In accordance with Dunn County deeds and everyoneâ€™s recollection, we believe this to be a fairly accurate historical description. The property now occupied by the Buckskin Bar & Grill was originally the residence of Native Americans and was actually part of the Fort Bertold Reservation. In 1803 the United States government acquired this property as part of the Louisiana Purchase. In 1879 the modern era of development began. On December 6, 1901 the United States government ceded right of way to the Northern Pacific Railroad. The railroad later conveyed this tract of land to the Fertile Valley Land Company on March 20, 1911, who in turn sold it to John Watson on July 29, 1914. John Watson then sold it to the Tuttle Land Company on August 6, 1914. On November 18, 1914 there was a land auction, supposedly in front of this building, the intersection of Railroad and Central Avenues. Jay, Frank and Harlan Reed (Reed Brothers) of Dickinson purchased the entire lot now occupied by the Buckskin Bar & Grill. It was considered the most desirable purchase of the sale.
Dance Hall â€“ The Reed Brothers operated a general Mercantile Store at this site and in 1916 built the structure currently known as the Dance Hall. The Reedâ€™s sold this property to John Zimbrick on April 3, 1941, who operated a General Store and Government Land & Agricultural Office. On June 5, 1979 Edward Plowman purchased the property and opened a pharmacy. Todd Wetsch purchased and adjoined the pharmacy to Wetschâ€™s Grocery Store on April 4, 1991. Eric T. Kehr bought the property on March 27, 1998 and proceeded to restore the unique building to be used as a banquet facility for the Buckskin Bar & Grill. Interestingly, there is reference in an old newspaper to the first Town Dance being held in the Reed Brotherâ€™s store just prior to their grand opening.
Saloon – The building now known as the Saloon was sold by the Reed Brotherâ€™s to L. B. Kuykendall on October 24, 1916, who then sold the lot to Barney Gorey on April 28, 1920. Hamlin McCray inherited the property from Barney Gorey at the time of his death on November 28, 1922. Jack Jesty then purchased the property on May 24, 1929 and sold it to Anton and Adolf Wetsch. The Wetsch Brotherâ€™s were operating a very successful Grocery Store in Killdeer and decided to move down-town , they purchased the lot on August 10, 1929. Wetsch Brotherâ€™s built the existing structure and operated the Red & White Food Store which later became Jack N Jill Foods. Our local celebrity and everyoneâ€™s friend Tony Wetsch (who was a considerable help to me with this history) purchased the entire property and business from his family on January 3, 1972. He later conveyed the business to Todd Wetsch on January 3, 1991, who continued to operate the grocery store. Todd eventually sold the property to Eric T. Kehr on March 27, 1998, when it became the Buckskin Bar & Grillâ€™s Saloon.
Buckskin Bar â€“ The original lot was bought from the Reed Brotherâ€™s by A. H. Drone on November 18, 1916 who then sold it to Rose Grevious on April 15, 1929. This property has always been a bar – prohibition was apparently not very popular in Killdeer. Joe O. Okrup purchased the bar on February 28, 1939 and it became Joeâ€™s Bar. There is a picture of Joeâ€™s grand opening â€“ wearing their six shooters – just inside this door to the right, which is exactly where the picture was taken many years ago. Joe sold the bar to his son George on May 25, 1945. George sold it to Harry Semerard on August 13, 1947.
Charles Urbanec bought the property on November 29, 1947 and later sold it to Anton Feist on October 7, 1953. Anton changed the name to Tonyâ€™s Bar and then later sold it to his son-in-law Ernest Charchenko on January 11, 1954. Ernie owned the property and Leo Dardis operated the business for many years, it was called Leoâ€™s Bar. I had the privilege of meeting Leoâ€™s son in July of 2003, he told me his father had actually passed away inside the bar, and feels sure his father is one of the friendly ghosts who have been known to frequent the place. After Leo passed on, his son-in-law Smokey Beck operated the bar and it was called the Buck Nâ€™ Horse Bar. Dellmont Johnson (Ole) and his wife Marian (sister-in-law to Ernie and daughter to Anton Feist â€“ a previous owner till 1953) , bought the property on December 21, 1977 and renamed it the Bronco Bar. Ernie and Oley still frequent the bar to drink, play cards, shake dice, (fist fight with each other – recently) and generally raise hell, but theyâ€™re good people and theyâ€™ve always given me good advice. David and Cheryl Gartner purchased the property on February 27, 1984 and named it the Buckskin Bar. The name was adopted from a bar in the movie â€śThe Yellow Rose Of Texasâ€ť. Eric T. Kehr, that being me, bought the bar on April 30, 1997 – I like Buckskin horses and will never allow the name to be changed.
Steak House â€“ The Reed Brotherâ€™s sold this lot to John Dugstad on November 18, 1914 (the day of the land auction). John Dugstad later sold it to Frank Cleveland on March 14, 1917. Frank built the townâ€™s first cafĂ© and then later sold it to Theresia Doberstein on June 6, 1927, who later sold it to Clifford Wing on Janurary 12, 1946. Clifford closed the cafĂ© and operated a radio and television store until he sold it to Ella Thompson on April 3, 1973. Ella restored the old cafĂ©, she operated a very popular cafĂ© specializing in steak, she was by all accounts an excellent cook. Ella Thompson later sold the property to James Weisz on July 1, 1975, James and his wife continued to operate the cafĂ©. Tony Wetsch bought the property on June 30, 1979, Tony closed the cafĂ© and used it for storage for his grocery store and butcher shop. Tony later sold the property to David and Cheryl Gartner on April 18, 1994 who proceeded to dismantle the old cafĂ© to build an addition to the Buckskin Bar. Eric T. Kehr bought the property on April 30, 1997 and utilized the renovated cafĂ© as a dinning room for the steakhouse The Buckskin Bar & Grill in itâ€™s entirety, emerged on April 30 1998, the restoration of these unique properties will no doubt be timeless. I have great respect for all the efforts of all the peoples who have come here before me â€“ I really hope the next proprietor loves this place as much as I do. Sincerely, Eric T. Kehr