Anyone with a penchant for the history of Cass County will appreciate a book by the same name.
Cass County” is the newest edition from Arcadia Publishing as part of its “Images of America” series.
The book, authored by Tim Hoheisel and Andrew Neilsen, went on sale for $19.99 at area bookstores April 2. The 127-page paperback is a well-rounded collection of rare photographs depicting the people and towns of rural Cass County.
The book says little of Fargo, Neilsen stated, because Arcadia has published a book on Fargo in the same series, by authors Claire Strom and David Danbom.
“We didn’t want to repeat anything they told in the Fargo book,” Neilsen said.
Hoheisel and Neilsen’s book is unique, because it covers the history of the county by geographic regions, rather than by subjects such as commerce or transportation. The book addresses the county in quadrants, formed artificially by the lay of the former Northern Pacific and Great Northern Railroads which cross at Casselton.
“This allowed us to provide better coverage of all towns,” Hoheisel said. Coverage of all things in the book is primarily through pictures. Selecting images for their book, Hoheisel estimated he and Neilsen went through over 3,000 photographs, from the collections at the Cass County Historical Society and the Institute for Regional Studies.
“We went through photos looking for things that stuck out at us – things we’d never seen before,” he said.
Some of the photographs people will recognize. Others they likely will not, such as roll-film camera inventor David Houston and his family sitting down for Christmas dinner, or of Republican supporters standing atop telephone booths at the National Plowing Contest in Wheatland in 1964, hoping to catch a glimpse of presidential candidate Barry Goldwater.
About 3,500 copies of “Cass County” have been printed for its first run. But Hoheisel and Neilsen aren’t looking to make money from sales of the book. They’re history buffs.
Actually, Hoheisel is the former executive director of the Cass County Historical Society (he’s now a full-time graduate student); Neilsen is the Society’s assistant curator.
“All of the money comes back to Bonanzaville,” Neilsen said. “We wanted to do this for the museum. People would call us about the museum and ask about a book for the area. There wasn’t anything just on Cass County that was in print.”
The last extensive book on the county was published in 1976 by the Cass County Historical Society. “Rural Cass County: The Land and the People,” was 944 pages long. Hoheisel said it pops up occasionally at auctions and garage sales.
On April 12, at Bonanzaville’s annual meeting, Hoheisel and Neilsen will hold a book signing. There will also be a sneak preview of the museum’s new exhibit.