Downtown Dickinson Preservation And Revitalization

In my previous blog post titled “Downtown Dickinson Association Seeking Executive Director” where I offered some proposals for downtown Dickinson, some of my ideas were better than others.  I should not be a nuisance to the Downtown Dickinson Association.  I should be helpful and supportive because what they are doing will make Dickinson a better place to live.

If you didn’t think very much about it, and jumped to conclusions, you might think that the Downtown Dickinson Association seeks to gain attention for downtown Dickinson in order to bring customers to businesses and tenants to the property owners.  Yes, it does do that, this is part of the plan.  A healthy and attractive downtown benefits all of Dickinson in many ways, not just the downtown business owners and property owners.

In most cities and towns that have grown, shopping centers and shopping malls were built beyond the old sections of town.  With one massive multi-acre parking lot, people would park their car, enter the shopping center or mall, and walk from store to store.  Later, without people really noticing, Wal-Mart and Target began to replace the shopping centers and the malls, because people could buy everything very cheaply inside just one store.

The shopping centers, shopping malls, and Wal-Mart are very formatted and controlled according to what corporations want.  There are no shade tress, benches, or tables outside, because they do not want their parking lots to be comfortable, attractive, and appealing.  They want there to be nothing in their parking lots to distract, delay, entertain, or amuse their customers, such as a shady spot or comfortable spot where customers going in, might meet and talk to their friends coming out.

Inside the shopping centers, malls, and Wal-Mart, there are aisles and lanes for shoppers, that are not really conducive to stopping, standing still, or sitting.  There are designated food courts, that are minimal, and not very comfortable.  The shopping environment is very controlled with bright lighting, generic music, neutral decor, standardized layout, uniformed employees, and store rules.

Shopping centers, malls, and Wal-Mart have their purpose, which is to get in, buy as much as you can, and get out, quickly.  I don’t enjoy going to shopping malls or Wal-Mart, because they have the barren no-mans land parking lots, and inside they are somewhat bland, generic, dull, uninteresting, crowded, and full of stressed out people who are in a hurry.

As cities and towns grow and expand, there are more and more chain or franchise restaurants that are owned by corporations, shopping centers that are owned by corporations, and apartment communities that are owned by corporations.  All these corporation owned restaurants, shopping centers, and apartment communities look the same, and are built the same.  To minimize costs, for ease of construction, for ease of maintenance, standardized accounting and management, lease-ability and re-sale ability, everything is built the same.

A relief from the monotony and drudgery of everything looking the same and being the same, the barren parking lots of the shopping centers and Wal-Mart, are the old downtown historic areas.  Where every house and yard is different from the one next to it in a thousand different ways, every building is different, and every city block is different.  A variety of different businesses, professionals, and services.  Wealthy homes, middle class homes, lower middle class homes, all mixed together.  Old people, middle aged people, families, and children all mixed together.

In downtown Dickinson, the residential neighborhoods surround the schools, churches, municipal buildings, and gradually give way to the businesses in the center of town.  Traffic is not bad downtown, and it is very pleasant to walk or bicycle in the old historic section of town.  It is an oasis of green with many kinds of large tall trees, hedges, shrubs, flowers, and lawns.  Home to many birds, squirrels, and cats.

In the afternoon the downtown bars and restaurants open.  Most of them have seating and tables outside on the broad sidewalks.  There are many attractive women who work downtown, you can go and look at them, and leave them money.

In the Spring, Summer, and Fall there are outdoor events and concerts in downtown Dickinson.  There are a few locations that have enough space inside to host events and live music in the Winter.

Downtown Dickinson is the most social area of Dickinson due to the blending of residential, municipal, business, bars, restaurants, events, and concerts.  All kinds of people, every type of person comes downtown.  It is the Downtown Dickinson Association that is not just promoting the businesses and the property downtown, but it is also preserving the character and social aspect of downtown Dickinson.

3 thoughts on “Downtown Dickinson Preservation And Revitalization

  1. Nice to read something positive! Some places we’ve lived, even the Targets, Walmarts have thoughtfully-landscaped parking lots, including trees. I’m not sure, but I suspect such cities mandated the landscaping while in negotiations. It’s so nice to have (especially) trees breaking up the ugliness and heat of parking lots.

