About 3½ 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.
Today (Nov. 17), 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 postwar 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 that ran in the Bismarck Tribune in the 1950s:
- “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 this 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