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Bob Lind, Published June 01 2012

Lind: Town of Lankin, N.D., has musical heritage

Lankin, N.D., in Walsh County near Park River, has a big fan in Duane Midboe.

Duane now lives in Climax, Minn., but he used to live in Inkster, southeast of Lankin.

What really grabs Duane is Lankin’s musical heritage.

The town isn’t what it once was, which, sadly, is the story of most small towns in the area. It’s declined in population, and its school is closed.

But Duane likes to think back to when Lankin was “the heart (beat) of music and dancing,” he says, and had several “A-rated polka bands.”

During the tough times of the Depression, he says, rural Lankin had “families so destitute they could barely keep the farm, but they had this music! Wonderful music! Incomparable music! Perhaps a heritage so deep and rich it exceeds anything and everything North Dakota ever produced.”

Douglas Wick’s book, “North Dakota Place Names,” says Lankin, which reached a peak population of 341 in 1910, included among its residents Jack McDonald, who went on to play trumpet in John Philip Sousa’s band.

Thanks to Duane and Doug for these high notes about one of North Dakota’s small towns.

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