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Our over-the-air radio signal in the Bismarck area is down as a tower crew repairs damage from an ice storm last April. The outage should last a few days.
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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, knoefla 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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  • U.S. Highway 85 crosses the rugged Badlands south of Watford City in one of the most dramatic drives in North Dakota. The roadway runs for a few miles through the Little Missouri Valley in the area of Theodore Roosevelt National Park before climbing out of the Badlands.
  • When you think about clothes and fabrics, you might think about natural materials, like cotton, wool, or silk. But if you really think about it, your clothes closet also has synthetic fabrics: polyester shirts; Spandex biking shorts, nylon stockings and more.
  • In 1962, the North Dakota State Highway Department, as it was known then, installed a radio site west of Merricourt, North Dakota. Merricourt is south of Jamestown, about 20 miles from the South Dakota border. The town’s peak population hit 153 in the 1940s. Now, it’s mostly gone, but not forgotten.
  • In 1905 on this date, Orville Wright piloted the first flight longer than a half hour. It lasted 33 minutes, 17 seconds and covered 21 miles. Five years later, Frank Kent, the Grand Forks postmaster, became the first airplane passenger in North Dakota when Archie Hoxsey, a member of the Wright brothers’ Flying Circus, made an appearance at the Grand Forks fairgrounds and took Kent up for a nine-minute flight.
  • October is Archives Month, an occasion to recognize the efforts to assess, collect, organize, preserve, and provide access to information of lasting value. The North Dakota State Archives is part of the State Historical Society of North Dakota. Today, we recognize Georgia Carpenter, who came from out east in 1915 to become the second librarian for the North Dakota State Historical Society.
  • Today we examine a buried-treasure legend from the countryside near the town of Hebron -- or maybe Glen Ullin, sometimes it is hard to tell about the whereabouts of something that was utterly lost.
  • Helen Summers was an artist and designer who wanted to do it all. On this date in 1956 the Bismarck Tribune announced the opening of her new business, Helen Summer Originals, Inc. The business allowed Helen to dabble in anything and everything artistic. She did interior decorating, drew floorplans, designed clothes, did commercial art, painted wall murals, and decorated for parties.
  • On this date in 1998 the front page of the Bismarck Tribune shared the sad news that John Odegard had died at age 57 after a two-year battle with cancer. He was the founding chairman of the University of North Dakota’s department of aviation.
  • Dakota Territory was very much the wild West in the days of U.S. Marshal Laban H. Litchfield. He was born in 1839 in Pennsylvania. At age 20, he settled in Bon Homme County in what would become South Dakota. He was involved in Republican politics, and rose from appointed county offices to a seat in the Territorial House of Representatives and then to deputy US marshal. He was also a volunteer courier between Yankton and Fort Randall during the Dakota Conflict of 1862.
  • Today we take another look at the typical newspaper content years past. On this date in 1943, the Fargo Forum carried a full-page ad from Osco Drug headlined “Make up your back-to-school shopping list!” It touted lead pencils with rubber erasers on sale for a penny each. A composition book was priced at four cents, sixty sheets of typing paper just seven cents, and a package of Crayola crayons were only eight cents a package.

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.