Dore, North Dakota
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
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 date in 1901. The town’s namesake, postmaster George Dore, was an early settler in the area.
The town has never been very big. But in its heyday in the 30s, it had a general store, a school, a dance hall, bars, restaurants — even a hat-making shop. Its population hit about 50 in 1920 and again in 1960, but even those numbers might be ambitious. It’s close upon the Montana border, in the small chunk of North Dakota that’s on the west side of the Yellowstone River. The rich soil of the Yellowstone Valley supports sugarbeet growing, but the isolated town still declined. It lost its ZIP code when the post office went south—literally—with mail service moving to Fairview, Montana. For decades, its population was just two people, a married couple who later gained new neighbors as workers arrived with the Bakken oil boom.
A crude oil facility came to Dore in 2012, and with it, so did the ubiquitous housing camps of the Bakken. For anyone driving north to Williston from Fairview, Dore is on the way, but still easy to miss … there’s just an elevator and a smattering of housing.
Dore didn’t see quite the same dramatic growth as some other towns in McKenzie County, like Arnegard, Alexander and Watford City, but all told, McKenzie County’s population doubled since 2010, reaching more than 12,000 people.
Dakota Datebook by Jack Dura
Personal visit to Dore, North Dakota, 26 June 2016
Wick, D.A. (1989). North Dakota place names. Bismarck, ND: Prairie House