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Olivia Burmeister

Contributor, Dakota Datebook
  • On this date in 1910, the Bismarck Tribune reported on the expansion of the Bismarck Bottling Works, a popular bottling company. The company’s sodas had grown in popularity, allowing the company to open another factory in Mandan by early Spring. This was not, however, the first Bismarck bottling company.
  • Winter in North Dakota can be a challenge, but it can also offer great experiences and traditions. Throughout the month of January, Dakota Datebook joins the celebration of winter in conjunction with the Northern Plains National Heritage Area and Sons of Norway Sverdrup Lodge for the inaugural “Vinterfest,” a celebration of all things winter.
  • Students often hope a blizzard or power outage will grant them an extended weekend – anything to get out of a test or assignment. For students in Fargo, Lakota, and Bottineau, it was fire that kept them from school in 1916, 1917 and 1918.
  • Are you familiar with liquid air? As described by the Oakes Times in 1911, liquid air could freeze a man’s finger in less than a minute, convert steam into snow-like ice, cause steel to burn a dazzling color, and it could even be used as a local anesthetic by surgeons. Liquid air is the liquid state of air obtained by compressing purified air and cooling it to less than the boiling point of nitrogen and oxygen. It has many fascinating uses.
  • Wildfires are not new to North Dakota. With the vast expanses of grass, fires can spread easily. On this date in 1900, the Washburn Leader lamented the numerous fires that swept through the western part of the state in recent months. The concern centered around the destruction of farmland and crops, but the flames also struck businesses like the Little Missouri Horse Company barns in March of 1900.
  • Starkweather gophers beware! Around this time in 1915, the businessmen and farmers of Starkweather North Dakota declared war on their rodent neighbors. Meeting at the Schweitzer hardware store, the group put together a plan to initiate “a vigorous campaign against gophers.”
  • On this date in 1900, a resident from McHenry County claimed there were millions to be made from running skunk farms. H.P. Johnson spoke most earnestly about the profitability of the smelly mammal. Mr. Johnson assured that the animal is “as clean and harmless as a kitten when reared in a proper manner.”
  • On this date in 1900, the Bottineau Current announced the arrival of a much-anticipated play. “The Old Maid’s Convention” had already been staged in Bismarck, Jamestown, and other places in the state before reaching Bottineau. The play was performed at the Bottineau opera house, garnering rave reviews.
  • For many, Valentine’s Day is a time for love and gratitude for the people in our lives, and it’s been celebrated since the early 1700s. Around this time in 1910, you could attend a Valentine’s Day social in Bismarck, or buy a card that professed your love and devotion from Finney’s drug store.
  • When in doubt, flee to Canada. This must have been the thought process of N.C. Mossgaard when faced with mounting debt and potential embezzlement charges. On this date in 1914, a newspaper account about Mossgaard began by detailing his life as a once-successful postmaster in Scranton, North Dakota, who was married and had twelve children. This happy life took a sad turn when Mrs. Mossgaard and several of the children contract typhoid fever and pass away. Mossgaard turned to alcohol, leaving the Scranton post office to unsuccessfully run itself. The neglect led to an examination by auditors who found the post office funds were short.