Radio Shop

Feth, Jerome. "Radio Shop." Emmons County Record, 5 April 2012, 3.

Jerry Feth

My first recollection of the little building on Main Street in Linton was the red Henry J Kaiser sitting out front. It may have been a Sunday afternoon when Peter Feth pulled the blue DeSoto in next to the little red car at the Radio Shop.

Walking in, I heard the sound of the Hammond Organ playing and a very thin man glancing over his shoulder with a great big smile on his face. George Marquardt immediately put the music into motion with one of Peter’s favorite songs, “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Peter went into “dance mode” and made the whole building shake. It was always fun to see them laugh and talk, but mostly I remember their love of music.

Often we stopped in to visit. Many times his sons Lewis or Jim would be seated at the work bench in the back with the smell of solder permeating the small shop. It all looked so intricate with vacuum tubes, wires and dials on the radios and televisions torn apart on the bench.

It was in this little shop that I first saw television. Of course, Peter had to have one of the first television sets available, and the biggest. It was a blond oak, double door Hoffman Easy Vision. When it was delivered to our house a very difficult and daunting task arose, “where to put it?” Finally a spot was selected and rabbit ears were installed on top. Wonder of wonders, we had the “test pattern” of KFYR Channel 5 in Bismarck, showing on the screen. Though the picture was a bit fuzzy, I must have watched it for a couple hours. It was not boring.

Days later, George, with several helpers, appeared to install the biggest television tower in town. Approximately three stories high, it had a crank on the side to move it down in a North Dakota wind storm. We then had the best picture in Linton.

It was a great thing this television. My favorite shows were “Flash Gordon,” “The Original Amateur Hour” and the “Ed Sullivan Show.” However, I did miss sitting and listening to “Sergeant Preston of the Yukon,” “Fibber Magee and Molly” and “Our Miss Brooks” on the radio… on King, on you Huskies!”

George had a very strong influence on my early years. He tried, almost in vain, to teach me to play the Hammond Organ. Even later, he was my band instructor at St. Anthony’s High School, helping me to learn to play the trumpet.

At my mother’s insistence, I was entered in almost every amateur contest in Emmons County between age 5 and 8. More than my performances, I recall George at these shows playing his Hammond to the delight of the entire county. Mostly, I remember him with the big smile and beautiful music. His joy in playing and performing was obviously immense.

(Editor’s note: Lewis Marquardt said his dad expanded the shop building by adding a lean-to on the east side, and the Marquardts raised three children in the building until moving to a home in northwest Linton. George Marquardt sold wind-chargers and milking machines in the early days before he later settled into radio and television. Lewis, eldest of the Marquardt children, remembers many a night staring at the stars sitting on the lawn in front of the Emmons County Record, or peeking into Record’s windows watching the Linotype and press cranking out the Wednesday editions. The Record was then owned by Lester Koeppen.)

Radio and Farm Electric was located next to the Emmons County Record on the north side, which is the current site of Security State Bank. Above, owner George R. Marquardt is on the right and Alfred Albright on the left, Alfred was George’s main electrician and helper. Both are deceased. The picture, courtesy of George’s son, Lewis of Austin, Texas, was taken in the late 1940s. Marquardt purchased the building from long-time Linton attorney Charles Coventry in 1941.

Reprinted with permission of Emmons County Record.

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