State Fair ramps up effort to evict museum from fairgrounds; dispute also reaches Legislature


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MINOT, North Dakota — A battle over whether a museum should be removed from the State Fairgrounds in Minot is now playing out in two venues — the courts and the state Legislature.

The North Dakota State Fair Association earlier his month asked a judge to declare that it can legally evict the Ward County Historical Society because the society has no real interest in the fairgrounds property on which the Pioneer Village Museum sits. The association wants the museum off the grounds so it can use the property for other purposes.

The historical society did not immediately file a formal response to the complaint, but President Bruce Brooks told the Minot Daily News ( ) that he was disappointed and that "we'll certainly pursue it to the end."

The historical society believes that a 49-year-old contract gives it the right to remain on the land.

Three lawmakers, including two from Minot, have come to the aid of the museum. Sen. Oley Larsen, R-Minot, and Reps. Dan Ruby, R-Minot, and Kim Koppelman, R-West Fargo, have introduced a bill that would allow the Pioneer Village to remain on the fairgrounds.

"It's going to be somewhat contentious," Ruby said.

The museum village has a schoolhouse, log cabin, train depot, general store, post office, blacksmith shop and church, among other structures. The buildings feature early 1900s decor, and the train depot also has displays of Native American artifacts and materials depicting the history of coal mining in the region.

Information from: Minot Daily News,

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