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  • Dakota Territory’s Centennial Celebration

    On March 2nd, 1861, the United States Congress first created Dakota Territory. It included the lands of present-day North Dakota, South Dakota, and most of Montana and Wyoming. After a while, the Montana and Wyoming portions were carved away, leaving the land that would become North and South Dakota.   On this date in 1961, […]

  • Joseph Conmy Jr. traveled the world

    Although he considered Pembina his home, Joseph Conmy Jr. traveled the world, walked beside Presidents, was decorated in three different wars, and was the commander in charge on Hamburger Hill in Vietnam. His story is so far-reaching it merits its own book. But today, we focus on his second Silver Star award for gallantry. Conmy […]

  • Spuds’ day of firsts

    It was a day of firsts in Fargo’s sister city of Moorhead, Minnesota.  As reported on this date in 1928,  Moorhead High had won its first major sports title by taking the 16th Annual Minnesota high school basketball championship.  They beat a Minneapolis team, the Edison Inventors, before a record-breaking crowd of 7,200 spectators in […]

  • Andrew Johnson’s Cattle Guard

    Andrew Johnston was born near Taylor in Dakota Territory on this date in 1885. He grew up on his father’s Start County ranch, where he was herding some 400 cattle by himself by the age of ten. By the time he was 14, Andrew had some of his own stock, which he branded VVV – […]

  • Mellette Takes Office

    When Arthur C. Mellette was confirmed by the US Senate on March 12, 1889 he became Dakota Territory’s tenth and last governor.  Mellette was from Indiana and was a personal friend of President Harrison.  Unlike Governor Church, Mellette was a resident of Dakota Territory having moved to Watertown a number of years before his appointment.  […]

  • Bismarck Hospital Under Water

    As the expanse of the prairies became cultivated and settled, the need for healthcare became apparent. By 1885 in Bismarck, some Benedictine sisters from Minnesota opened St. Alexius, the city’s first hospital. In 1915, the hospital moved to its present-day location in Bismarck. By 1902, more healthcare options arose in Bismarck as early settling doctors […]

  • Tenure of Office

    The 18th Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Dakota ended on March 8th 1889. The relationship between Governor Louis Church and the Legislature, and even with the people of Dakota Territory in general, had been filled with hostility.  Church was a Democrat appointee governing over a strongly Republican territory.  Although Democratic President Cleveland had signed […]

  • Paltry War Contracts in North Dakota During World War II

    In the difficult days of World War II, North Dakotans generally responded with patriotic fervor to help win the war. According to an editorial in the Bismarck Tribune, published on this date in 1946, the people of North Dakota, per capita, had led the nation in purchasing war bonds. The same article also alluded to […]

  • Thomas D. Campbell

    Archibald Macleish once wrote, “The impact of Tom Campbell upon the grasslands of the Great Plains was the impact of the American passion for power, speed and the predictable machine.” Macleish was referring to Thomas D. Campbell, born in Grand Forks on February 19th, 1882. Campbell’s parents were wheat farmers, and it was in this […]

  • Grand Forks Mayor Henry Wheeler

    Dr. Henry Wheeler, M.D., was famous in Grand Forks for three reasons. First, his medical practice began in the early 1880s and he healed many; second, he became mayor, elected for his first term in 1918, and, on this date in 1920, the Grand Forks Herald announced that Dr. Wheeler had been re-elected.  And third, […]

  • Candy Cigarettes

    At the turn of the twentieth century, candy makers introduced a new product into the American market – candy cigarettes.  Parents and shopkeepers saw no harm in the powdery sweet sticks that were sold in replica cardboard cigarette cartons; children enjoyed mimicking all sorts of adult behaviors, so it only seemed natural that it would […]

  • Wind in North Dakota

    Wind farms are cropping up throughout the state in response to the need for clean energy but the use of wind power to create electricity is nothing new in North Dakota. On this date in 1936, the Napoleon Homestead reported that rural electrification was coming to North Dakota and indeed, in 1937, the Baker Rural […]

  • End of Last Territorial Session

    Shortly before midnight on March 8, 1889, the sharp rap of the gavel announced the end of the 18th Territorial Legislative Session and hopefully the last Session of Dakota Territory, North or South.  There was a lot of work ahead to ensure statehood for North Dakota.  Between the heavy use of vetoes by Governor Church […]

  • Bismarck Pesthouse

    During the winter of 1920-21, about fifty cases of smallpox were reported and treated in the city of Bismarck. Most of them were mild, and many patients came from outside of the city, according to a report in the Bismarck Tribune. In fact, it was reported that Dr. C. E. Stackhouse, the city health officer, […]

  • GT Schjeldahl, Space Pioneer

    Gilmore T. Schjeldahl was one of the great creative minds of our times. He was born June 1st, 1912, and grew up in Esmond, Mott and, finally, in his mother’s hometown of Northwood. As a child, he enjoyed learning how things worked in blacksmith shops, farm implement stores, and power plants. He built his family’s […]

  • Carnegie Library in Bismarck

    The story of Andrew Carnegie is well known. This poor boy from Scotland immigrated to America and became rich through his Carnegie Steel Corporation. In 1900, Carnegie sold his steel company to banker J.P. Morgan for 480 million dollars, whereupon Morgan said: “Congratulations, Mr. Carnegie, you are the richest man in the world.” Carnegie set […]

  • End in Sight

    On this date in 1889 the Territorial Legislature was at Day 58 of the sixty day session.  It had been a tumultuous session.  Special interests groups, such as the Farmers Alliance, which had actually garnered the right to call up any bill at any time, created a fractured legislature.  Taxes upon railroad property and the […]

  • Early Automobiles in Bismarck

    In March of 1909, the citizens of Bismarck were becoming much more mobile, wanting to be as progressive as the rest of the country. As a result, the first automobile advertisement in Bismarck appeared. The car dealership of Miller and Lahr advertised a Ford Model T automobile, in any color you desired – as long […]

  • Protesting Slacks

    The dark, cold winter causes epidemics of spring fever among college students, and in the 1940s this drove a fraternity into protest at North Dakota State University, then known as the North Dakota Agricultural College. Members of the Gamma Tau chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity, normally well-dressed and clean-cut, showed up to class on […]

  • The Australian Secret Ballot

    Voting is a private matter, done in secret. The secret ballot method came to North Dakota in 1891. On this date that year, the Grand Forks Herald reported that the State Senate approved the “Australian election bill” in order to clean up elections. The new voting system mandated that county governments print official ballots, at […]