Highland Acres Historic District Is Becoming A Reality!

About three and a half years ago, a few residents of the Highland Acres neighborhood in west Bismarck sat down with some staff at the State Historical Society of North Dakota and began discussing the possibility of creating the Highland Acres Historic District, and to nominate it for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tomorrow (Wednesday, November 17, 2021), the Bismarck Historic Preservation Commission will take the next steps toward making that happen (hey, history doesn’t happen in a hurry). The meeting is at 3 p.m. in the City and County office Building downtown.

The story of the Highland Acres and the Torrance Additions–how they began, the problems they encountered, the persistence of those post-war families, and the often heroic actions of that greatest generation of war veterans, cooperatives, credit unions, a state bank, and a couple of oil millionaires, which gave us the neighborhood we enjoy today, and which the city can point to with pride–is a fascinating one.

Those of us who live here today still believe the ads which ran in the Bismarck Tribune in the 1950’s: 

  Highland Acres 

  • The Place of Beauty with An Eye to the Future”  
  • “The Dreams of Young and Old Alike Are Fulfilled In This Wonderful New Addition . . . Here YOU Decide the Design of Your Family Home!” 
  • “Luxury, Pride, PLUS economy is your family’s future in Highland Acres.” 

After our initial discussions in 2018 about how to proceed, I volunteered to write the history of this unique neighborhood. I posted it here on my blog. If you want to know more–a whole lot more if you have the time–you can read the history by clicking on these links. And feel welcome to join us Wednesday afternoon.

THE HISTORY OF HIGHLAND ACRES

Part 1 – The Bismarck Veterans Homeowners Cooperative Association

Part 2 – Finding a Name

Part 3 – In Praise of Cooperatives

Part 4 – Building Begins

Part 5 – Moving In

Conclusion – Oil to the Rescue

3 thoughts on “Highland Acres Historic District Is Becoming A Reality!

  1. Jim,
    This is fantastic news — congratulations on all this progress! I really enjoyed reading these posts and thinking about transplanting Chicago-style suburbs to Bismarck. What a fascinating history.
    (By the way, I’m the guy you met for a drink about 3 years ago to talk about the D-NPL in the 80s — thank you again for that conversation. The dissertation is done and currently under revision as a manuscript, and I hope to have more updates in that vein sometime soon.)
    Question for you on Highland Acres: a lot of those subdivisions created in the late 1940s had restrictions on who could buy or lease the properties (similar to these found in Minneapolis and Hennepin County from 1920-1948, when they were ruled unconstitutional). Anything you’re aware of in there that would’ve been on the original deeds in Bismarck? Just something I’m more interested in as a historian and teacher (hopefully) back up in the Upper Midwest someday soon.
    Thanks for your time and giving it thought! Always look forward to reading TPB when there’s a post. Hope you’re well. All my best, Cory
    On Tue, Nov 16, 2021 at 3:46 PM The Prairie Blog wrote:
    > Jim Fuglie posted: ” About three and a half years ago, a few residents of > the Highland Acres neighborhood in west Bismarck sat down with some staff > at the State Historical Society of North Dakota and began discussing the > possibility of creating the Highland Acres Historic Di” >

    Like

  2. Jim,
    I haven’t read all of your blogs about Highland Acres, but I intend to do so. I forwarded your recap to my friend who is president of our local planning commission.
    Your Highland Acres stories are an example of great sociocultural writing, about a specific neighborhood in a specific time. Your writing will probably end up in a history book somewhere.

    If I may offer a request, could you talk to Mike Jacobs about his early 1970s book, One Time Harvest, about the coal industry, and write about it? I think it will provide us all with much food for thought about the future of fossil fuels, our planet and North Dakota.
    I was a journalism student at UND in the 1970s, and a journalist in North Dakota in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. I always looked up to you and Mike then, and I still do, though I am living what feels like a very different life now.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s