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Photographs - Collections - 2015 - #2015-P-008

Title: Edward and Agatha Patterson

Dates: ca. 1888-1919

Collection Number: 2015-P-008

Quantity: 11 digital items

Abstract: Consists of digital scans of portraits of Edward, Agatha Gertrude (Slattery), and Sadie Mae Patterson, and Gertrude Mount's birthday party in Northwest Hotel. Also includes scans of an invitation to a "By Heck" dancing party at the Patterson Hotel and menus from the Northwest and Soo Hotels.

Provenance: The collection was donated to the State Historical Society of North Dakota by Becky Roesler in February 2015.

Property Rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.
Copyrights: Copyrights to materials in this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs.  Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code and an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed.
Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.       

Related Collections:       
0070 Patterson Hotel Photographs
MSS 10989 Edward G. Patterson


Edward G. Patterson was born to A. L. Patterson and Francis W. Reed on December 12, 1866, in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended public and high school in Cleveland. Patterson arrived in Bismarck, Dakota Territory, in 1882 at the age of 16. For several years he operated a number of barber shops, although he was not a barber by trade. Patterson married Agatha Gertrude Slattery in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1886. The couple had one child, Sadie Mae, who was born July 24, 1888, and passed away in August of 1889. Agatha, born December 7, 1866, in Wabasha, MN, was the daughter of William and Bridget Slattery. Agatha Patterson was active in Patterson property management, social and civic affairs, and charitable work. She served as Bismarck postmistress from 1896-1915, organized a mail service after a fire destroyed the Bismarck post office, and served on the first library board. She was voted a life member of the North Dakota postmasters association in 1923.

Patterson’s political career began in April 1892 when he was elected an alderman from Bismarck’s First Ward. Two years later he became alderman from the Fourth Ward (which he operated) and which became the power base for his future political fortunes. His ability to deliver the Fourth Ward vote was demonstrated in the 1906 gubernatorial election when reform Democrat John Burke defeated Republican E. Y. Sarles by a decisive margin. The Fourth Ward, however, voted 158-6 in favor of Sarles.

Patterson served three terms as Mayor of Bismarck, 1896-1902, and was regularly re-elected to the city council until 1909, when Bismarck adopted the commission form of government, where commissioners are elected at large rather than as representatives of a district or ward. He lost the 1909 election but won a four-year commission seat two years later. Patterson transferred his interests to county government in 1906 when he was elected to the Burleigh County Commission. He was re-elected regularly and served continuously through 1926, acting as chairman of the commission for many of those years.

Throughout his life, Patterson also served as a deputy U.S. marshal, deputy sheriff, and Burleigh County executioner. He was a member of the State Penitentiary Board of Trustees, a member of the Parole Board, chairman of the state Republican Party Central Committee, and a member of the state Republican committee. Mark Hanna enlisted Patterson to help with a Republican senatorial election; Patterson also spent some time as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. In addition, he started two newspapers, the Bismarck Review, a weekly paper, and Palladium, which was published tri-weekly.

Patterson’s political success brought him into close contact with political boss Alexander McKenzie and he was known as one of McKenzie’s most trusted lieutenants. The two also became close personal friends and, although it is difficult to document, it is likely that McKenzie was a silent partner in many of Patterson’s business enterprises, including the McKenzie (later the Patterson) Hotel. Following an intensely bitter county election campaign in 1922 and the deaths of Alexander McKenzie that same year and his first wife, Agatha, in 1923, Patterson’s interest in politics waned.

By 1928 he had remarried Rose Judge of Bismarck and he devoted his remaining years to operating his hotels and businesses in Bismarck and Burleigh County. He also pursued his life-long interest in prize-fighting (he had been an amateur boxer as a youth), traveling around the country to watch major fights. He died in his apartment in the Patterson Hotel on November 15, 1945. He had one sister, Mrs. A. A. Booth, who was involved in the Patterson Hotel, as well, in Bismarck. Patterson also had three nieces and one nephew: Mrs. H. L. Dahners (Mandan, ND), Mrs. Joe Halibison (Fargo, ND), Mrs. Alice Moore (LaCrosse, WI) and S. P. Mount (Miami Beach, FL). Rose Patterson managed the McKenzie, later Patterson Hotel, with her husband until his death, and was the sole manager of the hotel until her death. The family always lived at the hotel.

