Bonanzaville Telephone Museum Hits Paydirt With Grant From North Dakota Qwest Pioneers
FARGO, N.D. — The North Dakota Qwest Pioneers today announced a $1,500 grant to Cass County Historical Society to help keep telephone history alive. The society will use the funds to complete an addition to Bonanzaville’s Telephone Museum so that future generations of visitors to the pioneer prairie village can explore telephone equipment dating from the early 1900s.
The Telephone Museum at Bonanzaville was established in the 1950s and is the largest historical museum of its kind within the surrounding states. The museum displays fully functioning telephone equipment from the early days of phone communications through the 1980s. The Qwest Pioneers’ grant will update the telephone displays to include today’s methods of communication.
Arnie Pauls, a member of the Red River Valley Qwest Pioneers, was one of the early leaders in getting the Telephone Museum established and operational over the past five decades. He and a team of volunteers are dedicated to maintaining the displays and ensuring the equipment is in working order.
“North Dakota is rich in pioneer history, and it’s important that our state’s stories live on,” Pauls said. “The Telephone Museum offers a fascinating view of how phones have changed over the past 100 years, and the Qwest Pioneers feel fortunate to continue building that legacy.”
The North Dakota Qwest Pioneers have already raised more than $25,000 to begin work on the museum’s new addition, and volunteers have donated hundreds of hours to restore the museum and construct the new addition. Work on the addition began in the spring of 2007 and should be completed by November 2009.
Pauls and other Pioneers members will present Cass County Historical Society Director Bruce Whitmarsh with the grant on Tuesday, July 15 at 2 p.m. at the Bonanzaville Telephone Museum.
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