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  • Confederate in North Dakota

    North Dakota was not a state when the North and the South fought the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. However, a multitude of Union veterans moved into Dakota Territory in the years after the war had ended. Many of these war veterans became the leaders and first families of towns across the span of […]

  • Sunday Baseball

    Until 1920, state law in North Dakota did not allow anyone to play organized baseball games on a Sunday. Sunday was to be a day of rest and for church services. However, North Dakotans were said to be “baseball mad” – absolutely mad for playing America’s national game. As a preacher said about North Dakota: […]

  • Saddle-making

    If you’ve ever seen a saddle, you probably realize a lot of work goes into making them. They’ve been around in one form or another for hundreds of years. In fact, in the first century AD, Pliny the Elder said that a Thessalonian first invented saddles and bridles, though this can’t be strictly taken as […]

  • Comet

    North Dakotans were abuzz with excitement over Halley’s Comet one hundred years ago, in May of 1910. Halley’s Comet, a periodical comet with an orbital period of about 76 years, got its name from English astronomer Edmund Halley, who lived from 1656 to 1742, who predicted its reappearance in 1758 or 1759. A comet is […]

  • Opium Smuggling in 1895

    On this day in 1895, the Grand Forks Herald published a fascinating article about the illegal opium trade from Canada into North Dakota. Trade in opium from poppies grown in Asia was, and still is, an international drug problem. The addictive properties of opium have always lain quietly intermixed with its powers of relieving grievous […]

  • Gas Baby

    Generally, the arrival of a baby warrants some sort of celebration, such as the father handing out a cigar. On this date in 1915, Harold and Susan Sunderland of Milton had a big reason to celebrate after the birth of their daughter, Kathleen Mary, who topped the scales at twelve pounds! Kathleen Mary Sunderland was […]

  • Corsets

    After the 1893 fire knocked out so many businesses across the face of the city of Fargo, the city rebuilt itself into a booming metropolis. It took time, but the efforts of the Fargo Commercial Club, incorporated in 1902 and a forerunner to today’s Chamber of Commerce, helped to bring in businesses. And on this […]

  • Iron Cross Cemeteries

    “Grampa had an iron cross grave marker which seems so much kinder than the cold stone markers on some of the other graves. It is made of iron that is shaped and curved to form an interesting design. …and looks like it could have grown from the earth it is planted in. … The stones […]

  • Eastwood Park Bridge

    This week Datebook is looking at Historic Preservation in North Dakota as part of National Historic Preservation Month. As a relatively young state, much of our heritage is still visible in the form of buildings, structures or significant sites that help document the paths we have taken to the present. While most of North Dakota’s […]

  • McHenry Loop

    Today we continue our look at Historic Preservation in North Dakota. The railroads played an important part in the development of Dakota Territory both to transport the people to settle the land and secondly, to supply the tons of building materials, farming supplies, food and clothing to this new market. It also served to ship […]

  • Historic Preservation Week

    This week is National Historic Preservations week. Too often we drive through the countryside and see the remains of old buildings, no longer viable, deserted. The families who laughed, played, cried and struggled to tame the land are long gone and the house and barn are left to the elements. Once the barnyard was full […]

  • Preservation

    May is National Historic Preservation month, and this week we will look at the role the Historic Preservation Act of 1966 has had in preserving and protecting North Dakota’s legacy. Currently, there are 404 names listed on the National Register from North Dakota, but it should be noted that a number of these are historic […]

  • Citizenship Day

    Constitution Day, or Citizenship Day, became a federal holiday in 2004. Today it is celebrated on September 17, but its origins stretch back to the 1940s, when Congress first initiated it as “I am an American Day,” held the third Sunday in May. If still celebrated in this way, it would have been on this […]

  • Great Expectations

    Seeing how far you can spit tobacco isn’t exactly a class sport. However, on this date in 1952, students from the North Dakota School of Forestry in Bottineau were lining up to do just that. The reason behind this was Lumberjack Day-not to be confused with the current Lumberjack Day, which began in 2005 and […]

  • Max Bass and the Silver Spoons

    Max Bass was almost too good at what he did. His job was bringing new settlers to North Dakota. As the premier immigration agent for the Great Northern Railway, Max Bass convinced 27,000 Dunkards to move from Eastern states to farms near Cando. Max Bass promoted North Dakota. He procured railway cars to carry newcomers […]

  • The Thursday Musical Club

    Always the most fashionable neighborhood in Grand Forks, Reeves Drive was home for the leaders and financiers of the community. The street had been named for D. P. Reeves, builder of steamboats in the 1870s. By 1899, Reeves Drive was the address of six bankers, four lawyers, and three businessmen. Most of the Reeves Drive […]

  • Beer

    Prohibition began in 1920 with the passage of the 18th amendment, but North Dakota was already dry, having coming to the Union as a dry state in 1889. from statehood. By 1933, prohibition was wildly unpopular throughout the US, and the federal legislation was later repealed with the passage of the Twenty-first Amendment. In the […]

  • Victory Gardens in Bismarck

    Today is a spring day — a day in May for gardening and a time to look at how gardens helped win a war. Each spring during World War II, from 1942 through 1945, residents of Bismarck planted Victory Gardens. Everyone was urged to grow garden crops for home use, and to reduce domestic demands […]

  • The Barrel in Minot

    The Great Depression was a time of dust storms, heat waves, and crop failures. But in Minot, alongside Highway 2, there was a roadside oasis in the summer swelter of the 1930s – a root beer stand called “The Barrel.” The Barrel looked like a giant, wooden, root beer barrel – two stories tall, with […]

  • Car Problems

    On this date in 1946, the car industry was in trouble. Labor issues led to a shutdown of the Ford Company and suspension of production at GM and Chrysler. Production and profits dropped. Perhaps the resulting car shortage was one reason Frank Nash Jr. of Minot pulled his old 1913 Overland out of the garage. […]