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Bob Lind, Published April 17 2014

Neighbors: A photo out of the past

Here’s a picture out of the past.

It’s of Thorbjorn Riseth working on his farm at Arnegard, N.D., southeast of Williston.

He was a great-uncle of Joyce Erickson, Hastings, Minn., who sent the picture in.

The year the picture was taken is unknown.

Thorbjorn was an immigrant from Norway, from where one of his relatives writes to Joyce every Christmas.

The Pest House

Neighbors carried a story a while ago about Fargo’s old detention hospital known as the Pest House.

Ron Fredrickson, formerly of Alice, N.D., and Fargo and now of Roseville, Calif., says he well remembers the Pest House and that it was a place to quarantine those with contagious diseases.

“I believe the word ‘pest’ is derived from ‘pestilence,” Ron writes, quoting Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, which defines that word as “any virulent contagious or infections epidemic disease; also an epidemic of such disease.”

“And,” Ron continues, “my Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary gives as the second definition for the word ‘pest’ as ‘a deadly epidemic disease; pestilence.’

“But in the 1950s, when the practice of quarantining victims came to an end,” Ron says, “my grandmother Fredrickson was a patient there, after having a stroke, until her death in 1956. The role of the Pest House had changed to that of a charity hospital.”

Ron also says that Omer Reed, mentioned in the original column as a teenager who was a Pest House patient, lived a block from Ron’s home in south Fargo, and Ron knew him and his father quite well. “It was a coincidence” to see his name again after all these years, Ron says.

Neighbors will pass on much more of its mail in coming days. For today, though, here’s a happy question: Have you filed your income tax report yet?


If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, N.D. 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com