Flipping Through History: Newspaper Collection Profiles Wahpeton’s Past

Janet Gagelin has newspapers dating back to 1935

WAHPETON, N.D. —  Janet Gagelin has always been fascinated with researching and reading about Wahpeton’s history.

Just a few months ago, she found out about volumes of old newspapers dating back to 1935 at the Richland County Historical Museum.

“They said ‘do you want these?’ and I’m like ‘yes, I’ll take these’ so that was back in May, and from then on, I was like ‘how can these be best used,” Gagelin said.

Gagelin rented out an office space, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, lets people go for a ride in her leather–bound time machines.

“They can see more than just a news article, they can see the businesses that were here, and the businesses that have gone, they can find that you could buy a head of lettuce for 5 cents,” said Gagelin.

As Wahpeton celebrates its sesquicentennial, some say putting the old news on display is a perfect way for people to interact with the past.

“The more we talk about things and the more we get people interested in the history of Wahpeton, this is the kind of place that I think is going to be great for them to be able to come to and learn even more.” said Chris DeVries, the Community Development Director for the City of Wahpeton.

By giving people a chance to look at the past, Gagelin says the feeling when people light up when history comes to life never gets old.

“The longer you stay away from the history, the more unbelievable it becomes, but if you’re more in touch with it as it goes along, then you’re like ‘oh, this is awesome,’ and pretty soon, it’s unbelievable. And so I think we need to stay in touch with that,”said Gagelin.

Her newspaper collection is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 to 1:30 at 521 Dakota Avenue in Wahpeton.

Categories: Community, Local News, North Dakota News