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.


Today marks the anniversary of one of the most memorable basketball games in North Dakota history. It took place in the Bismarck Civic Center as the Hillsboro Burros took on the Epping Eagles for the 1977 State Class B Tournament. The Burros had been to state eight times, had won back-to-back championships in ’73 and ’74, and had done so with an enrollment of 210 students. On the other side of the state, tiny Epping High School had a total enrollment of only 23, and during the late ’60s, they had suffered 96 straight losses.


Norval Baptie was born on this date in 1879. He is enshrined in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and is in the Ice Skating Hall of Fame. His career influenced the entire sport. While he is embraced by the world ice skating community, he's not well known in his home state. 


The Cannonball River got its name from the stones found in its waters and along its banks that are so round and smooth that they “greatly resemble cannon balls.” 

The spherical rocks vary in diameter with sizes like musket balls, baseballs, cannonballs, and even boulders—two-feet tall.

Area residents often removed the round rocks as souvenirs, often finding them where the Cannonball River joined the Missouri River, 45-miles-south of Bismarck.

A legend arose, questionable in its truth, about the stones.

Amish Moving West

Mar 16, 2021


On this date in 1901, North Dakotans learned that a large group was interested in relocating to the state. A real estate firm in Grand Forks had received letters of inquiry from representatives of Amish communities in Illinois. Negotiations began for large tracts of land. The real estate agent expected that the Amish would send agents to Grand Forks soon.

Rabies Scares

Mar 15, 2021


More than a century ago, rabies scares left authorities with few options. So-called “mad dogs” were to blame, and essentially all that could be done was to order all dogs tied up or muzzled. Strays were often shot.

During this week in 1906, a rabies scare struck Ellendale when “a fine bird dog” was thought to have been bitten and infected. Other dogs that were bitten were killed, and authorities ordered all dogs not tied up to be killed. Every stray was shot on sight. The Ellendale rabies scare followed others in Forman, Wahpeton and nearby in South Dakota.

Silk Stockings

Mar 12, 2021


A silk crisis came to America in the summer of 1941. That was the time when Japanese military-forces took total control over French Indochina, and the U.S. government shut down all trade with Japan on July 26. We would not sell them any oil, Japanese accounts were frozen, and Japan could not sell goods in the U.S.

Lawrence Welk

Mar 11, 2021


Lawrence Welk was born on this date in 1903. He grew up in a sod house near Strasburg in south-central North Dakota. His first clear memory was of crawling to his father who was smiling and holding out an old accordion. Another favorite memory was of the day his brother John got married. Lawrence volunteered to stay home to do chores so he could play John’s accordion the entire day without being made to stop.


One of the deadliest foodborne epidemics in North Dakota killed 13 people, 12 of them in mere days, after a dinner party in 1931 in Grafton. Seventeen people attended the neighborly get-together. The deaths resulted from a botulism linked to a salad made with home-canned peas. Five of the dead were from one family. State health and regulatory officials investigated the tragedy, which came days after other major North Dakota news items, including a notorious lynching near Watford City and the death of a pioneer cowboy who knew Theodore Roosevelt from their Medora days. 

A Clever Ruse

Mar 9, 2021


On this date in 1909 North Dakotans learned of a clever plan that Deputy Sheriff Brown used to capture a fugitive. Joseph Schuber was charged with kidnapping a fourteen-year-old girl. It was alleged that Schuber had enticed Caroline Hatzenbueler to go with him to Dickinson. He planned to marry her and move to South Dakota. If they were unable to get married in Dickinson – she was, after all, only fourteen – they would go to South Dakota and get married there.

North Dakota Eagles

Mar 8, 2021

On this date in 1917, North Dakotans learned that golden eagles were sighted in the Sheyenne Valley. First noticed in 1915, the eagle population was growing. They were described as unusually large. The Hope Pioneer alerted readers to the eagles, even saying the Sheyenne Valley was becoming “infested” with them.