Portal, ND

Today Pegman walks through  Portal, ND

Portal, ND

Feel free to stroll around the area using the Google street view and grab any picture you choose to include in your post.

To enjoy stories inspired by the What Pegman Saw prompt or to submit your own 150-word story, visit the inLinkz button:


Image result for PORTAL STATE BANK, PORTAL north dakota

By Neel Anil Panicker  (150 words)

“My family has not eaten for the past two weeks and you say that you’re powerless. That you can’t do anything. Is that all you have to say?”

Charles H. Marshall, Chief Manager and Cashier, Portal State Bank, felt as if he was hit by a monster speeding truck, every single syllabic sound smashing to smithereens his brain cells.

His eyes had trouble reconciling this debt ridden skeletal old man in tattered clothes, whose shoes he noticed were well past its expiry date; its soles coming off, the Big Toe jutting through the edges to the sanguine, smiling poultry farmer of a year ago.

“Here, keep this, my life’s savings_ all of five thousand dollars. I hear you take good care of people’s money,” the man had then said.

That evening Charles turned off the lights to his cabin, flung a rope across the ceiling fan above and, hung himself.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #whatpegmansaw #historicalfiction #150words


There were many businesses established in the first decade of the 1900s including at least two banks. Although it has been decades since it has been open for business, The Portal State Bank remains on Main Street. In the late 1920s the bank, then called the Union Bank, fell on hard times as did many banks throughout the country. The General Manager and Cashier at the time was Charles H. Marshall a prominent attorney and respected businessman. On September 15, 1929, Mr. Marshall took his own life by hanging in the back of the bank. The bank had closed a few weeks prior to his death. It was written in the local paper, The International, that the bank was closed due to depleted funds. The International stated Marshall left a note to his wife and explained that “grief, discouragement and conditions surrounding the closing of the bank had caused him to become despondent and had almost driven him to insanity. Fearing a nervous breakdown and thoughts of becoming a burden to his wife and daughter prompted his rash act”.
In about 2007 Charles Marshall’s grandson, Larry Anderson, visited Portal. He is the son of Marshall’s only child, Muriel. Mr. Anderson related to me that when he was growing up his mother told him of her father’s great anguish during the time leading up to the closing of the bank. She recalled on numerous occasions patrons of the bank coming to their house begging for their money so as to be able to feed and clothe their families. Of course there was no money and they went away empty handed or with a small personal contribution from Mr. Marshall. The Portal State Bank building was restored by Mary Sjue in the 1990s and was placed on the Registry of National Historic Places.

13 thoughts on “neelwrites/whatpegmansaw/historicalfiction/150words/20/05/2017

  1. Great story, Neel. I’ve seen this all over the midwest. It’s very sad.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, it is a very sad part of the growing up of a nation. I am thankful that you appreciated my effort, Hardy.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Excellent job bringing this sad story to life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had no idea! Thanks for writing this sad tale (I think.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, those were very sad times. Thanks Alicia.


  4. Such tragic, personal consequences from such large events. Nicely told Neel

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, life at times can turn very dark. Thanks Lynn.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Neel,

    Wonderfully written piece of history that needed no explanation. Well done.



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot, Rochelle.


  6. A lot of small towns across the U.S. are feeling the crunch as the industries that used to support them dry up.


  7. The reality of this story made it even more disturbing – nicely penned Neel.


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