site. The quality of the first postcard was so good, we were able to zoom and bring out some interesting details.

Devils Lake, North Dakota, 1937

This street scene depicts Fourth Street in Devils Lake, circa 1937.  There was no postmark on the card, but I was able to date the photo based on the movie listed on the theater marquee. “Captains Courageous,” a movie based on the Rudyard Kipling novel, starring Freddie Bartholomew and Spencer Tracy, was released in 1937. The movie would be remade in 1977, and again in 1996.

Devils Lake, North Dakota, 1937

The opposite side of the street is home to a Red Owl grocery store and Montgomery Wards.

Devils Lake, North Dakota, 1937
Devils Lake, North Dakota, 1937

Look at the beautiful art deco marquee on the Hollywood Theater.

Devils Lake, North Dakota, 1937

In addition to the Fourth Street scene, I found this vintage postcard showing the State Deaf School in Devils Lake. Year of this view is unknown, but construction of this building began in 1892.

Devils Lake, North Dakota, 1937

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16 Comments on “Vintage Views of Devils Lake

  1. I first learned to ride motorcycles around this state, as I worked in Fargo, University & Main, from 1971 to 1978, and rode around on the sometimes warm weather, from Fargo to Bismark, and up to the Canadian borders, this was back in the days of Air Force cops all around the state, as we had missle sites almost every 50 miles, now this is
    mostly gone, and buildings I saw then , yes sad to see them go so badly, I watched the Red River, cover most of the
    east-side of Fargo, and how the Missouri got full, around the areas North of Bismark, too, this was the best of times,
    for me, learning about 2 wheels and riding sometimes with my lady, though the best trips were the southern roads
    south of Bismark, like it was nothing there, Now this is where the biggest OIl find is being developed, Just hope
    that we remember our heritage and do not screw u p the oil riches, our country so dearly needs, RE
    Stories By DAkotajoe, (C)

  2. Great photo… What was the population of Devils Lake in 1937 ?

  3. Steve the poulation of DL in 1937 was approx 6,000 according to wikipedia

  4. Thanks Shawn, we travel through Devils Lake several times a year didn’t realize it is that large.

  5. Ah, yes. NDSD’s “Old Main” building – the original 1892 section is that portion including the cupola east towards that section with that first gabled window. The west wing was added in 1900, the east wing was added in 1904, and a north wing was added in 1907. The power house to the right was put up in 1900 and extensively remodeled in 1951, so this could date to anywhere between 1904 and 1951… too bad there aren’t more buildings in the picture to narrow it down some.

    Old Main stood tall on campus until 1975 – I actually vaguely recall my class being led on a tour through the recently emptied building that spring, and it was taken down over the summer. Fortunately, a small bit of Old Main lives on – the cupola was saved as was the cornerstone and some of the blond brick and a memorial erected on campus.

    Old Main isn’t the only building on the NDSD campus to fade into history – the old Boys’ Dorm (erected in 1923) was torn down in 1988, and the infirmary and former superintendent’s residence (later the ‘honor’ dorm) were also taken down within the last few years.

  6. Recently you inquired about the lake monster history in Devils Lake. I have a clipping (photo) of that story that I took with my phone camera from a wall near the restrooms in Mr. & Mrs. J’s Restaurant, located on Highway 2 in Devils Lake. I have to figure how to paste it on your website so you can include it here with the Devils Lake information.

  7. The Coca-Cola mural on the side of the building in the first and fifth photos is still there!

  8. Grew up in Lakewood, would be interested in reading { lake monster history in Devils Lake } & how it compares to the history as it was related to me by my grandmother & others in the mid 50’s.
    Thank You…. Great site !!!!!

  9. Our grandfather was a blacksmith and built the original bridge out of metal over the pond at the School for the Deaf. It is now wooden. David H. McPhail was his name

    • I lived in Devils Lake from 1946 to1956. My Dad worked for Fairmont Foods, and we lived across the street from Scharf’s Greenhouse, and just across the alley from Central High School. I spent grades 1 thru 8 at the school before moving to SoCal. Enjoyed viewing the photos of the Hollywood/Lake theaters. Brought back memories of saving Eddys Bread wrappers to gain free admission.

      • You lived on Third Ave as I did down the block at 815. My dad delivered Eddy’s bread. I graduated from Central in ’56. My sister Bonnie was homecoming queen that year. I left for Rochester Mn. to become a nurse.

  10. Hello! Just came across your site–so cool. Some of my family is from Devils Lake and I have many happy memories visiting it often in the 1970s-1980s as a kid. I’ve been reading my grandmother’s diary from 1937-1941 and several entries list the movies she went to–the ‘Lake’ being the theater mentioned most. I was Googling around and found this photo and your site. Great timing and it made my day! I’m headed out to ND in July to do some genealogical research (and relax). Have a great Saturday and keep up the fantastic work.

  11. Great photos. I also grew up in Devils Lake and lived on 7th street in the 50’s. I remember riding my bike to the Hollywood theater on Saturday afternoons, paying 25 cents for addmission. Had to keep going back each Saturdqay to see what happens in the next serial that ran before the main movie. I graduated from Central H.S. in ’57 so I knew both Monica and Bonnie Mellen. Love the site.

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