Quakes and a Galloping Goose
Monday, December 26, 2005
This week we’ll be featuring stories from 1926, which we’re dedicating to Mr. Jim Davis, who provides us with a lot of help with research at the State Historical Society of North Dakota. In fact, Jim discovered almost all the stories for this week – again, they’re from December 1926.
We start with strange earthquakes reported in the Napolean Homestead as follows: “Strange Quakes are Felt Daily Near Burnstad. A peculiar phenomenon has been taking place at the Chris Huber farm, about 20 miles southwest of Burnstad, for some time past, and no satisfactory explanation of it has so far been advanced, according to Charles Hernett, cashier of the First State Bank of Burnstad.
“Every day for the past six months, earth tremors are felt. They have been increasing in frequency and intensity each day until Mr. Huber of late has felt obliged to vacate the dwelling house during their progress. Windows in the buildings have recently been shattered by the earth disturbances, and sounds resembling muffled explosions are heard.
“Mr. Huber’s neighbors have lately noticed the tremors and heard the explosion-like sounds, which within the last few days have occurred about six times during each 24 hours.
The story went on to say, “The only plausible explanation so far advanced is that there may be gas pressure underneath the farm, [similar] to the Montana earthquake of two years ago, releasing this gas through fissures in some oil dome. The Huber farm is not far from the geologized (sic) structure near Burnstad that is slated for oil drilling next spring, Mr. Hernett states.”
The next story comes from the Ward County Independent: “The ‘Galloping Goose’ is the name given the new train on the Granville-Sherwood line, which went into service last week, replacing Col. Wynn’s famous ‘Sunshine Limited.’
“The train consists of a new combination coach and the old mail and baggage coach. The old steam engine has been replaced by a gasoline motor, which effects a big saving in water, which has always been the bane of the railway operators along that branch.
“A fireman and baggageman are dispensed with, the work being taken over by the conductor and brakeman. It is rumored that the freight train will soon be equipped with a gasoline motor.
An explanation of how the Galloping Goose got its name came thirty years later, when the Bismarck Tribune reported a change in the train’s daily schedule. It seems the new gasoline motor was responsible.
“The train acquired its nickname years ago,” the story read, “because people thought its whistle sounded more like the honk of a goose than a [steam] whistle. It travels along ‘North Dakota’s North Shore,’ winding along the banks of the Missouri River through the cities of Price, Sanger, Hensler, Fort Clark and Stanton, where it swings west and procedes (sic) through Hazen, Beulah, Zap, Golden Valley, Dodge, Halliday, Werner, Dunn Center and finally Kildeer.
“Made up of one passenger car with 42 seats and smoking section with 10 seats, the Goose is pulled by a diesel engine at an average speed of 35 miles per hour, but occasionally it is forced to slow down for cattle feeding near the tracks.”
Bismarck Tribune. 20 Dec 1956.
Napolean Homestead. 10 Dec 1926.
Ward County Independent. 30 Dec 1926.
Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm