It was the biggest day in Whitman, North Dakota, that anyone could remember. And who’s surprised? It was the town’s centennial.
The celebration on July 6 was the town’s going away party, too.
The Nelson County railroad town now claims only two permanent residents. Clearly its days are numbered, except as a ghost town.
But 300 former residents and well-wishers showed up for the “Party on the Prairie.” Organizer Bob Vasichek, who grew up nearby, described the event to a reporter as the town’s last hurrah.
There was a parade with 100 entries — most sponsored by businesses from other towns in the vicinity — a train ride, pig roast, music and a street dance.
It must have reminded old-timers of better days, when Main Street boasted 20 businesses. At the celebration, signs marked their former locations, a sad reminder of the town’s long-gone prosperity.
But as former residents renewed acquaintances and recalled the town’s better days, they had the satisfaction of seeing old Whitman off in style.