In Touch with Prairie Living

November 2007

By Michael M. Miller
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
North Dakota State University Library, Fargo

I want to extend Thanksgiving Regards. We can be very grateful that our ancestors immigrated to America settling on these prairies and Northern Plains.

We look forward to seeing readers of this column at the Pride of Dakota Holiday Showcases. We invite you to join us at these festive events: Grand Forks, November 3-4 at the Alerus Center/Convention Hall; Fargo, November 17-18 at the Civic Center/Centennial Hall; and Bismarck, December 1-2 at the Convention Hall/Civic Center. The showcase hours are Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm. We will have many new items including, more than 45 cookbooks.

We are offering a 10% discount on all purchases of $50 or more from November 1, 2007 – December 31, 2007. Please visit our website for a complete list of items. To place an order or request a free catalog, call 701-231-6596 or email

Voices from the Heartland is now available for purchase on CD for $20. The CD contains the 29 clips used in the radio series aired on Prairie Public. The radio series aired o throughout July, August, September, and October and featured narrators from the Dakota Memories Oral History Project. For more information, visit

The Hutmacher Complex, northwest of Manning in western North Dakota, is very important in the German-Russian architectural history. Frank Hutmacher's family, who were immigrants from the Black Sea German villages of South Russia (today southern Ukraine), made their farmsite buildings in a similar style with stone slab used by their forefathers in Russia. The project is being restored by efforts through Preservation North Dakota and the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

For 2007 and 2008, with the help of volunteers and grant funds from Save America’s Treasures (National Park Service), there is an effort to restore the stone house. It is located back in the rocky western hills of Dunn County, southwest of Killdeer. A Hutmacher lived there until 1979 without running water.

Dr. Tom Isern and students from the NDSU History Department supported by the Center for Heritage Renewal ( assisted in restoration work in October.

Ann Erling, Isern’s student and GRHC employee spent a weekend working at the Hutmacher site. Erling said, “Working on the Hutmacher Home was an amazing experience. During my weekend in Dunn County, I sifted clay, mixed mud, and helped to rebuild a roof of sticks and dirt! It was hard work, but when one of the women who grew up in that earthen home arrived on the work site, I knew the work I was doing to preserve history was appreciated. I kept imaging what it would have been like to live in that home until 1979, and it's hard to imagine, but working on the Hutmacher farmstead for one weekend really opened my eyes to North Dakota's homesteading history.”

Further information about the Hutmacher farmsite is at the Preservation North Dakota website: and at the GRHC website:

Interested in finding a particular recipe, but don’t know where to look? Try using our Recipe Index Search located at our website, Type the recipe you are looking for in the search engine (example: kuchen), and recipe matches will appear.

The dates for the 14th Journey to the Homeland Tour to Odessa, Ukraine and Stuttgart, Germany are May 20-30, 2008. The tour includes four days in Odessa visiting the former German villages and five days in southern Germany including Alsace, France. For further information, contact me or visit

Janis Weisz Piotrowski, Tallahassee, FL, a member of the 2007 Journey to the Homeland Tour writes, “I really enjoyed the trip. It was a rewarding experience on many different levels — spending time with other people with the same background and on the same quest, learning more about the history and current situation in the Black Sea area, as well as seeing, meeting, and talking to people from the area were worth the trip.”

For further information about the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, Dakota Memories Oral History Project, Journey to the Homeland Tour and donations to the GRHC such as family histories, contact Michael M. Miller, NDSU Library, PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105-5599 (Tel: 701-231-8416; Email:; GRHC website:

November 2007 column for North Dakota and South Dakota newspapers.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller