Dakota Datebook

Only a Potato

Sunday, November 18, 2012


When commenting on the lowly potato, W. D. Bates, editor of the Grafton News & Time, stated that it was “only a potato, but next to wheat the most important human food.” He foresaw a new era of prosperity for Walsh County in marketing this product at twenty-five to thirty cents a bushel. But on this date in 1890, the market for potatoes was weak and he proposed several actions to change that.

Grafton needed to establish starch factories or a factory that dried potatoes or canned them. He also foresaw a factory to make what he termed “fancy articles” from the potato, since recent experiments had extracted a material almost equal to celluloid. Over one hundred years later, innovative ideas like this are still changing the face of North Dakota.


Dakota Datebook written by Jim Davis




The News & Times (Grafton) November 15, 1890


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Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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