Stories From the Sheriff's House in the 1930s

Ashley Limesand
Staff Writer

Today, local county officials are currently working to update the Barnes County Jail after recent state inspections and they are considering the possibility of constructing a new jail. The jail, located at the corner of Second Avenue NW and Fifth Street NW just north of the Barnes County Courthouse, has been functioning as so since 1914-1915 when it was constructed.

Although the structure itself was remodeled in 1985, one current Valley City resident remembers a time when the place was a bit more "loose" in how it regulated its prisoners.

In 1939, Hilda Anderson began working for the Loe Stowman of Dazey, North Dakota. She said at the time it was common for a girl in high school in the rural areas to work for a family and instead of wages receive free room and board.
She went to school at Dazey High School and when she returned to the Stowman's home she would babysit and help take care of the home.

Then, Stowman was elected Sheriff of Barnes County the family moved into the Sheriff's House in Valley City. In the late 1930's this meant they moved into the jailhouse, and the front east portion, what Anderson now believes to be offices, served as their home.
Anderson recalls moving with the family as she worked to finish her education at St. Catherine's Elementary school.

More on this story can be found in the Feb. 27 edition of the Times-Record.