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History of The Hawk Museum

See the neat articles and historic pictures of the Hawk Museum, as well as learn more in depth on the history of Dale & Martha Hawk and how the Museum came to be.

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The Dale & Martha Hawk Museum Story

Dale Hawk was born February 6, 1903 to Jess and Ella Hawk in Conrad, Iowa and Martha was born June 12, 1908 to Jacob and Rosina Fuhrman in Bowdwn, ND. Dale and Martha came to be together and in 1937, Dale chose her as his wife in Fessenden, ND.

They moved to a farm near Wolford, ND. Even as a young boy, Dale was interested in old equipment and his interest in old machinery grew throughout his life, he had a problem with just throwing things away and not keeping them for future generations.

In 1941, Dale built a 40 by 80 shop and storage building. The shop area had a basement under half of it, where he installed a coal boiler so he could add heat to the shop, where he installed 1 1/4" pipes along the outside wall for heat.

The farm did not have electricity in 1941, so Dale put up a wind charger that produced 32 volt electricity which was attached to batteries in the shop basement next to the furnace.

Later in the shop, Dale installed a metal turning lathe, drill presses, grinders, etc. When WWII came, many neighbors visited Dale to have their machinery fixed. If they couldn't find the parts needed, Dale would make them.

Dale had collected a few things as time went on. For decades, Dale and Martha disappeared in their 1947 Ford truck to Canada, Montana, or wherever he had heard about old farm tractors, implements, cars, trucks....anything old that would add to his collection. He usually returned with a full truck.

In the 1960s, Dale was hobbled with arthritis and had to quit milking cows. Putting the farming to rest left Dale with not much to do, so restoring old equipment that he had dragged home seemed like a perfect fit.

Over the years, Dale brought to shining glory many pieces unfamiliar to most people like a rare Circa 1920 Nilson Sr. tractor and a Crosley Icy Ball Refrigerator. There was also the horse-drawn flame thrower, used to burn weeds off fallow ground in the 1930s leaving roots to keep the soil from blowing away during the Great Depression. It worked great unless the wind switched and blew the flames back to the horses.

Dale's main "Pride and Joy' was the 1917 Hackney Auto-Plow, which is the only remaining two-way plowing machine in the world that still runs. Almost every old photo of Dale shows him on the Hackney Auto Plow.

After acquiring and restoring that rarity, Dale decided to make his own Museum, replete with all kinds of pre 1930 machinery and household goods which all show the farm and household implements used in everyday life of the past.

So to house the ash sifter, threshers, tractors and the like, he and a friend built a pair of buildings, 300 by 30 and 240 by 30 feet. "He was just a kid," the 81 year old Dale said at the time. He was "only 80".

The buildings seemed big enough. But additional buildings had to be added as Dale and other volunteers restored more and more machinery. This included the rare 8-16 Mogul tractor Dale was working on when he passed away. Edlon Held and volunteers also restored the behemoth 23,000lb 35-50 Minneapolis Tractor with rear wheels almost six feet high, a local landmark that had been sitting outside Dales shop for 50 years. They also restored plows, mowers and old goods exhibiting how early farming households looked and how the machinery work.

Dale Hawk would be proud, as Martha Hawk once said, "Dale just loved the stuff and insisted that everything be restored exactly. One time, when I was making a canopy for a tractor, he gave me a scrap of material he found on the machine to make sure I would match the exact color of the original."

Dale passed away on February 14, 1984 and Martha passed away January 30, 1997 and the place lives on today that they started, that we love and honor.

Dale & Martha Hawk Museum was previously known as "The Dakota Hawk Foundation", and the museum official dedication was July 9, 1983. The antiques, museum, farmland and farmstead was turned over to the foundation upon the death of Dale and Martha Hawk. At the time of this dedication, Dale had over 1,000 fully restored antique farm implements and cars. This is an institution that everyone agreed would remain on the Dale and Martha Hawk farm long after they and any descendants they may have had, passed on. Governor Olson said that the Dakota Hawk Museum "Will not just reflect the heritage of this part of North Dakota, but the heritage of all of us." And the governor pledged that the (State) Historical Society "Will work with you and not over you. It is important to recognize that we need each other as we try to tell our grandchildren what it is that makes up North Dakota." Mayor Engbrecht represented Rolla at the dedication and Mayor Maurice Aird Jr. was there from St. John. Councilmen Frank Morin and Norman Hiatt, represented Dunseith and Gene Martinson, the City of Rolette. Tribal Councilman Lloyd Davis appeared on behalf of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

Fast forward to where we are today, the museum has grown and been cared for in all different ways. It stands as a well respected place that all who come, no matter their age or interest, can enjoy on every level. What a wonderful gift for generations to come.

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