Dakota Datebook

Foiled Arson Plot

Saturday, April 13, 2013


A foiled arson plot was reported by the Fargo Forum on this date in 1917. Investigators in Magnolia, North Dakota, released their findings that an attempt had been made to burn the 95-foot long railroad bridge just west of that town. Arsonists had poured kerosene on the wooden beams and set the structure on fire. Fortunately, a large freight train passed by and the crew extinguished the flames.

Ten miles west of Casselton, Magnolia was settled in 1890 as a railroad outpost – most steam-powered trains stopped at the village to refill their water supply – but the bridge’s vulnerability to arson and damage eventually led railroad officials to re-engineer the crossing, and neither the town nor the bridge exist today.


Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job



Dill, Joseph (ed.). 1988 North Dakota: 100 Years: p. 19. The Forum Publishing Company: Fargo, ND.

The Fargo Forum and Daily Republican. Friday (Evening ed.), April 13, 1917: p. 1.



This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

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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