Dakota Datebook

What Happened on November 2

Monday, November 2, 2009

 

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 was on this day in 1947 that the Spruce Goose made its first and only flight. Howard Hughes – business man, movie producer, multi-millionaire and aviator – designed the single hull flying boat to hold 750 troops during wartime. The plane contained eight 3,000 horsepower engines and wings that were 20 feet longer than a football field. Due to rationing of steel and aluminum during World War II, the Spruce Goose was constructed using the “Duramold” process – thin wood pieces laminated to each other using heat and wood glues. The end product was lighter and stronger than aluminum. The Spruce Goose made its maiden voyage, with Howard Hughes at the controls, across the harbor in Long Beach, California. It was shortly after the voyage that Hughes placed the Spruce Goose in “hibernation” for 33 years, until his death in 1976. 2004 saw the release of “The Aviator,” a film about the life of Hughes, his love of aircraft, and his eventual mental illness. The Spruce Goose currently makes its home at an aviation museum in McMinnville, Oregon.

Other birthdays on this important day include French Queen Marie Antoinette, Frontiersman Daniel Boone, America’s 29th President – Warren G. Harding, and movie tough-guy Burt Lancaster.

On the political scene, it was November 2nd, 1948, that Harry Truman beat Thomas Dewey. Despite predictions from pollster George Gallup and the Chicago Tribune declaring, “Dewey beats Truman,” Truman won the presidency by 3.5 percentage points. Georgia’s own Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford for the Presidency on this day in 1976. And President Ronald Reagan signed a bill on November 2nd, 1983, establishing “Martin Luther King, Jr. Day” as a Federal holiday.

Sesame Street’s own Cookie Monster shares his birthday with North Dakota as well. Voiced by Frank Oz, Cookie Monster is well known to Sesame Street viewers as the googly-eyed blue furry monster who loves cookies.

However, because chocolate and oils can damage the fur of a Muppet, Cookie Monster rarely eats actual cookies while filming. Fat-free oatmeal cookies are sometimes used, but most often, rice cakes are painted to resemble his infamous chocolate chip cookies. Of course, Cookie Monster eats just about anything.

As today marks North Dakota’s 120th birthday, we encourage you to celebrate by exploring our grand state, or by simply enjoying a delicious piece of birthday cake. Or, if you prefer, a rice cake painted to resemble a cookie.

Dakota Datebook written by Jill Whitcomb

Sources:
North Dakota History: Overview and Summary website: http://www.nd.gov/hist/ndhist.htm
Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum website- http://sprucegoose.org/aircraft_artifacts/exhibits.html
Filmcritic.com- The Aviator- Christopher Null, critic. http://www.filmcritic.com/misc.emporium.nsf/reviews/The-Aviator
Famous November Birthdays website-http://www.holidayinsights.com/bday/November.htm
HistoryOrb.com website- http://www.historyorb.come/events/november/2
Sesame Street- Unpaved-scripts, stories, secrets and songs-David Borgenicht.

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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