NEW ENGLAND — Steve LaFramboise had a nice little thing going inside his bowling alley. He had turned a small corner section of The B.A. restaurant into a bar and lounge area where bowlers could gather.
It turned into the place to go in New England for those wanting to socialize while enjoying an adult beverage.
But, LaFramboise said, it was never anything more than a hole in the wall. In fact, he acknowledges, it wasn’t even much of a bar.
After attending Dickinson State University for a short time he acknowledged, “College wasn’t for me.”
So, knowing he had a talent for welding, he took jobs with Steffes Corp. in Dickinson and at the Case IH Steiger plant in Fargo. It was at the latter that the Dickinson native had a chance conversation with a co-worker who tipped him off about welders running their own service trucks in the burgeoning western North Dakota oil fields.
So, in 2006, Gayda decided to move home and start his own business.
“It was perfect timing,” Gayda said.
When he was 20 years old, Gayda started Iron Works Welding with one service truck. He worked out of a heatless quonset on Dickinson’s south side by himself.
By 2008, before the true onset of the oil boom, he had found enough work to hire two employees and build a 6,800 square-foot building on a little less than an acre of land on a space just north of Dickinson in the industrial park off Highway 22.
TAYLOR — Inside the newest building in this tiny town along Highway 10 sits Ryan Rebel’s pet project: a 1944 Ford pickup truck.
It’s nothing special yet, but the 21-year-old takes pride in it. He has been working on the truck since he was in high school.
As he stood back to describe and admire the truck — something of a collector’s item as World War II all but halted the production of Ford pickups that year — Ryan described what it takes to restore a vehicle like that.
“You’ve got to have a vision when you start something like that,” he said. “When you start with some frame rails on the garage floor, you’ve got to have something in your mind — what you want it to look like when you’re done.”
NEW ENGLAND — All it takes is one look inside the New England Fire and Ambulance Hall to see the small town could use a better facility.
Packed like sardines into a 40-foot long by 80-foot wide steel building on the town’s Main Street are two ambulances and five fire trucks of different sizes. One truck is always parked outside.
“Those who have questioned why we need a new building, all they have to do is walk into ours right now,” Fire Chief Joey Kathrein said. “It’s actually dangerous. That’s a big reason why we wanted to expand.”
With the help of grants, fundraising and a donated piece of land, the town is building the $1.15 million Emergency Services Center on the city’s northeast edge to house its fire and ambulance services.
Everywhere one looks, Dickinson and southwest North Dakota is changing and growing.
There are new people living in new homes and apartments, new stores alongside new places to eat and recreate, a new school and another likely in the works.
No matter which way you look at it, the city is in the midst of massive changes. Most of all, we’re making progress.