Back Then with Tracy Briggs

Midwest memories of the good old days and a few cool people we’ve met along the way.

Wish you were here! Fargoans once sent postcards of Island Park to their friends
Wed Jun 22 05:30:00 EDT 2022
All of the talk recently of reinvigorating Island Park in Fargo sparked a sweet memory for 87-year-old Joanne Wilson of Moorhead.

Wilson recently found an old postcard her mother wrote to a friend in Wisconsin in 1910 featuring the park.

The young city (just 35 years old in 1910) was clearly proud of its oldest and grandest park, choosing it as the image to share of Fargo to out-of-town relatives.

The Prospect House is a hidden history gem in Minnesota lakes country
Mon Jun 13 14:14:38 EDT 2022
The Prospect House Museum at 403 Lake Avenue North in Battle Lake, Minnesota is almost easy to miss. Just off the main drag, it’s tucked away on a residential street like any other in lakes country.

But when owner Jay Johnson greets you, it’s pretty clear you’re about to have an adventure. Clad in overalls and a Civil War Union cap, Johnson ushers you inside the Georgian-style mansion, not for a leisurely stroll down memory lane, but a deep dive into one Minnesota family's past 140 years. And Minnesota’s premiere Civil War Museum just happens to be in the basement.


An Army physician recalls his days as a young patient in Fargo's 'Pest House'
Fri Jun 10 08:30:00 EDT 2022
After being diagnosed with scarlet fever as a nine-year-old, Donald Person was sent away — off to the Fargo City Detention Hospital, nicknamed the "Pest House."

"I was scared to death. I think I was the only patient there," Person says.

So what was this mysterious brick building at the corner of Elm Street and 11th Avenue North, what went on in there — and what ever became of the "Pest House"?

Find this story here:

Remembering the Schellhas boys and the Minnesota family's WWII sacrifice
Sun May 29 06:00:00 EDT 2022
On Memorial Day every year, we remember those who have died in service to our country. Sadly, some people face a greater burden than others. What happens to a family when they lose more than one soldier to war? How does it affect the parents and surviving children and the trajectory of the entire family?

This is a story about the Schellhas family of Minnesota who faced the unthinkable during World War II, but managed to survive, thrive and now remember years after trying to forget.

Their school days were so different from ours, but COVID-era graduates have an important message for us
Wed May 25 05:30:00 EDT 2022
Perhaps it’s unavoidable as a parent — when your child hurts, you hurt. When they’re sick, you’d rather be sick for them. But it doesn’t work that way, right? Still, the empathy we feel for them never goes away.

Ask any parent of a child who graduated either from high school or college these past three years. The classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022 have certainly had a different school experience than their parents did. The pandemic made sure of that with its whole new world of online learning, masked-up, social-distanced events and all-out cancellations.

From 'Where's the beef? to 'Let's get Mikey,' what are your favorite old TV commercials?
Wed May 18 06:00:00 EDT 2022
When you only have 3 or 4 stations, you tend to hear the same commercials over and over again, and boy do we remember them. "Back Then" columnist Tracy Briggs wants to know your favorites.

Did these high school girls really earn letters for eating breakfast?
Wed May 11 05:30:00 EDT 2022
These young women in Grand Forks Central's 1936 yearbook didn't just earn school letters by eating breakfast, but that was a big part of the drill.

Meet "The Outing Club."

Do you know these men? Another European cemetery needs your help to find photos of fallen WWII soldiers
Wed May 04 05:30:00 EDT 2022
For Memorial Day, an American military cemetery in Cambridge wants to honor the Americans (including North Dakotans and Minnesotans) who are buried there with photos beside their grave markers. Maybe you know one of these men.

Grand Forks high schoolers attempted to set a teeter-totter world record in 1966
Wed Apr 27 05:30:00 EDT 2022
They endured long hours in the snow and cold. Whatever happened to the high school boys who tried to make seesaw history?
What Fonzie didn't tell you about life in the '50s
Wed Apr 20 13:00:00 EDT 2022
The 1950 U.S. Census has officially been released after 72 years of waiting. What you learn about America back then might surprise you, according to columnist Tracy Briggs.