Stanton native pilots ‘Polar Pumpkin’ pole to pole
By Annette Tait
There’s very little, if anything, that doesn’t intrigue Art Mortvedt. His boyhood days of learning and exploring in and around Stanton developed over time into adventures that took him literally from one of the Earth’s poles to the other, in a bright orange single-engine Cessna 185 dubbed the “Polar Pumpkin.”
“From what I know, it’s the only single-engine production airplane aircraft of its type to be flown over both poles by the same pilot,” Mortvedt said, explaining that “production airplane” means a factory-built airplane that’s available on the market, not a home-built or specialty craft.
Mortvedt has always had a natural sense of curiosity and a thirst for adventure.
“I grew up in and near Stanton -- Mom and Dad had a farm where Basin Electric now sits outside of Stanton,” Mortvedt said, recalling his days attending school at Deapolis and Center schools, and having Alice Husfloen and Florence Fretty as his teachers.
Growing up on a farm offered ample opportunities for hunting, fishing, trapping, and exploring the countryside and the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara cultures. Mortvedt remembers taking shovels and going out searching for arrowheads and beads on what is now officially a part of the Knife River Indian Village historical site.
“There were village sites all around us,” Mortvedt said. “George Sagehorn and I used to go out to where the park is on the weekends -- he has arrowhead exhibits on display at the [Stanton] courthouse. That was back in the days when it was legal,” he added, noting that their adventures predated the park’s 1974 designation as a national historic site. “Now it’s not, and I don’t do that anymore.”