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  • Early Churches

    The first church bell to ring in North Dakota was at a mission called St. Joe. It was known as the “Angelus Bell.” For some time in the early 1800s, French Canadian trappers and mixed-blood Indians around Pembina attended a small Roman Catholic chapel built there in 1812; it is the earliest known church in […]

  • Burlington Horse Thieves

    Horse thieves and hangings…Dakota Territory certainly could be a rough place at times. In the summer of 1883, two mysterious men arrived in the upper Mouse River valley, settling west of Burlington on the Des Lacs River. Claiming to be railroad contractors, John Bates and Stanley Ravenwood were quickly welcomed into the growing community; even […]

  • What Happened on November 2

    Today marks the 120th birthday of the great state of North Dakota. We entered the Union in 1889 along with South Dakota. The states were entered alphabetically, so North Dakota became the 39th state, with South Dakota at number 40. North Dakota shares its birthday with a number of well-known celebrities and historical events: It […]

  • Last Survivor

    The death of Philip Hill was reported on this day in 1917 in the pages of the Jamestown Weekly Alert. The paper claimed that Hill was the “last living survivor” of the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Hill spoke often about his role in the battle, telling anyone within earshot that he had been […]

  • TR Church Contribution

    On this date in 1910, Pastor John Orchard of Dickinson presented his congregation with plans for a new Congregational Church in Medora, for which the citizens of the vicinity had been fundraising. Initiative for a new church building began the previous summer, and church members had been busy soliciting donations. Members raised over $1,000 by […]

  • North Dakota Mill and Elevator

    On this date in 1922, Governor Rangvold Nestos pushed a button that officially started the machinery of the soon-to-be-completed North Dakota Mill and Elevator in downtown Grand Forks. To this day, it is still the only state-owned elevator in the nation. Prior to the building of the mill, North Dakota farmers had been at the […]

  • Two Congressmen

    United States census director William Merriam announced his preliminary findings on this date in 1900, and made many in the state of North Dakota extremely happy. Although final results of the 1900 census, the twelfth census in the history of the United States, would not be available until July of 1902, Merriam felt confident enough […]

  • Ragnvold Nestos

    North Dakota has the distinction of having had the first governor to ever be recalled, but the person who took away his job in the recall election is little known today. Eighty-two years ago, today, Ragnvold Nestos, an immigrant bachelor from Norway, became the thirteenth governor of North Dakota. Nestos was born in a mountainous […]

  • Corn and Meatless Days

    Professor E. F. Ladd of the North Dakota Agriculture College made a proclamation on this date in 1917 that was surprisingly well-received among North Dakotans. The proclamation called on every citizen of the state to participate in the war effort by conserving certain food staples, such as bacon, beef, lard, mutton, pork, sugar, and wheat. […]

  • Trivia

    Today, we’re bringing you a variety of stories from around the state in the fall of 1914. Here’s a bit of trivia from a Towner County newspaper: “For every five square miles of plowing you travel 2,500 miles. That’s equal to a single furrow all the way around the earth. Getting enough wheat for a […]

  • Fargo Sanitarium

    The Fargo Sanitarium was featured in large front-page ads of the Fargo Forum during this week in 1910. The sanitarium advertised itself as North Dakota’s largest, and claimed that its non-surgical and drugless treatments would work wonders on patients suffering “acute and chronic diseases.” Although sanitariums are often associated with tuberculosis, there were actually a […]

  • Auto Race

    An automobile endurance race was announced on this date in 1908 between Fargo and Casselton. Early auto-enthusiasts frequently held such races in hopes of proving the endurance of each car model. Sponsored by the Chalmers-Detroit company, the announced race was to run 200 continuous miles, stretching four times between Fargo and Casselton. It was the […]

  • Doctor Trouble

    Erick Lien of Union, North Dakota arrived in Minot today in 1908, but his visit was not under happy circumstances. Lien was coming to inspect the cause of his daughter Gina’s death on October 5. Officials had already been investigating the case, and suspected her doctor, Dr. Moeller of malpractice. They suspected Gina died from […]

  • Camp Buell

    It was on this day in 1962 that the State Historical Society of North Dakota acquired a small, unimposing parcel of land just south of Milnor, North Dakota, known as Camp Buell. Today, it’s little more than a quiet piece of prairie, but for one day on July 3, 1863, the little speck of land […]

  • Justice Sand

    It was on this date in 1911 that Crosby was incorporated. Like many other fledgling towns, Crosby was originally in a different location, about one mile west of where it now stands. After the railroads came through, the townsite was moved to a spot about midway between the original location and a hamlet named Imperial. […]

  • Bismarck Penitentiary

    In 1883, the Territorial Legislative Assembly at Yankton enacted a bill for the establishment of a prison in Bismarck, and “$50,000 was appropriated for this purpose.” The completion of the penitentiary was reported on this date in 1884. And in 1885, the prison received its first inmates when thirty-five men were transferred to the facility […]

  • Edward Curtis

    When Edward Curtis died on this date in 1952, he left behind a massive body of work – 20 volumes of photographs attempting to capture a way of life that had largely ceased to exist. Curtis was born in Wisconsin in 1868 but grew up near Cordova, MN. When he was 21, he moved with […]

  • Piggers versus Pastor

    Speakeasys, or blind pigs as they were often called, were common, illegal drinking establishments during prohibition. On this date in 1910, there was big news from Lakota concerning a reformation pastor and a band of blind-pigger vigilantes. The Reverend Stephenson of United Methodist church was the victim of the incident. An active member of the […]

  • Former Mansion

    Asa Fisher built a mansion for his family in 1884, but in 1893 he sold it to the State of North Dakota from which time it served as a residence for the Governor and his family until 1960 when the new governor’s residence was constructed near the Capitol. At that point there was considerable thought […]

  • A Dry Brew

    The brewing industry was a fairly successful economy in the years prior to North Dakota’s statehood. Beck’s Brewery near Winona had been in business for twenty years before it caught fire and burned down in 1877, and the Turtle Mountain Brewery kept thirst at bay in Rolette County. Bismarck hoped to share in the considerable […]