1913 Kosobud Hall dedication featuring the Conway Concert Band.
By John T. Kosobud and his daughter Betty Kosobud Koenig, members of No. 106
On April 18, 1901, a group of early immigrants from Czechoslovakia came to settle on the prairie in this very desolate area of Latona Township, in Walsh County, ND. It was decided to join the fraternal organization, ZCBJ (Western Bohemian Fraternal Organization) that provided life insurance at a reasonable rate for the members. Most of the early settlers could not speak the English language and they wanted a place to get together to converse and visit at regular monthly meetings.
The lodge was organized and a name was chosen. It was called Zapadni Vlestenci No. 106, which meant Western Patriots. They numbered it 106 because it was the 106th lodge established with Western. It was located in Lambert, ND, which was a post office on a rural farm, not far from the place where the Kosobud Hall is located.
The charter members were: H.J. Becwar, Frank Capek, John Cecka, Joe Cervenka, Math Hodek, Frank J. Hosna, Joseph Kasal, James Kasal, Frank F. Kosobud, Matt Kouba, Adolph Lust, E.W. Machart, Thomas Machart, Frank M. Masek, Anton Matejcek, Joseph Matejcek, Frank Novak, Adolph Pachl, Eli J. Pravda, James D. Swartz, Joseph Waith, Sr., Marie Faul, Marie Kratochvil, and Jan Faul.
The first officers of the lodge were: President Thomas Machart, Vice President Math Hodek Sr., Secretary Joseph Matejcek, and Financial Secretary Anton Matejcek.
From 1901 to 1903, monthly meetings were held in the members' homes. At these meetings, discussions were held on building a hall and purchasing a cemetery plot for the members. In early 1903, a cemetery plot was purchased, where it is today, along County Road 16. At that time, the members debated whether they should build a hall across the road from the cemetery.
John Kosobud (grandfather of John T. Kosobud), offered land that he homesteaded to the lodge, one mile north of the cemetery, where the hall stands now. It is seven miles west of Lankin, ND, on Highway 15, then south on County Road 16 for two miles.
John, his wife Anna, and their children lived on the farm, across the road to the west of the hall.
In January of 1903, the lodge members decided to begin building plans to include a dance hall where meetings and social gatherings would be held. In the spring, the 36' x 40' hall was built. Materials were hauled by horses and wagons from Pisek, where the nearest railroad was at that time. The towns of Lankin, Adams, and Whitman did not yet exist.
In 1910, the need for a larger hall was discussed. Plans were made to start building a new hall in 1912. In 1913, a 44' x 88' structure with a stage, was completed and connected to the first hall, which was used as a kitchen and bar. The new hall was dedicated in 1913.
Meetings were conducted in the Czech language until the early 1960's. The member's children married into different nationalities and the spouses joined the lodge. They did not understand the language when they attended meetings, so it was changed to English.
The name was changed to Kosobud No. 106 in honor of John Kosobud.
|2001 Kosobud Hall.|
During the early years, gasoline lamps were used for lighting. Ice had to be used for cooling. A 32-volt light plant was purchased in the 1920's, with a stationary gasoline engine and batteries underneath the stage area. When the lights started to dim, the engine had to be started by hand to charge up the batteries. In 1949, REA came through and the hall was re-wired for electricity. New propane furnaces were installed in the 1960's and the interior of the hall was remodeled with paneling. In 1970, new windows were put in.
A gymnastics team was organized in the late 1920's and early 1930's. It was known as the Sokol organization. They competed with other gymnastic teams in St. Paul, MN and Chicago, IL. They were known all over the Midwest. The lodge purchased much equipment for the team. The anchors for the various pieces of equipment can still be seen in the floor today.
There was a balcony on the west end of the hall. Families were large and children came with their parents to wedding dances and other events. Late in the evening, children would be put to sleep on blankets up in the balcony, while dancing continued below.
In the early 1960's and early 1970's, remodeling was done. New windows and a false ceiling were installed, along with other projects. The balcony was boarded up and no longer used.
Wedding dances, harvest dances, anniversary parties, family reunions, annual Memorial Day programs and funerals were held at the Kosobud Hall for many years. From the "Beer Joint," several cases of beer were sold at many of the events, along with the traditional bologna and crackers from the kitchen. People of all generations came from near and far to attend. Dancing and listening to "OldeTyme" music was always enjoyable.
As the years passed, the number of events held at the hall became less and an annual Memorial Day program was the only event that took place. The population in the rural areas and small towns began to dwindle. There were not enough fraternal members left in the area and it was becoming more difficult to maintain the building.
Kosobud No. 106 has celebrated many significant anniversaries, and recognizes its 116th year in 2017. There are still over 300 members that belong to the lodge, scattered across the country. Five other lodges in the area merged into No. 106 over the years. Currently, it is the largest lodge in North Dakota.
Dancing and listening to "OldeTyme" music was always enjoyable.
|John T. Kosobud served as president for 30 years.|
Presidents that served throughout the years were: Thomas Machart (Charter President), John Zizka, Emil Lala, James Trenda, Frances Kosobud, John T. Kosobud, William J. Zahradka, and Daniel Kouba (current president). John T. Kosobud was recognized for serving as president for a total of 30 years.
In 2004, an auction was held at the Kosobud Hall and the contents of the building were sold. The building was purchased by a private party and still stands in its original location with the ZCBJ crest located on the west side of the Hall. Members continue to meet regularly in Lankin, ND.
Though times have changed, and many years have come and gone, fond memories remain of this very special part of our heritage.
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