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.

Wrong Victim

Sep 1, 2020


The news on this date in 1914 was that S. A. Burns was being charged with the murder of a McKenzie County homesteader who had been missing from his ranch near Schafer for four months. The odd thing was that Burns was already in jail – charged with the same murder.

Arthur G. Crane

Aug 31, 2020


In 1902, a young Carleton College graduate from New York named Arthur G. Crane accepted the position of superintendent of schools in Minto. Three years later, in 1905, he left to become high school principal in Lewiston, Montana. However, Crane came back to North Dakota to become the superintendent of schools in Jamestown in 1907. Crane was so well respected that when a constitutional amendment was passed in 1910 to establish a normal school in Minot, he was asked to become its first president.

A Day of Diseases

Aug 28, 2020


During the Red River Valley’s hot and humid days of mid-August 1944, the newspaper in Fargo reported on a health scare.  A 17 year old boy had just died of polio, infantile paralysis, in a Fargo hospital. He had been hospitalized for less than a week. 

Fingal Enger

Aug 27, 2020


It was during harvest in 1913 that Fingal Enger was caught in a downpour. He wouldn’t go inside until all the wagons were in and every horse was tended. He ended up with pneumonia. It was a hard thing for Enger to be slowed by illness – the 6'4" farmer was legendary for his size and strength.


In 1919, suffragists around the country called for special state legislative sessions to gain the necessary majority to ratify it. However, in North Dakota, Nonpartisan League Governor Frazier was not keen on the idea, saying it would be an extra expense, and just to address suffrage, wasn’t necessary.


Fighting epidemics in North Dakota’s early years involved difficult and sometimes heavy-handed measures. Such was the case when diphtheria hit the old Missouri River village of Winona in the summer and fall of 1891. 


Every human society needs rules and laws. But always there will be lawbreakers who violate those laws. Crime brings punishment. In North Dakota, criminals have faced punishment in county jails and in the state’s penitentiary in Bismarck. Today’s Datebook looks at one aspect of punishment – prison uniforms – as it relates to one escapade by an escapee.

In 1894, the North Dakota Penitentiary bought “one hundred suits of regulation striped clothing” so prisoners would thereafter “wear stripes.”


Fargo’s former streetcar system reaches back almost to the founding of the town itself. Horse-drawn routes began in 1879, but with no paved streets, the tracks sank into the mud and the line was abandoned. Another horse-drawn line started in 1882, but failed a few months later after a fire destroyed the car barn and all its equipment.


Aug 20, 2020


A 1911 postcard carried this hand-written message, “This is how the storm looked [as it] passed over Antler … wrecked a barn and killed one man, 1 ½ miles from where I am working.” On the front of the postcard is a picture of the tornado that hit on this date in 1911 – a large black mass extending down toward some buildings.

Japan Quits

Aug 19, 2020


Newspaper readers in the early 1940s were accustomed to their daily newspaper coverage of war battles and international conflict. World War II affected virtually every aspect of human life. The Fargo Forum was no exception.