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Dakota Datebook
6:42 am, 8:42 am, 3:50 pm, 5:44 pm, and 7:50 pm CT

Sitting Bull to Phil Jackson, cattle to prairie dogs, knoephla to lefse. North Dakota's legacy includes many strange stories of eccentric towns, war heroes, and various colorful characters. Hear all about them on Dakota Datebook, your daily dose of North Dakota history.

Dakota Datebook is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

You can find all Dakota Datebooks from 2018-today below. Our archive of Datebooks from 2003-2017 can be found here.

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  • In 1946, Enderlin made history when townspeople elected Agnes Geelan as mayor, making her the first female mayor of an incorporated town in North Dakota.
  • North Dakota Native American Essential Understanding, number two, is about learning and storytelling. It states, "Traditional teaching and the passing on of knowledge and wisdom was done through storytelling, song, ceremony and daily way of life.
  • Happy Thanksgiving! Today’s story is a sampling of how the holiday was observed in North Dakota more than 100 years ago.
  • On this date in 1979, The Bismarck Tribune reported that the tiny town of New Hradec was long past its glory days. The grocery store, bar, and gas station had long ago closed. The school only had 22 students, and the church that once had 250 families now had 90. The population was still about 50, down a bit from its high of 57 in 1940. The outlook for this tiny town was dire, but it was strong in its Czech heritage.
  • Severe winter weather is no big surprise in North Dakota. The state can typically expect 50 days per year with below zero temperatures. The record low, in 1936, was -60 degrees.
  • The city of Robinson, in Kidder County, experienced a news-making surprise in 1925. A public water well had begun to produce gasoline! The water had apparently turned bad for drinking a year earlier, but was still being used off-and-on for other purposes. A motorist who stopped to add water to his radiator, realized it was gasoline when he got it to burn.
  • The November 1888 Student, the University of North Dakota's monthly magazine from that era, reported: “[Professor Henry] Montgomery … during the past five years has devoted considerable time to the exploration of artificial mounds in Dakota. The greater portion of this work ... has been in the neighborhood of Devils' Lake, Fort Totten, and Inkster.”
  • According to the Bismarck Tribune on this date in 1987, Caspar Borggreve was adamant that he never wanted to be known as a dull man. He need not have worried. This Dutchman, who moved across Europe and the upper Midwest, eventually became a beloved restaurateur in Bismarck.
  • In this episode of Dakota Datebook, we'll hear Debbe Poitra, enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, share a bit about the importance of storytelling in the Michif culture and how those stories help to express important ideas, values, and the history of a people.
  • It was a cool, clear, crisp autumn day on this date at the University of North Dakota. The high temperature reached 44 degrees. It was a normal autumn day, but there were warning signs of possible trouble head.

Dakota Datebook is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.