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.

Subscribe to Dakota Datebook on iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app!

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.


On this date in 1954, the Bismarck Tribune announced that abbots and bishops from across the United States and Canada were arriving in Richardton to attend the blessing and installation of Father Ignatius Hunkler as abbot of Assumption Abbey. Catholic dignitaries arrived from as far away as Pennsylvania, Saskatchewan, Washington, and Alabama. Father Hunkler was not only the first North Dakota native to become the abbot of Assumption Abbey, but the youngest abbot in the United States, at the age of 35. 


Emma Kelly was quite an adventurous person, for she was among the first women to endure the extreme conditions of the Alaskan-Klondike gold-rush in 1897. She also established a farm in N.D. as a homesteader on the south shore of Devils Lake in 1904.

On this date in 1904, the Bismarck Tribune described Emma Kelly as a “writer of ability” and “woman of culture” who had fearless and “Romantic Experiences” before her arrival in North Dakota.


Before the 1908 Republican convention was held, Teddy Roosevelt announced that he would not seek a third term as president. He gave his support to his Secretary of War, William Howard Taft. Taft was not enthusiastic about politics. He loved the law, and would eventually serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. His wife teamed with Roosevelt to convince him to run for office.


Epidemics of diphtheria, smallpox, scarlet fever and other diseases struck schools, churches and families throughout North Dakota more than a century ago. Children were especially vulnerable, and siblings often died within days of each other. After a local couple buried all three of their children, the Emmons County Record urged the 1899 Legislature to do something to stamp out the diseases, writing: “Surely heroic measures ought to be taken to save the precious lives of our children.” The following spring, the State Board of Health adopted a rule that no pupil could enter any public school without proof of vaccination. 

Long-Haired Morgan

Sep 9, 2020


During this week in 1884, a post office was established at Morganville on the old stage route between Bismarck and Ft. Stevenson. Morganville was nothing more than a farm on the west edge of what is now Beulah, in Mercer County.

The owner and postmaster was an unusual man who went by Frank C. Morgan, Morgan Spencer and Long-Haired Morgan.


On November 3 of 1914, voters in North Dakota had the opportunity to pass woman’s suffrage, and on this date, suffragists were actively campaigning for this change. 


Various club and group activities in September noted increasing activities for the suffragists. In Fargo, local suffragist Kate S. Wilder gave suffrage addresses in several WCTU districts. At a state tennis tournament held on the Island park courts there, large yellow umbrellas protecting the judges from the sun advertised, “Votes for North Dakota Women, Nov. 3, 1914.”

Champagne Music

Sep 7, 2020


North Dakota musician Lawrence Welk said his first real break came in 1937 when his band was playing in Chaska, MN. Will Osborne’s band was playing in nearby St. Paul, and one day Welk told his band he was taking them into the city for lunch and to “listen to a real artist at work.” One of his band members joked, “If you’re going to treat…[the] guy must be good!”


Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer, and many North Dakota communities observe the federal holiday differently. The holiday falls on the first Monday in September every year.


On this date in 1904, the Grand Army of the Republic concluded its annual meeting in Boston. The Washburn Leader announced that the organization elected officers and chose Denver as the location of the next annual encampment. The Grand Army of the Republic, known as the GAR, was an organization for Union veterans of the Civil War. It was established in Springfield, Illinois in 1866. Eventually there were hundreds of posts across the country. 


On this date in 1899, the telephone installed at the Chicago and North Western Railway depot in Oakes, North Dakota was up and working. According to the Oakes Republican, the depot was “now in close touch with the rest of the world.” 1899 might seem early for telephone service, but the Northwestern depot did not have the state’s first telephone. That honor belonged to Oliver Dalrymple’s bonanza farm.