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2013 Centennial

Eldon White

Eldon White was considered one the leading businessmen in early Minot. He was born at Coopersville, Michigan, May 5, 1867, a son of Timothy B. and Lydia (Baker) White, both of whom were born in Canada. He remained and worked on his parent’s Michigan farm during his youth while he attended school. After completing school, he was employed at local bank; however, after 1892, he engaged in the Minnesota timber business.

Mr. White arrived in Minot in 1904 where he founded the first ice-cream plant in North Dakota, the White Ice Cream Company. It manufactured between 125,000 to 150,000 gallons of ice cream annually, as well as the popular brand “Minot Maid” butter, sherbets and ices.

Mr. White was one of the first men of Minot to help organize efforts and support the establishment of the State Normal School at Minot. He was also an advocate for the present site of the campus on the north side of the community on land which had been donated by Erik Ramstad. He served as president of the school board for the Harrison District and was a major contributor in the erection of the school, which later became the training school for the normal school. White was also president of the board when the building was sold to the state of North Dakota, and helped negotiate the transaction in the face of strong district opposition. When the campus did not open on time in the fall of 1913, normal school president, Arthur Crane negotiated with the community to have classes held temporarily in the cities Armory. With a handful of other Minot citizens, Mr. White contributed to the purchase of equipment and furniture for the facility during the winter of 1913-1914. The White Ice Cream remained a patron for the campus Red & Green throughout Mr. White’s life and he could often be seen visiting the campus.

Mr. White was married to Miss May Chesrown, who died, leaving two children: Frank, who served in World War I, and Eldon, Junior, who was associated with the family business. Mr. White was married a second time to Mrs. Louise Anderson, and they had one son, Vern E., who was born in 1922. A high Mason, Mr. White was advanced through the Scottish Rite to the thirty-second degree, and he was also a Shriner. Mr. White died on June 21, 1942 at the age of 75.

Biographical information sources:
Crawford, Lewis. History of North Dakota, Volume III. The American Historical Society, Inc., 1931.
Ward County Independent, Minot, North Dakota.