"WHAT A CELEBRATION IT WAS"
The City of Leith celebrated its 105th
birthday on Saturday & Sunday July 19th and 20th.
Donovan, reporter for the Bismarck, North Dakota Tribune, said it best
in her article
Leith Celebrates Its Return To The Good
July 19, 2014 • By Lauren Donovan •
LEITH, N.D. — Before a white supremacist
invasion put the small town of Leith on the map, its friendliness did.
On Saturday, the town celebrated getting its friendly self back with
a small parade, old-time foods like kuchen and fleischkuechle and
friends gathering to laugh and visit in the shade of old buildings on
It was a lovely day, occasioned by the 105th
anniversary of Leith's founding as a prairie town served by a railroad
that no longer runs through.
It was a day to remember and
reminisce and there was no forgetting the town's most unwanted citizen,
Craig Cobb, who lived in a small house, flew Nazi flags, spewed hate
toward residents and upended normalcy.
Cobb's gone now after a
stint in jail, and former residents like Ervin Mund of Bismarck were
happy to show the grandkids where he grew up and the corner building
where his mom was the postmistress back in the day.
"We came to
support Leith and show the grandkids the old house and the old jail — we
always played in it," he said.
His grandkids collected a 10-pound
bag of parade candy and showed off their cartwheels on the gravel
Leith Mayor Ryan Schock drove a team of horses and a
mockup territorial jail wagon in the parade.
"It's the end of a
long year," Schock said, referring to Cobb's announcement last August
that he planned to take over Leith government and create an all-white
enclave. Schock worked hard with the town council to control the
He said the town looked great with the grass all
mowed, flags flying and old abandoned buildings removed and covered
"It was sad to see the history go, but maybe now there's
room here for somebody normal," he said.
Pat Hauge of Leith was
at the old theater, now a town hall, where pie and decorated cupcakes
were set out for sale.
"I'm here to celebrate that Leith is free
of Nazi thoughts and people. It's so nice to see the American flag
flying rather than the swastika," Hauge said.
Arlene Wells put
together Leith history books for display and said she was saddened to
see so many of the town's buildings removed, including the old
Gottleiber's creamery that stood next to Cobb's former house and that
he'd deeded over to a neo-Nazi sympathizer.
Bobby and Sherrill
Harper of Leith enjoyed the parade and visiting with friends and
well-wishers. Bobby Harper is black and he and his wife endured the
worst of Cobb's racist put-downs.
"It's taken a toll on all of
us, but today I feel so happy and proud of Leith," Sherrill Harper said.
Nettie Ketterling brought on extra help at the bar and said everyone
worked hard to get ready for Saturday's celebration.
chapter seems almost surreal looking back, but the town learned
something about itself.
"He thought we were just a bunch of dumb
hayseeds around here that didn't know nothing, but he found out
differently," Ketterling said.
The mayor opened up the old post
office for people who wanted another look and everyone settled in for
the evening dancing still to come.
"Everybody likes to party in
Leith and it's been that way ever since I was a kid," he said.
Happy birthday and party on, Leith. It's been a year for the history
Official Website Of Leith, North Dakota
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