Dakota Datebook | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Dakota Datebook

6:42 am, 8:42 am, 3:50 pm*, 5:44 pm, and 7:50 pm* CT
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Sitting Bull to Phil Jackson, cattle to prairie dogs, knoefla to lefse. Dakota Datebook radio features air weekdays at 6:42 am, 8:42 am, 3:50 pm*, 5:44 pm, and 7:50 pm* CT on Prairie Public. Find the 2003-2017 archives here.

*These airtimes during Main Street may vary.

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Dakota Datebook is generously funded by the North Dakota Humanities Council, 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 the North Dakota Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Dakota Zoo

16 hours ago


The Dakota Zoo in Bismarck opened its gates for the first time on this date in 1961. The attraction grew out of a private business known as the Christianson Farm. On the north edge of the city, Marc and Betty Christianson had kennels to board domesticated animals like cats, dogs and horses. At a certain point, they also began to raise mink.


In early June of 1915, there were second-fiddle headlines to US President Woodrow Wilson making plans to send a message to the German Kaiser over the sinking of the Lusitania. What was this adjoining  big news that the Fargo Forum featured on nearly one third of the front page? It was a welcome to Fargo for the nearly 700 Shriners heading to the city.

Peregrine Falcons

Jun 1, 2020

In 1990, a pair of peregrine falcons, an endangered species, showed up near the top of the First Interstate Bank in Fargo. They appeared to be looking for a nest site, so a nesting tray was quickly installed near the top of the east wall. Unfortunately, the female departed during the process, and after several weeks, the male also moved on. For the next nine years, a single wild peregrine spent a few days at the bank each May. Many believe it was the original female, now retracing her migration path to the Arctic.

The Flying Priest

May 29, 2020


On this day in 1940, The Bismarck Tribune announced that Father Robert Victor Long was celebrating his 25th anniversary of becoming a Catholic priest. Father Long was born in 1888 in Wisconsin. His family moved to Jud, ND when he was 13. He was ordained in 1915 and was assigned to St. James Catholic Church in Jamestown. A year later he was assigned to Transfiguration Catholic Church in Edgeley.


Dickinson had been established as Pleasant Valley Siding in 1880, but the name changed by 1881. It became the county seat in 1883, incorporated in 1899, and became a city in 1900.  And on this date in 1909, Dickinson was abuzz with an idea proposed by Mr. James C. Young to the city council, on how to speed up development in the city.


In 1919, farms and communities across the state had been drained of young men -- called into service during two years of war.  Weekly casualty lists contained the names of local boys who died in the war, eventually totalling four hundred and seventy-four. And when combined with the Spanish Flu epidemic sweeping the state from October to December, death had visited most doorsteps.

Peggy Lee was born on this date in 1920 in Jamestown, North Dakota. She is known for her singing, movie, and television career. She is not well known for her war with the Walt Disney Company. The case came about because Disney performers received no additional compensation when a movie was later shown on television and turned into videocassettes. The movie company received all of the profits.

Memorial Day 1919

May 25, 2020

In 1919, Memorial Day was a solemn occasion.  It found an exhausted population in North Dakota striving to return to some sense of the lives they had prior to the Great War.  Only five months had elapsed from a time when their world seemed to be spinning out of control. They were now beginning to put behind them the apocalyptic events of the previous year.

The Votes for Women's League began to establish itself in North Dakota in 1912. Fargo was the first community to form a Votes for Women League on February 4. It grew quickly. Mrs. Clara Darrow was elected president, and many "well known Fargo women ... entered their names on the charter membership list," according to reports.

Gov. Walter Welford

May 21, 2020

North Dakota has had a handful of foreign-born governors. Ragnvold Nestos and John Moses were born in Norway, with Roger Allin and Walter Welford born in England.