Ed Patterson owned and operated a number of hotels and related businesses during his career in Bismarck. In 1893 he leased the Sheridan House, a large, three-story frame hotel located on approximately the present site of the Burlington Northern Depot. The Sheridan was the unofficial political headquarters in Bismarck from the time the territorial capital was moved here in 1883. In 1900, in order to clear the site for the new depot, the Sheridan House was moved bodily to the southeast corner of Main and 5th Street, veneered with brick and used variously as an exposition building and Patterson-operated hotel (called the Northwest Hotel) until destroyed by fire in 1921. In 1906 Patterson built the Soo Hotel on the west side of 5th Street between Main and Broadway. This was renamed the Princess Hotel in about 1927 and sometime later became known as the Patterson Annex.

The present Patterson Hotel was built in 1910 as the McKenzie Hotel, opening for business on January 1, 1911, in time for the legislative sessions that year. This was renamed the Patterson in about 1928. Originally, it stood eight stories high and was topped with a roof garden. Later, two complete and two partial floor were added bringing the total height to 12 stories. Publicly, Patterson proclaimed these additions part of an effort to keep the building the largest hotel in North Dakota, but they probably were a money saving stratagem; buildings were not placed on the tax rolls while under construction.

Patterson also operated several other businesses in and around Bismarck. He had an 1,800 acre ranch or farm just east of Bismarck. In 1905 he built the Patterson Block on the north side of Main between 4th and 5th streets. Prior to building the McKenzie-Patterson Hotel, Patterson operated a drug store in a frame building on the northwest corner of 5th and Main. This later was moved into the Patterson Block. After Prohibition, in 1933, he opened a bar and grill known as Peacock Alley on Main. He also opened a tavern known as The Ring on the ground floor of the Soo Hotel on 5th Street. The walls of this establishment were covered with pictures of prize fighters. Always interested in prize-fighting, and having formerly operated a gym, Patterson brought well known boxers and other entertainment figures to Bismarck.

Bird, George F. & Edwin J. Taylor. History of the City of Bismarck: the First 100 Years, 1872-
1972. Bismarck, ND: Bismarck Centennial Association, 1972.
The Bismarck Daily Tribune, January 4, 1911, 2 [advertisement].
The Bismarck Tribune, November 7, 1923, 1 & 3.
The Bismarck Tribune, September 1, 1943, 1 & 6.
The Bismarck Tribune, November 15, 1945, 1 & 5.
The Bismarck Tribune, November 19, 1963, special section A.
The Bismarck Tribune, January 21, 1975, 7.
The Bismarck Tribune, July 8, 1975, 22.
The Bismarck Tribune, February 5, 1980, 5A.
The Bismarck Tribune, September 29, 1983, special section A.
The Bismarck Tribune, November 29, 1983, special section A.
Fargo Forum, November 15, 1945, 7.
Grand Forks Herald, November 15, 1945, 1.
Grand Forks Herald, May 2, 1978, 4A.
Hennessy, W.B., compiler. History of North Dakota. “E. G. Patterson.” Bismarck, ND: The Bismarck Tribune [publishers], 1910, 578-581.
The Palladium, October 2, 1906, 4.
Vyzralek, Frank. “Historical Background on E.G. Patterson.” SHSND Archives Vertical File.


2015-P-008-00001 Portrait of Edward Patterson, T. M. Swem, photographer (St. Paul, Minn.), ca. 1890s
2015-P-008-00002 Portrait of Agatha Gertrude Slattery Patterson ca 1900
2015-P-008-00003 Portrait of Sadie Mae Patterson ca 1888-1889
2015-P-008-00004 Portrait of Agatha Patterson and a friend in costume for Hard Times party ca 1890s
2015-P-008-00005 Gertrude Mount's birthday party in the Patterson Living Room at the Northwest Hotel, Bismarck (N.D.), ca. 1905

Christmas dinner menu, Soo Hotel, 1907
Christmas dinner menu, Northwest Hotel, 1907
River Improvement Congress Banquet menu, Northwest Hotel, February 13, 1908
Fourth of July menu, The Northwest and Soo Hotels, July 4, 1908
North Dakota Retail Hardware Dealers' Association annual meeting menu, January 27, 1909
Invitation to a "By Heck" dancing party at the McKenzie Hotel, Bismarck (N.D.), February 21, 1919

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