    I agree with you that Dickinson’s downtown is very nice. One thing which ruins the look and character of any place, IMHO, are the ubiquitous ‘vape shops’ and tattoo places. Also payday loan (sharks) places, though I don’t believe we have any of those here. Kudos to those who have the tenacity to create and run a small business, and thank goodness they’re NOT all vape shops, etcetera, lol.

    Dickinson could use a good stand-alone tailor/alterations place. (If there is one, would you please tell me?) I realize the new dry cleaner apparently offers alterations, but I don’t care for the woman who seems to be in charge of that place (long dark hair, a bit taller than average, late 30s to mid 40s). I took a pair of trousers there last year, one with a seam which had come loose. (If I’d had my sewing machine, I could’ve fixed it in 5 minutes.) Husband needed them fixed in under two weeks. Dry cleaner woman was so rude to me, and I promise you I was not being demanding or ugly. I simply asked “Hey, how long would it take to have y’all fix this?” She answered (very b*tchy tone) “The wait time is six weeks out.” I replied gently, “Oh, why so long?” Dry cleaner woman, “BECAUSE THERE ARE PEOPLE IN FRONT OF YOU!!!! THAT’S WHY!” (The trouble is they have no competition. Dry cleaner woman can be as unpleasant as she likes. 😦 I wish I knew who owned that place. Since apparently this woman is the *manager*, or assistant manager, well, you get it. Anyway, apparently there is a market for alterations (with a smile). I wish I were a seamstress.


    1. To answer some of your questions, the first answer being longer than you would like. The “Fisher Group” owns Paradise Cleaners, the Players Club, General Steel, Fisher Industries, Joy Haven/The Boer’s Nest, and Dickinson Ready Mix though DRM ownership is kind of a secret. The “Fisher Group” or Fisher Industries owns rock/material quarries in about seven states. They are a privately held, family owned company that has a net worth of about $100 million to $200 million. A local resident, Gene Fisher, started his company in approximately the 1950s, I believe in rock/material quarries, excavation, and heavy equipment. It was suspicious to me that Gene Fisher was able to get so far ahead, when most people in Dickinson were poor and there was not a lot going on in Dickinson. My personal belief and theory is that the U.S. Government, had to pick some people in western North Dakota to “do a lot of digging, material hauling, concrete supply, heavy equipment hauling, heavy equipment supply, and shut up about it, never talk about it, and get paid a great deal of money.” The ICBM sites, and Radar Base Hill in Dickinson required large cranes, large excavators, conveyors, large amount of concrete, material hauling, and equipment hauling. The U.S. Government does not want to be a building contractor, they had to pick somebody and pay them enough money to go buy every crane, excavator, dump truck, dozer, tractor truck, conveyor, and concrete plant in order to hurry up and build ICBM sites and sites like Radar Base Hill. This is the only explanation I can think of as to how Gene Fisher became so wealthy so quickly.

      When Radar Base Hill went up for public auction in the 1970s, the successful highest bidder was Gene Fisher. The only story you will ever hear about there being anything underground at Radar Base Hill, was after Gene Fisher bought Radar Base Hill, it took a very large crane to hoist up from deep underground, like about 150 feet deep, extremely large generators. All told, the equipment that he removed was sold for more than he paid for Radar Base Hill, and then after the equipment was removed, he sold Radar Base Hill for what he paid for it. How did he know what was 150 feet below ground and how much it was worth?, because he was the one who put it there in the first place.

      One of the rudest people to me ever in Dickinson, was a manager for Fisher Industries, a Catholic and member of Knights of Columbus. There is more to what I have been writing about in Dickinson, than most people understand. It is funny that you are stumbling across just the tip of the iceberg, more than once actually.

      There is an elderly woman named Millie, who owns Millie’s Stitching And Crafts in the T-Rex Mall who I believe her primary business may be alterations.

      I wasn’t able to write more, and emphasize more, how downtown Dickinson has lost the importance and significance that it once had in being the center of business, commerce, government, church, schools, bars, dining, dancing, entertainment, and socializing. For as long as Dickinson can hold on to downtown, or maybe even bring back some of the attraction for downtown, Dickinson will have some sense of community, identity, and cohesiveness. If Dickinson loses downtown, it will be just another heartless, soul-less stop beside an interstate, like most places in the United States have become. Wal-Mart, Target, Applebees, Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, Home Deopot, McDonalds, Burger King, Wendys, then repeat, then repeat, then repaeat.


  2. Thank you very much for the info re: Millie’s Stitching & Crafts. I will check that out. Very much appreciated.

    What a fascinating story, the rest.


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