Dakota Datebook | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Dakota Datebook

6:42 am, 8:42 am, 3:50 pm*, 5:44 pm, and 7:50 pm* CT
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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.

The Flying Priest

May 29, 2020


On this day in 1940, The Bismarck Tribune announced that Father Robert Victor Long was celebrating his 25th anniversary of becoming a Catholic priest. Father Long was born in 1888 in Wisconsin. His family moved to Jud, ND when he was 13. He was ordained in 1915 and was assigned to St. James Catholic Church in Jamestown. A year later he was assigned to Transfiguration Catholic Church in Edgeley.


Dickinson had been established as Pleasant Valley Siding in 1880, but the name changed by 1881. It became the county seat in 1883, incorporated in 1899, and became a city in 1900.  And on this date in 1909, Dickinson was abuzz with an idea proposed by Mr. James C. Young to the city council, on how to speed up development in the city.


In 1919, farms and communities across the state had been drained of young men -- called into service during two years of war.  Weekly casualty lists contained the names of local boys who died in the war, eventually totalling four hundred and seventy-four. And when combined with the Spanish Flu epidemic sweeping the state from October to December, death had visited most doorsteps.

Peggy Lee was born on this date in 1920 in Jamestown, North Dakota. She is known for her singing, movie, and television career. She is not well known for her war with the Walt Disney Company. The case came about because Disney performers received no additional compensation when a movie was later shown on television and turned into videocassettes. The movie company received all of the profits.

Memorial Day 1919

May 25, 2020

In 1919, Memorial Day was a solemn occasion.  It found an exhausted population in North Dakota striving to return to some sense of the lives they had prior to the Great War.  Only five months had elapsed from a time when their world seemed to be spinning out of control. They were now beginning to put behind them the apocalyptic events of the previous year.

The Votes for Women's League began to establish itself in North Dakota in 1912. Fargo was the first community to form a Votes for Women League on February 4. It grew quickly. Mrs. Clara Darrow was elected president, and many "well known Fargo women ... entered their names on the charter membership list," according to reports.

Gov. Walter Welford

May 21, 2020

North Dakota has had a handful of foreign-born governors. Ragnvold Nestos and John Moses were born in Norway, with Roger Allin and Walter Welford born in England.

Space Balls

May 20, 2020

In early April 1971, two strange metal balls were found in southeastern North Dakota. Both weighed about 20 lbs with faded stripes. They were very hot and about 15 inches in diameter. One, found by Corwin Brumond, had a hole five inches in diameter, and the other, found east of Oakes by Mike Michel, had a hole six inches in diameter. It was later learned that two others had been found, one near Engevale and one near Litchville.


This date in 2018 kicked off Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week in North Dakota. And while the pest hasn’t arrived in the state yet, it poses quite a threat, because North Dakota has more than 90 million ash trees, making it the most common tree in the state.


North Dakota has had more than a few visits from presidents over the years, but first ladies have come here, too. Laura Bush visited Sims Scandinavian Lutheran Church in Morton County in 2008. Michelle Obama accompanied President Obama to Cannon Ball in 2014. And Edith Roosevelt, years before she became first lady, visited Theodore’s Elkhorn Ranch north of Medora during one of his last substantial visits to the Badlands.