Old Dakota memories caught on film being preserved in online library thanks to grant

Grant funds help North Dakota residents transfer old home movies to the internet for public viewing.

Streeter 1966
Streeter's phone booth was nearly buried during the blizzard of 1966 in this screenshot from the films digitized and made available by a grant from the Al Larvick Fund. Submitted photo

JAMESTOWN, N.D. — People with an interest in North Dakota's past will soon have the chance to watch Streeter, N.D., dig out from the blizzard of 1966 through archived videos on the Internet.

Through a grant from the Al Larvick Fund, Frankie Kaiser and her family have been able to digitize old home movies that will be placed in the Internet Archive, an online library of digital files, for the public.

Kaiser now lives in Mandan, N.D., but grew up in the Streeter and Tappen areas.

"Some (of the old movies) were shot on an old Super 8mm camera," she said, "and we acquired some from an uncle."

The old movies were shot to be shared with family members but include a number of items of historic interest to the area, such as a 1970s grain elevator fire in Belfield, N.D., early footage of snowmobiles from the late 1960s and the bicentennial parades of Tappen and Napoleon from 1976.


"There are some that are just our family," Kaiser said. "These would have never been seen by the public if it weren't for the grant."

Streeter 1966
A screen capture of one of the films from the Kaiser collection showing snow removal efforts in Streeter after the 1966 blizzard. Submitted photo

Kaiser said many of the old films were fragile and subject to cracking if run through a projector. Now the images are in a format that can be preserved.

Kirsten Larvick said she established the grant program so the public would have a chance to see more of the old home movies that people have in the area.

Larvick said both sides of her family had ties to North Dakota.

"My grandfather fell in love with his home community of Valley City and other places in the state," she said. "We established the Larvick Conservation Fund because it is an important part of preserving our heritage."

The fund also provided grant funds to Joel Winckler for the preservation of audio and film recordings made by his father, Garmon Winckler.


"He had bought an 8mm wind-up movie camera when he was in South Korea in the army," Joel Winckler said.

The films included footage shot in Korea but also shots from North Dakota and South Dakota including the Peace Gardens and the Black Hills. Audio recordings included music with some songs in German.

Joel Winckler lived in Jamestown at the time he applied for the grants but said the film was shot in other areas.

"It is a little slice of what life was like," he said, referring to the 1960s and early 1970s when the film was shot. "Old cars, old clothes, things from that era."

Larvick works as a filmmaker and archivist but calls her work with people to make their home movies available to all a "labor of love."

"I very much enjoy it," she said. "As a filmmaker, we use archival footage but I value the home movies for what they are and tell us."

The videos and audio recordings will be available online at .

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