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  • Foul Fuel

    A horrible catastrophe was reported from Cannon Ball, North Dakota, on this day in 1900. It was days earlier, however, that a steamboat carrying tanks of fuel crashed on the Missouri River. Members of the Sioux tribe on the Standing Rock reservation realized that the fuel would be a valuable commodity to help keep warm […]

  • North Dakota Curling

    The Lake Region Curling Club of Devils Lake is holding their annual Northern Lights Open Bonspiel today through Sunday. Although curling is not a familiar part of every North Dakotan’s vocabulary, the sport has a long history and a very active following in the state. The object of the game is to slide a large, […]

  • North Coast Wreck

    A terrible wreck occurred just after midnight on this day in 1908. The North Coast Limited, one of the Northern Pacific Railroad’s finest engines, struck a broken rail near McKenzie, North Dakota, sending several cars flying over a ten-foot embankment. Although the train was traveling at fifty miles an hour, a fortunate set of circumstances […]

  • Miss Cynthia Eloise Cleveland

    Rumors swirled this week in 1884, as reported in the Jamestown Morning Alert. The gossip centered on a possible successor to the newly-appointed Governor of Dakota Territory, Gilbert Pierce. Although Pierce had only been appointed the previous summer, residents of the Territory were extremely suspicious of the move made by President Chester Arthur. Suspicion, however, […]

  • Penguins on Parade

    The Fargo Forum reported the progress of ten visiting penguins on this day in 1968. The penguins were flown eight thousand miles from their home in Antarctica in order to participate in a research experiment. Leading the project was Dr. Richard Penney of Rockefeller University in New York and the Institute of Animal Behavior of […]

  • December 7 in North Dakota

    In December of 1941 America was preparing for war. It was evident to most people that war was inevitable and that retaining America’s neutrality status was more of a wish than a reality. The draft had been revitalized and North Dakota’s National Guard was training in Camp Claiborne, Louisiana as part of the federalization of […]

  • Wolf Wrangling

    On this date in 1910, Fred Shirkey had a shredded suit of clothes, a torn up hand, but a smile on his face. Better known near Belfield as the Mikkelson Poet, Shirkey had gained a reputation that winter as quite the wolf hunter, having already turned in two large pelts for forty dollar rewards. On […]

  • Husbands Hoax

    Minot reported a curious tale on this date in 1910, writing that a death notice and obituary it published two months earlier was nothing more than an elaborate hoax concocted by a mischievous ex-husband. Louis Sickles lived for some time in Minot and was married there. The couple had two children, but ultimately separated. Mr. […]

  • Weather Lore

    In North Dakota you can almost be sure that at some point during the day the discussion will turn to the weather, which is an important element of life on the Northern Plains, where conditions can rapidly change. Over the years, a local weather lore had developed that was used to predict conditions for the […]

  • Fort Yates Buffalo

    A buffalo bull made headlines this week in 1900 on the Fort Yates Reservation. The bull was spotted among a herd of cattle near Rock Creek, and was the first seen in the area since 1885. The reservation agent quickly issued an edict against killing the animal, hoping more would appear. Although wild and dangerous, […]

  • Three Calvins and a Cook

    North Dakota has had two different towns named Calvin. The first one, in Rolette County, consisted of a rural post office established October 23, 1899. The postmaster was named Ira Eisenhour, but his job was short lived. His post office order was rescinded almost exactly a year later, and that was the end of Calvin […]

  • John Lee Coulter

    The news read differently back in 1912. Anyone picking up a copy of the New York Times on this day would read “Million Cows Give Milk for New York” and “Busy Bees Produce 3,191,733 Pounds of Honey.” These statistics were according to special agent for agriculture, John Lee Coulter. The Census Bureau of the Department […]

  • Robinson’s History

    The great North Dakota historian, Elwyn B. Robinson, wrote to his mother on this date in 1958, telling her about a recent paper he gave at a convocation to celebrate the 75th aAnniversary of the founding of the University of North Dakota. The paper, titled “The Themes of North Dakota History,” went on to form […]

  • State Library

    The North Dakota Governor’s Conference on Library and Information Services began on this day in 1990. The conference was held to prepare for the national White House conference on Library and Information Services the following year, and was held to address the key concerns of literacy, equal access, productivity through marketing, and preservation and access […]

  • Roasting on an Open Fire

    On this date in 1965, a program promoting Christmas, put on by the merchants of Minot, received more news coverage than expected when a young man set the 40-foot community Christmas tree on fire. A cabdriver spotted the fire, early in the morning, and alerted authorities. The tree was saved, though scorched, and the next […]

  • Joan Hecker

    Joan Hecker, Miss Rodeo North Dakota, represented the state at the Miss Rodeo America pageant in Las Vegas on this day in 1962. Hecker, of Belfield, had won not only the Miss Rodeo pageant that year, but also the state barrel racing championship. She and her horse, “Speedy,” were not newcomers to the North Dakota […]

  • Thanksgiving Proclamation

    Today, people across the state and nation will remember, celebrate and share their bountiful blessings with family and friends. It’s a day North Dakotans have officially celebrated for nearly 150 years. Although Thanksgiving’s origins date back to the 17th century Plymouth colony, the modern concept of the holiday was born out the Civil War. After […]

  • Lieutenant Harrington

    The marriage of Lieutenant Henry Harrington and Grace Bernard was reported on this day in 1872. The Lieutenant and his wife would eventually become known to North Dakotans for very different reasons; Harrington would become one of the sad casualties of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, and his wife’s actions afterward would serve […]

  • Dakota National Forest

    Traditionally, stories involving both North Dakota and forests result in a bad joke, usually ending with a punch-line about the state’s only trees being telephone poles. While the jokes are made in good fun, they contain a grain of truth. After all, the state is the least forested in the country, with trees covering only […]

  • The Ten Commandments

    William C. Palmer’s life was steeped in agriculture. He came from a farming family in Wisconsin, where he was born and raised. For a few years in the midst of his college career, he was in charge of the sub-station of the Minnesota Agricultural College and Experiment Station at Lynd, Minnesota. When he graduated in […]