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  • The Pest of North Dakota

    In Italy, it is known as Barba di Frate. In Japan, it’s a crop of some importance, and is known as okahijiki. The leaves and shoots of the Salsola genus can be used in sushi or in salads. But, regardless of culinary taste, North Dakotans think of this large flowering plant as nothing more than […]

  • Lake Jessie

    When, in 1824, Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri saw his newborn daughter for the first time, he was a bit disappointed. She wasn’t the boy he was hoping for. However his disappointment soon abated. Dubbed Jessie, in honor of Benton’s father, the two developed a special bond. Raised more like a son than a […]

  • Grand Forks Men Find Gold Mine

    On this date in 1876, a party of 13 men left Grand Forks, followed the Red River south to Fargo and turned west to follow the Northern Pacific railroad, which wasn’t operating that winter. They reached Bismarck on March 2nd, and rested for the next three weeks. When they forged on, their group had swelled […]

  • End of Rustling

    The trials of horse rustlers Kid Trailer and Ky Matthews continued on this date in 1910 in Minot, North Dakota. Four famed lawmen in attendance marked the occasion as the “end of organized rustling in the northwest.” Kid Trailer, alias of Jack Winnefield, formerly worked in the Jones-Carlyle rustling gang. He had a reputation as […]

  • UnValentine’s Day

    A Fargo woman had a busy Valentine’s Day in 1899, when she was divorced and remarried in order to avoid polyandry charges. The woman’s story began seventeen years earlier, when she married Enoch Arden, in Wisconsin. However, the man deserted her shortly after the birth of their first child. A few years later, the woman […]

  • Nurse on Call

    Time and babies wait for no man, beast, or inclement weather, a fact that can be a trial in North Dakota’s winters. On this date in 1946, just such a case occurred as an impatient stork delivered to a snow-blocked home. It seems that an expectant mother was about to have her child, but was […]

  • Fort Stevenson

    The lands of the abandoned Fort Stevenson Military Reservation were sold by public auction on this date in 1901. The majority of the 45,000 acres were purchased by Black and Associates, a group of eastern businessmen. The men planned on starting a sugar beet enterprise, but this was never realized, and the acreage was eventually […]

  • A Mysterious Pipe

    On a cold day in February of 1913, Mr. W.W. Potter of Bowman County watched curiously as an owl swooped down and disappeared into a hole in a pile of rocks on his property. On a whim, he walked up to the hole and stuck the barrel of a gun in the opening. But he […]

  • Marshall Jewell

    Marshall H. Jewell was a name well-known throughout North Dakota, and especially in Bismarck. Born in New York in 1857, Jewell moved to Bismarck in 1878. It was the town in which he and his wife would raise two boys, and it was a town he believed in, and he settled there for good. Jewell […]

  • Depression Script

    With recent mortgage foreclosures in the housing market, we can perhaps more readily relate to the events that transpired in the Great Depression of the 1930s. With continual drought and low commodity prices, farmers across North Dakota were losing their farms to taxes and mortgages; but the State Legislature on this date would reintroduce an […]

  • False Reports

    As the year 1906 drew to a close, North Dakotans looked forward to a prosperous new year. In the past year, the crops and livestock thrived, and a record number of settlers sought their fortunes in the flourishing western frontier. An article in the White Earth Record declared that for the coming year “there was […]

  • World’s Shortest Interstate

    The world’s shortest interstate streetcar line used to run between Wahpeton and Breckenridge. The route was .14 miles long, transported about 750 passengers a day, and ran from 1910 to 1925. It traveled about 15-20 miles per hour and provided one of the earliest means of traveling between the two towns. A few pieces of […]

  • Written Consent

    While today, many young adults consider college a time to become independent, in the early 1900s, college was a different sort of experience, and on this date in 1908, the University of North Dakota announced a new rule for co-eds: if they wanted to go downtown after 6, they needed written permission from their parents! […]

  • Arson Attempt

    A Fargo woman’s visit to Moorhead on this date in 1910 nearly ended in tragedy as the woman attempted to burn down the Fargo city jail, along with herself and four male prisoners. The woman, Jane Hannibohl, had a lengthy police record, and was known for taking advantage of Moorhead’s lax liquor laws, despite living […]

  • Thunderbird

    In the 1930s, dust storms filled the horizon and rain was sparse across the Plains. A prolonged drought had gripped the parched farmland including the ancestral homelands of the Gros Ventre, whose people suffered greatly through this period, even in the fertile Missouri River Valley. But the people on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation now […]

  • Schirra’s Visit

    Astronaut Walter Schirra caused quite a commotion on this date in 1966 on a visit to Fargo. The famous astronaut, known perhaps best for playing Jingle Bells on his harmonica during the Gemini 6 flight, was invited to Fargo to speak at the sixth annual Farm Forum. The speech was his first public appearance since […]

  • John Goodall

    On a warm sunny day in the spring of 1884, Theodore Roosevelt stood on the banks of the Little Missouri River in Medora watching a determined young cowboy struggle to break a wild horse. The bucking bronco kicked violently down the bank to the river, trying to dismount its rider. But just as the horse […]

  • Menoken Indian Village State Historic Site

    It was this date in 1937 that the State Historical Society of North Dakota acquired the Menoken Indian Village. Located a few miles east of Bismarck, the village was home to roughly 200 people and consisted of approximately 30 oval-shaped earth lodges as well as an elaborate fortification system. North Dakota is home to numerous […]

  • Lisbon, we have a problem

    The first attempt at flight in North Dakota was made on this date in 1910. Although the trial run was not successful, it led to further interest and, eventually, actual flight. A. E. Paulson, a Lisbon inventor, decided to try out his own version of an airplane on the outskirts of Lisbon. Paulson had already […]

  • State Coat of Arms

    The U. S. Quartermaster General wrote to the North Dakota Adjutant General on this date in 1957, recommending a coat of arms to be used in representing North Dakota. Major General Heber Edwards approached the Quartermaster General on behalf of the state’s National Guard, which had asked about a possible coat of arms. The heraldic […]