Dakota Datebook | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Dakota Datebook

6:42 am, 8:42 am, 3:50 pm*, 5:44 pm, and 7:50 pm* CT
  • Hosted by Prairie Public

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.

Mad Prank Punished

Jan 17, 2020

The bizarre cause of a Minot fire was reported on this date in 1916, along with the sadistic story involving the culprit. The fire had occurred in Minot a few days earlier and had consumed the entire Blakey-Roell block. Arthur Hileman was arrested in connection with the fire by the Minot police on a charge of arson and assault.

Like other counties in North Dakota, Mountrail County has a rocky history. The 1873 Dakota Territorial Legislature created the county and named it after a Metis voyageur, but the 1891 North Dakota Legislature eliminated the county and several others, largely due to a lack of settlement.

Huff Hills Ski Area

Jan 15, 2020

When people think of downhill skiing, North Dakota doesn’t come readily to mind. But people have found some good areas for skiing. Starting back in the 1960s, a group of local businesspeople around Mandan decided to start a ski area 16 miles south of the city. Unfortunately, the Twilight Hills venture proved short lived, and the location closed a few years later. However, this first failed attempt help lay the groundwork for the future.

Signs of Winter

Jan 14, 2020

Before there was a weather channel or a weather app for your smartphone, people looked to nature to predict the weather. Animals were considered reliable forecasters. If there was more orange than black on a woolly-bear caterpillar, the winter would be mild. More black than orange meant a hard winter was in store. If horses grew a thick coat early in the fall, winter would come early, with cold temperatures and lots of snow. The early migration of geese, ducks, and monarch butterflies predicted the same. And if the snowy owl arrived early, that was also a warning of a cold, hard winter.

[Dakota Datebook: 100 Years of Women Voting is produced in cooperation with the North Dakota Woman Suffrage Centennial Committee.]

Multiple attempts for women’s suffrage were made in Dakota Territory and North Dakota before the approval and passage of the 19th Amendment in 1919. One of the first occurred during the eighth territorial session, held December 1868 to January 1869.

Dakota Woodturners

Jan 10, 2020

Many people are familiar with the art of the pottery wheel. However, people are less familiar with the art of woodturning -- the process of carving a piece of wood with hand tools while spinning it on a lathe. Through doing this, people can make all sorts of things, like candlesticks, lamps, bowls, spindles, thimbles, and even chess pieces.

Snowbound Ball

Jan 9, 2020

A series of Northern Pacific passenger trains pulled into Fargo in the early morning hours on this date in 1910. The seven east-bound trains had been scheduled to arrive in Fargo three days earlier. Rumors of their whereabouts had circulated through the city, as nervous friends and family members feared the worst for the train’s passengers. With a blizzard raging through Montana and rumors of a horrific train wreck blocking the Northern Pacific’s lines, many imagined the passengers huddling for warmth within the confines of the train cars or even worse.

Even though World War I ended the previous November, mail service from Europe in early 1919 remained slow. The mail from troops still had to go through censors, and mail was not the highest priority for transportation. It often took weeks for a letter to get from the writer to the reader. Americans were still getting letters written back in November when, as one soldier wrote, there was much to be thankful for. He imagined the festivities in America celebrating the end of the war and said, “Joy there could not have surpassed it here.”

North Dakotans witnessed the first peaceful transfer of power between governors on this date in 1891. Governor John Miller was the state’s first governor and did not seek a second term in 1890. He was succeeded by Andrew Burke, a Republican and a former treasurer of Cass County. The state was young – President Harrison had proclaimed statehood just 14 months prior.

Mattie Grinnell

Jan 6, 2020

If you grew up around North Dakota, you’ve heard of the Mandan tribe, and you might even be a member. What you may not know, is that the last full-blooded Mandan was Mattie Grinnell, who lived to be 108 years old. She died on this date in 1975. She passed in Twin Buttes in the home of her daughter, Rose Fournier. Living over a century, Grinnell saw many changes in her time.