The Ups and Downs of Osnabrock, North Dakota: KVRR Town of the Year
OSNABROCK, N.D. — Osnabrock has had its ups and downs like many small towns in America.
But people there are making sure they remember the good times of years gone by while also building towards what lies ahead.
Meet the oldest and youngest life-long residents of Osnabrock, 94-year-old Shirley Monson, and her eight-month-old great-grandson, Carl.
Carl hasn’t seen much during his lifetime in Osnabrock. But great-granny has.
“Good memories and bad memories, but mostly good. I like living in a small town,” said Shirley.
Marvin & Janette Lundeby like living here too. They grew up here, got married nearly 60 years ago and raised two sons.
“You didn’t have the fear of crime and all the stuff that’s going on around the country, even way back then. Nice place to raise a family,” said Marvin.
In fact, they love Osnabrock so much they each came back after leaving. Marvin ditched the Air Force.
“I was ready to come back. They wanted me to re-enlist and I was not going to do that.”
Nancy Haraseth said, “It was quiet. We had a few more people.”
Former Osnabrock mayor Nancy Haraseth moved to town when she was three years old, in the 1940’s. Her assessment of Osnabrock now compared to then is succinct.
“It has slipped,” said Nancy.
People in town remember when there was just more here, like David Monson, a state representative for 29 years, and Shirley’s son.
“The bank and two, three gas stations, a Dodge dealership. We had two grocery stores. Two bars, three churches and a lot more people,” said David.
There are a lot of rosy recollections of yesteryear in Osnabrock.
“If you needed help all you’d have to do is open your door and holler help and somebody would come. People were very willing to help each other,” said Janette.
But now, there are no gas stations. The grocery store closed in 2010 and laid vacant until earlier this year when a kennel moved in. Three churches whittled down to one.
“It’s kinda sad because we used to have enough businesses that people didn’t have to leave town,” said Nancy.
Lifelong residents of Osnabrock say you used to be able to walk next door and ask your neighbor for help. But even with people leaving town and businesses closing up they say that spirit remains alive and well.
“Very proud of our town actually, that we’re still surviving,” said David.
That spirit helped them preserve their signature event. Volunteers built a new Barley Hall a few years ago to host the annual Barley Show.
“We’ve got a lot of volunteers that keep the fire department going, the barley show going over 75 years.”
Marvin said, “We have a real nice church. We have all these new buildings.”
That spirit also helps preserve the memories of yesteryear, like dances at the old Barley Hall.
Shirley said, “We had a dance club called the mixers. We belonged to that, my husband and I.”
David said, “So I pass those kinds of things along from my mother to my kids to my grandkids, and I’m sure other families do the same thing.”
For people here, it’s worth remembering the past like that. It’s also worth remembering that there is hope for the future.
“The elevator is doing wonderful. The Osnabrock and Nekoma elevator are partnered.”
Looking at newer buildings and businesses like the bank and Little Helga’s Barley Bin, it gives lifetime residents a reason to smile.
Janette said, “Tells me they care. I think they care. What we look like, how we can serve.”
And gives them hope that little Carl will have a strong hometown to grow up in.
Shirley said, “Think it’s great.”