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  • The Union Railway Company

    On this date in 1907, the Courier Democrat of Langdon reported that promoters of a new railroad met with potential investors in Minneapolis.  The delegation proposed a line through the northeastern portion of Cavalier County, connecting with either the Great Northern or the Soo Line.  Representatives of the Union Railway Company of North Dakota visited […]

  • May Day

    May Day has a long history as a festival, dating back to the days of Druids and pagans.  The ancient Romans celebrated it with a five-day festival.  By the Middle Ages, every European village had a maypole.  In America, a tradition began of children making baskets from wallpaper samples and colored paper, and picking wildflowers […]

  • No More Giant Spuds

    In the early 1900s, the railroad was the way to travel.  There was, of course, economy class that offered affordable tickets with few amenities.  But in first class, the well-to-do could ride in style.  The wealthiest travelers could even book a private parlor car.  Every train included a dining car with gourmet chefs, waiters sporting […]

  • There is Practically Nothing Left

    At 5:13 on April 18th, 1906, San Francisco experienced a violent earthquake.  The rumbling that woke the city lasted about a minute.  Buildings toppled.  Gas and water lines broke. But the quake was just the beginning. Fires broke out and burned for three days as firefighters couldn’t get water from the broken hydrants.  When it […]

  • ND Remembers WWI

    Only two weeks after the Declaration of War, the military machine was progressing quickly.  The prospect of raising an all-volunteer army was unrealistic, so Congress was expected to pass a draft bill by the end of April.  However, North Dakotans had been quick to answer the call.  Towns such as Edgeley were doing their part. […]

  • A Fair to Remember

    The Twentieth Century blossomed with the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, informally known as the St. Louis World’s Fair. Plans for the fair began in 1898. The committee raised $15 million from government and private sources, and by 1901, construction was underway on 1,200 acres of Forest Park. North Dakota Governor Frank White saw the fair […]

  • Great Inducements to Settlers

    There have been two Williams counties in North Dakota.  The first was created in 1873 south of the Missouri River.  In 1891, the state legislature created a new Williams County in the northwest corner of the state.  The name honors Erastus Appelman Williams, an early North Dakota politician who served in both the territorial and […]

  • Jay Darling

    Tomorrow is Earth Day, so we take this opportunity to tell the story of a man who had an enormous impact on wildlife conservation in North Dakota.  Jay Darling, of Iowa, was a renowned political cartoonist during the “dirty thirties,” a time of bankruptcy, soup lines, drought and awe-inspiring dust storms. On the Great Plains, […]

  • Dakota Datebook Stories: The Great War

    Millions of Americans served in World War I — soldiers, sailors , nurses — and many at home provided support, suffered scarcities, and grieved for loved ones lost. The United States entered the Great War 100 years ago on April 6. Prairie Public’s Dakota Datebook is commemorating this anniversary with stories from North Dakota, thanks […]

  • Reception for a Native Son

    On this date in 1922, the  Ward County Independent reported on an enthusiastic reception for Minot native son Captain Howard Huston.  More than 1,500 people gathered in the high school auditorium to greet him on his return from Switzerland.  Dr. F.J. Brugman, the commander of the local American Legion Post, was chairman for the event, […]

  • Off for Alberta

    Frontiersmen on the Great Plains mingled with settlers across the northern border long before North Dakota became a state.  Both American and British fur traders congregated along the Missouri River and established posts prior to 1800.  The Hudson Bay and North West Companies established operations in the Red River Valley.  Canadians ventured down to Pembina […]

  • Dore, North Dakota

    Dore, North Dakota predates the county it resides in – at least the current incarnation.  McKenzie County was eliminated in 1891 for a lack of settlement, before being re-created by the state legislature in 1905. Tiny Dore on the other hand, got its start four years earlier when its post office was established on this […]

  • Strawberries in North Dakota

    Today there are more than 30,000 farms in North Dakota encompassing almost 40 million acres.  North Dakota leads all other states in the production of sunflower seeds and barley.  Wheat is the state’s leading crop, ranking behind only Kansas.  North Dakota is also a leading state in canola, navy beans, oats, pinto beans, soybeans, and […]

  • Land of Opportunity

    The 1890s were not kind to North Dakota.  The price of wheat declined by 70%.  High railroad rates hurt farmers.  State tax receipts decreased, and the state had difficulty paying its bills. That changed, however as the period from 1898 to 1915 brought North Dakota’s second boom.  Railroads almost doubled in size, increasing from 2,662 […]

  • Selz Post Office

    The town of Selz in Pierce County, North Dakota isn’t the only Selz in state history. Emmons County had a Selz, too, with a post office established in postmaster Anton Vetter’s home on this date in 1896. The community was founded in the summer of 1885, and was about five miles from Hague, North Dakota. […]

  • George Bird Grinnell

    George Bird Grinnell, a respected authority on the Plains Indians, passed away on this date in 1938 at the age of 88.  In 2004, conservationist Shane Mahoney wrote this of Grinnell:  “He was many things: scientist, hunter, explorer, naturalist, entrepreneur and author. Above all else, however, George Bird Grinnell was and remains the most influential […]

  • Swedish Ethnic Humor Play “Ole Olson” In Bismarck, 1893

    Throughout human history, tragedy seems to overwhelm happiness (and humor), but overall, there has always been more laughter than tears. One perennial form of humor is ethnic, which can be starkly of two different modes – light-hearted or mean-spirited. Scandinavian humor abounds, for everyone laughs at “Ole and Lena” jokes.  Norwegians have been the butt […]

  • New Jerusalem/Wamduska

    Tonight marks the start of the Jewish observance of Passover. North Dakota has had several Jewish settlements in its history. In the 1870s, rising nationalism in Russia led to persecution of Germans, Ukrainians, Jews, and Crimean-Czechs, and thousands immigrated to North Dakota. Between 1882 and the advent of World War I, more than 800 Jewish […]

  • Dakota Dan

    Two weeks before North Dakota became a state, attorney Leslie Simpson of Minneapolis rented an office above a Dickinson bank and immersed himself in the world of frontier justice. His highest-profile case involved a Dickinson rancher claiming to be Daniel Russell, the son of a deceased Massachusetts senator, whose considerable fortune was to be split […]

  • War Declared

    Since August of 1914, war clouds had hung over Europe. Although the United States had remained neutral, a declaration of war was not unexpected.   With Congressional approval only a day away, the headline of The Williston Graphic prophesied in bold letters, “Into World’s War.”   On this date in 1917, the House voted 373 to 50 […]