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.

Pomp's Birthday

Feb 11, 2020

Sacagawea gave birth to Jean Baptiste Charbonneau on this date in 1805. Lewis and Clark were wintering at Ft. Mandan and had hired Touissant Charbonneau and his pregnant wife Sacagawea as interpreters for the next leg of their Corps of Discovery Expedition. Meriwether Lewis wrote about the birth, saying, “…one of the wives of Charbonneau was delivered of a fine boy.”

In the early days of Great Plains settlement, fire was a threat. Driven by the wind, it could sweep across grasslands and crops. It might be started by lightning or human error. Fires deliberately set to burn off vegetation could get out of control.

There is much interest in architectural preservation these days, so it’s interesting that already back in 1923, there was concern about losing a historic building at the North Dakota Agricultural College in Fargo. The building was Francis Hall, the second building constructed on campus. It was built in 1893 at a cost of $17,000, and was named for O.W. Francis, a former president of the school’s board of directors. It served as a dormitory, had a dining room, a reception area, and was also home to the “Department of Domestic Economy.”

Blizzard of 1984

Feb 6, 2020

Every part of the country has its own types of natural disasters. In the south they get hurricanes, in the west earthquakes, and here in the north we get blizzards that have miles of flat plains to blow through.

One memorable storm is the blizzard of 1984 which swept across the Great Plains with 60 mile-per-hour winds. It hit Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and of course, North Dakota. The cold air even went as far south as Texas.

North Dakota held its first wrist wrestling championship in Minot on this date in 1976. When people think of arm wrestling, they often imagine burly men gathered around and yelling. Or maybe they remember days of their youth as they recall trying to prove each other’s toughness to their friends. 

When it was part of Dakota Territory, what we now know as North Dakota had a reputation as a wild place where saloons and saloon girls flourished. As the area neared statehood, many citizens hoped to create a more gentile environment. They wanted to clean up North Dakota’s reputation. It was way past time, they thought, for North Dakota to become more civilized. One way to do this was to do away with saloons and liquor, along with the “wild women” that went with them.

John Leach

Feb 3, 2020

John Charles Leach was one of the soldiers that stood guard at the casket of Abraham Lincoln after the president’s assassination in 1865. Leach was picked because of his height, well over six feet.

Gwinner Explosion

Jan 31, 2020

On this date in 1993, Gwinner residents were supposed to watch Buffalo Bills player Phil Hansen, a native of nearby Oakes, play in the Super Bowl. Instead, they were rudely awakened at 6:30am by a loud explosion and fire. Many thought the small town of less than 700 people was under attack. Instead, the flames that shot 60 to 70 feet into the air was caused by an exploding 15,000 gallon propane tank at the Bobcat factory. A faulty panel on the tank caused propane to leak and ignite, launching the tank 150 yards away like a rocket. The explosion and flames damaged nearby houses, cars, and trees. The main power line into town was destroyed, cutting power for the entire town.

January is a crucial month for gardeners. By the end of the month, seed catalogs are dog-eared, orders are penciled in, and colorful dreams and schemes begin to solidify.

George Armstrong Custer was not from Dakota Territory, and his military exploits primarily took place elsewhere, but he is nonetheless closely tied to the area.