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  • Lawrence Welk’s Parents

    There’s no mistaking the familiar opening notes of the Lawrence Welk television show theme song.  This world famous musician, band leader and showman was born on this date, March 11, 1903, near Strasburg, North Dakota.  Much has been written about Lawrence himself … but what about his parents?  There wouldn’t have been a Lawrence had […]

  • Splitting Billings County

    Billings County is located in the western portion of North Dakota.  The 2010 population of 783 made it the second-least populated county in the state.  The Territorial legislature authorized Billings County in 1879, and it was officially organized in 1886.  The county was named after Frederick H. Billings, president of the Northern Pacific Railway.  The […]

  • Drought and Depression

    The entire economic system of the United States began to break down following the Stock Market Crash of 1929.  Unemployment swept across the nation, and North Dakota suffered even more than most of the country because of a devastating drought.  Production was down and so were prices.  In 1933, the per capita personal income in […]

  • Food-Divorcement Repeal

    Bismarck tavern owner Vincent Kielty announced the formation of a group known as the Association for Repeal of the Food Divorcement Law on this day in 1948. Kielty, chairman of the group, stated that the purpose of its formation was to repeal the 1946 legislation that made it illegal to sell food and liquor in […]

  • The Norwegian-American Summer Religion School

    From the 1870s through the 1930s many Norwegian-American Lutheran congregations held summer schools for religious education. They were called RELIGIONSKOLER [reh-lih-ggeh-oon-skoh-ler], religion schools, parochial schools or Norse schools. One, two or three congregations would participate in running these schools from four to six weeks. At first, professional teachers from Norway taught, then Lutheran seminary students. […]

  • Hypnotist McEwen

    A traveling hypnotist came to Grand Forks in March of 1897 and mesmerized his audiences night after night in seven performances. The hypnotist, known as the “Great McEwen” or as “Professor McEwen,” had a wonderful stage show in which he entertained large audiences with startling feats of mind control and suggestion, all done with care […]

  • Norwegian-American North Dakota Ladies Aid Societies

    Beginning in the 1870s, many Norwegian immigrants established Lutheran congregations in North Dakota. Only the men voted and managed those congregations. The women were organized by the pastors into the women’s society – in Norwegian called the KVINDEFORENING. [kvin-eh-for-eh-ning]. By the 1930s it was renamed the Ladies’ Aid Society. In some places the women organized […]

  • Jon Norstog, A Prolific Writer

    Once, the most prolific writer in the Norwegian language lived in North Dakota. He was Jon Norstog [norՙ-stogg], born in Telemark [tehՙ-leh-mark], Norway, in 1877. He disliked farm work, and would rather hunt, dream and write. At a church academy Jon deepened his faith and learned the common idiomatic language of Norway, while also mastering […]

  • Schools at War

    As the United States entered World War II, everyone on the home front was called upon to help. The Schools at War program was organized on September 25, 1942, by the War Savings Staff of the Treasury Department and the U.S. Office of Education. The program was set up to garner the interest and participation […]

  • Studebaker

    In 1916, a very special car was turning heads: a Studebaker gold chassis. The car was constructed with more than 250 ounces of pure gold. It was built at a cost of more than $25,000 dollars. The car proved a sensation at the New York automobile show in January of 1916.   News of the […]

  • Beatrice Agard

    In Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel, “Love in the Time of Cholera,” Florentino Ariza waits fifty-one years, nine months, and four days to profess his “vow of eternal fidelity and everlasting love” to his beloved Fermina Daza.   Everlasting adoration is often the material for writers and poets, but for Bea Agard from Larimore, North Dakota, […]

  • ND FCCLA National Vocational Education

    President Woodrow Wilson signed the Smith-Hughes Act into law on this day in 1917.  This was the first national vocational education act, and it established state boards of vocational education be created in order to appropriate funds received by the federal government.  The act came about partly in response to the pressures concerning the nation’s […]

  • Counties on the ND Map

    There are 53 counties in North Dakota today, but early on, the map of the state changed frequently. The first counties were established when region was still a territory. Additional counties were added, carved up or divided, which was often a point of contention. Have you ever heard of Burbank County? How about Stevenson? Both […]

  • Dreaming of Jewel Bearing Plants

    On this date in 1953, citizens of Rolla were thinking about jewels – to be more precise, they were thinking about a jewel bearing factory. The new Turtle Mountain Ordnance Plant in Rolla was under construction.  It would produce synthetic rubies, sapphires and ceramics — critical components in highly sensitive instruments used by the military […]

  • Otto Bremer

    Otto Bremer and his brother Adolph immigrated to Minnesota in 1886 and within a few years Otto had entered into the banking business as a bookkeeper. He then decided to make a run at politics as a candidate for the City Treasurer for St. Paul, an office he held from 1900 to 1910. In 1903 […]

  • Dire Winter Weather

    If you were listening yesterday, you heard about the dire winter weather conditions that the Williams County area suffered in the first few months of 1936. Paths of communication were cut as telephone lines fell, roads were blocked by snow, and temperatures dropped to new record lows. It was one of the worst winters ever […]

  • Weather

    With the dawn of 1936, a terrible, drawn-out cold settled on the country. Snow storms raged and temperatures fell well below zero. Williston felt the icy temperatures keenly, with cold so deep that farmers reported that “the Little Muddy and Stony Creek were frozen to the bottom.” Telephone employees fought the cold to repair broken […]

  • Cookies for U.S. Soldiers

    War has two themes: Love and Death. The death theme is grimly obvious – soldiers could die any day in combat. The love theme involved families who said farewells to loved ones going off to war, hoping beyond hope that they might be reunited. The twin themes of love and death played out in Minot […]

  • Lincoln’s Birthday

    Dr. William Jayne owed much of his political success to President Abraham Lincoln.   Jayne was certainly well-connected with the ambitious lawyer.  William was Abraham’s personal physician and long-time political supporter.  His sister, Julia, was a close friend of Mary Todd; she even stood as a bridesmaid in the Todd-Lincoln wedding.  After winning the presidency, […]

  • Silk Train Passed Speedily Through Grand Forks

    Silk has a natural beauty unmatched by lesser fibers.  Silk ranks among the strongest of fibers and among the most lustrous and shiniest materials on earth, and softest to the touch.  Nothing holds the color of dye more deeply than silk. Spun by silkworms into cocoons, silk has always been a luxurious commodity. From 1900 […]