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.

On this date in 1909 the Golden Valley Chronicle warned that North Dakota farmers should be concerned about the Chicago Board of Trade. The newspaper reported on a conversation overheard in Chicago. Jim Patten, described as “the great wheat gambler,” reportedly declared that the Board had to suppress efforts by farmers to market their crops independently. The idea was to have the Board send out the flattering reports to help hold prices down until farmers gave in. Patten saw any organization on the part of farmers as a threat to the power of the Board.

Old Settler’s Day

Sep 2, 2019

On this date in 1967, the town of Alexander in McKenzie County was celebrating Old Settler’s Day. It originated in 1946 as a community picnic to honor residents of more than 40 years. Ten “Range Riders” were honored in that first year. The yearly celebration traditionally honors a longtime resident or couple in the Alexander area or McKenzie County. The 1956 Old Settler’s Day celebrated Alexander’s golden jubilee. More than 410 old timers that year wore ribbons signifying the number of years they’d been in McKenzie County.

The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit is a local landmark in Bismarck, North Dakota. Its soaring white bell tower can be seen across town from a variety of directions.

Years of setbacks had delayed construction of the cathedral, which was built during World War II. The first bishop of Bismarck, Vincent Wehrle, bought land in Bismarck in 1917 on which to build the cathedral he had long dreamed of. Plans were drawn up within a few years, but construction was delayed due to the Great Depression. In 1940, the new Bishop Vincent Ryan got cracking on the plans. He hired William Kurke, who was an architect who helped design the new North Dakota Capitol in the 1930s. Kurke designed an Art Deco style cathedral of monolithic concrete. The decorations and accoutrements were expected to make it the most beautiful cathedral in North Dakota.

Election Pledges

Aug 29, 2019

Theodore Roosevelt’s passion for politics included his own insistence on the American public’s quest for truth and honesty. He was known for continually demanding as much for himself, even more so, as a political leader. He abhorred politicians who randomly distributed false promises.

Lawrence Welk was, in some ways, North Dakota’s first celebrity. The famous bandleader was born on his German-speaking family’s homestead near Strasburg in 1903, but his dreams of music led him away from North Dakota. Welk worked and played local dances for four years to repay his father $400 for his first accordion. He left North Dakota at age 21 and pursued professional music, growing in popularity as his career progressed, playing dances, ballrooms and resorts, then to television and the long-running “Lawrence Welk Show.”

Something wasn't right after Gov. Arthur Sorlie returned from a visit to the Badlands near Watford City in July of 1928. He and several U.S. senators had participated in dedicating the new Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge spanning the Little Missouri River. The group also toured a site for a potential national park.

Whooping cough was among the scariest of childhood diseases. Known also as pertussis, whooping cough came from the bacterium “Bordetella pertussis.” Adults could get whooping cough, but its effects were deadliest in children. Consequently, whooping-cough epidemics, before the days of antibiotics and vaccines, were greatly feared, for its germs were highly contagious.

In 1893, North Dakota joined the many other states that sent items to be displayed at the World's Fair in Chicago. There was needlework, maps, model tepees, Red River ox carts, and samples of wildlife preserved with taxidermy. Colonel Lounsberry, founder of the Bismarck Tribune, reported from Chicago on the many items, saying:

"In the Pembina room are some fine paintings done by Blanche Booker, only 12 years of age, and scattered through the building are many others. Among the paintings is one by a celebrated French artist for which the national government paid $5000 and loaned it to this exhibition upon the request of our senators. It represents a harvest scene on the Powers farm in Richland County."

How the West was Won

Aug 22, 2019

Harold Schafer loved the idea of the “American West,” just as he loved the reality of the West.  Schafer (1912-2001) will always be remembered as the Bismarck businessman who made his fortune manufacturing Gold Seal floor-wax and Mr. Bubble bubble-bath. He subsequently invested heavily in restoring historic Medora, making it the state’s supreme tourist attraction. Interestingly, Harold Schafer’s love of the West also got him into a Hollywood film in the 1960s.

Theodore Roosevelt’s first important speech in North Dakota was before a teaming assembly of citizens in Jamestown in the blazing summer, anxious for their adopted Western son to speak glowingly of Wild West values.