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Jack Dura

Contributor, Dakota Datebook
  • People all over North Dakota turned out for two former presidential rivals on separate speaking tours in 1920. Republican William Howard Taft had defeated Democrat William Jennings Bryan in the 1908 presidential election, serving as president from 1909 to 1913. It’s unclear why the two came to North Dakota, but their speeches drew thousands of people.
  • 12/28/2017: North Dakota’s Supreme Court has changed a fair amount from its early years. Since 1910, members of the bench have been elected on a no-party ballot. In 1930, term limits increased from six to ten years. In 1985, Beryl Levine became the first woman to serve on the court.
  • 12/15/2017: One of the shortest tenures of a North Dakota Supreme Court justice came to an end after less than five months and a nasty election. Governor Elmore Y. Sarles appointed thirty-eight-year-old Stutsman County Judge John Knauf in August of 1906 after Justice Newton Young resigned after eight years on the bench.
  • 12/13/2017: For almost sixty thousand dollars, Dakota Territory constructed a penitentiary in Sioux Falls during 1881 and 1882. Territorial Governor Nehemiah Ordway signed the legislation to fund the prison, which was built on eighty-five acres of land. The facility was meant to house between 125 and 150 inmates.
  • 12/7/2017: Fargo’s history of fires is largely dominated by the Fire of 1893, which ravaged the wooden buildings that filled city’s downtown. But the city’s fire legacy goes back much further.
  • 8/31/2017: A stretch of U.S. Highway Two in North Dakota has a string of towns with English names. York, Norwich, Surrey and Leeds. Leeds, dates back to 1886. The Great Northern Railroad founded the town at the site of a community previously known as Barker. It’s about 30 miles northwest of Devils Lake.
  • 8/30/2017: Quite some distance from North Dakota’s two least-populated counties of Slope and Billings is Sheridan County, the state’s third-least populous county. Sheridan is at the very center of the state, home to the centermost city of McClusky, which is also the county seat. In east is Goodrich, born along the railroad, but with a story unlike other North Dakota towns.
  • 8/28/2017: For adventure in North Dakota, sometimes you have to look a little harder. State Highway Thirty-Six is a good place to start.
  • 8/25/2017: Like hundreds of other communities that came and went in early Dakota, the outpost of Kirk, North Dakota, began with a post office. On this date in 1911, a farm post office was established for Kirk, about twenty-two miles southwest of Rhame. Kirk was named after a local rancher in Bowman County.
  • 7/31/2017: For sixty years, Elbowoods, North Dakota was a hub along the Missouri River on the Fort Berthold Reservation. The town was located on a bend in the river and in the wooded bottoms, hence its name. The townsite started to develop in 1889, and on this date in 1893, its post office was established.