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.

The Missileers

8 hours ago

In the early 1950s, the Cold War was in danger of becoming hot. American military leaders were afraid of an attack by enemy bombers. The Air Force looked for suitable sites for new air bases, and the city of Minot, North Dakota convinced the Air Force that Minot was the perfect site. In 1955 ground was broken for the new base.

The Bones of Plenty

Mar 21, 2019

North Dakota has its own version of the “The Grapes of Wrath.” Similar to John Steinbeck’s Great Depression story is “The Bones of Plenty” by Lois Phillips Hudson. She writes about the fictional George and Rachel Custer and their family’s wheat farm near Jamestown during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression.

The Grand Forks Fire Department is one of the longest continuously serving fire departments around. A year after the people organized as a village, on May 6, 1879, they established the fire department. In January the following year, George Walsh, President of the Village Board, held a meeting to discuss equipment for the department. And on this date, the village welcomed a horse-drawn Champion Fire Engine as its first piece of firefighting equipment. It was a simple two-wheeled apparatus with a 100-gallon tank.  While this seems rudimentary by today’s standards, at the time it was very helpful for the 15 volunteers who had relied on the “bucket brigade” method.

Weasel Words

Mar 19, 2019

Theodore Roosevelt extolled the American West throughout his life, influenced by his adventures with the people of the West, from Dakota Territory’s Little Missouri River all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

He was never shy talking about the ethical standards he adhered to and strove to uphold in his personal, public and private life. He called out with pride the people he met in the West as being “average citizens of the right type.”

In 1886, Christian Maiers, his wife, the first of their 11 children, along with his parents and a brother, moved from Russia to Dakota Territory. Christian had only $20 left when the whole family moved into a 12x18 foot sod house. To earn extra money, he and other settlers gathered old buffalo bones to sell to fertilizer companies.

The Good Seed Train

Mar 15, 2019

The North Dakota Agricultural College was born in March 1890 when the governor approved a bill calling for its establishment. The land grant college opened its doors in January of 1892 with a president, three faculty members, and 123 students. Classes were held in six rooms rented from Fargo College. The first agricultural experiment station had been established two years earlier, and it was now incorporated into the program at NDAC.

North Dakota Burning

Mar 14, 2019

On this date in 1913, hundreds of thousands of tons of North Dakota coal was being eaten up by fires in undeveloped mines. Coal is not usually the first thing that comes to mind when people think of North Dakota. But in 1913, a geologist estimated that the state had 32,000 square miles of coal fields containing 500 billion tons of coal. The coal fires had the state legislature alarmed at what they called the “wanton destruction” of a valuable state resource.

Grain Rustlers

Mar 13, 2019

Cattle rustlers weren’t the only thieves who plagued North Dakota farmers and ranchers. On this date in 1914, the Devils Lake Weekly World announced that two members of a grain rustling gang had been arrested. The gang operated near Minot. The men were indicted for grand theft larceny and were being held for trial. Sheriff Kelly expected that the men would name the other members of the gang. One of the men had served time for stealing flax and had been released on parole only a few days prior to his arrest.

Colonel Forman

Mar 12, 2019

Cornelius Hagerman Forman was not a young man when he gathered a group of friends and family from Michigan, along with a load of lumber, and struck out to establish a town in eastern Dakota Territory. Colonel Forman was fifty-five and had already started another town named for him in Michigan. But Forman, North Dakota was to be an even greater chapter.

This week in March of 1903, President Roosevelt created America’s first federal bird refuge. Pelican Island, Florida had long been a favorite haven for beautiful shore and wading birds where mangroves hugged the waters of the small island. Pelicans, peafowls, flamingos and spoonbills adorned the beach.