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.

About this time in 1949, North Dakotans were learning that a man doing time for forgery in Michigan had confessed to killing two people in North Dakota. One of his victims was shot in a beauty salon in Jamestown, and the other was a man named James Woods.

On this date in 1912, the Bismarck Tribune reported that Myron R. Kent quietly passed away in the state penitentiary. The news did not cause much of a stir. But at one time, Kent was at the center of what had been dubbed “the most remarkable trial in the annals of the west.”

Mystery at Portal

Jun 5, 2019

On this date in 1908, some North Dakotans were wondering about a mystery involving two farmers from Portal. Or maybe it was only one farmer. That was the mystery. Were High J. McCullough and Samuel H. Porter two separate people? Or were they one and the same? Many locals thought it was quite curious that Porter filed a homestead claim, and then purchased the claim previously proved up by McCullough, who had conveniently disappeared.


Jun 4, 2019

Fargo residents pulled out all the stops for the city’s 75th anniversary of incorporation. A weeklong celebration of daily events marked the occasion.

Fargo started as a railroad town along the Red River where the Northern Pacific Railroad crossed from Minnesota into Dakota Territory. The town was named after banker William G. Fargo and boomed as Dakota grew with the railroads. Today Fargo is North Dakota’s largest community. At the time of the celebration in 1950, it had a mere 38,000 residents.

Theodore Roosevelt’s residency in Dakota Territory began in June of 1884 when he saddled up for the life of a cowboy and rancher. In the wake of his wife and mother’s same-day deaths, the despondent 24-year old from New York found healing and solace in the Badlands and a lifetime connection with the people of the wild West.

Two New Towns

May 31, 2019

On this date in 1906, the Hope Pioneer noted that two new North Dakota towns were on the rise. According to the newspaper, both McVille and Tolna promised to be booming in short order. Both were in Nelson County on a new extension of the Great Northern Railroad. Demand for land in and near the towns was high. The Northern Town and Land Company sold almost one hundred lots in one day. The newspaper was quite sure that the towns would take off so quickly that it would seem that they had sprung up “as if by magic.” The newspaper mentioned that both towns offered opportunities for businesses including hotels and restaurants.

St. Mary’s, Fargo’s Catholic cathedral, wasn’t yet completed when hundreds of visitors and many priests gathered to dedicate the structure. People came from all over North Dakota, arriving by train in time for the 10 a.m. event, which took place on this date in 1899.

On this date in 1914 Canada experienced its worst maritime disaster during peacetime. Just two years after the Titanic went down, the Empress of Ireland collided with a fully loaded cargo ship in the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Rosie the Avon Lady

May 28, 2019

On this date in 1986, a 90-year-old Avon lady appeared on NBC’s Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. She was Rosie Gries of Goodrich, North Dakota. She called it the second biggest highlight of her life. The biggest was a free trip to the national Avon convention.

National Bison Range

May 27, 2019

Theodore Roosevelt’s love affair with Dakota Territory began with a North American bison. That infatuation never stopped. His first Badlands sojourn in 1883 was to hunt the disappearing western symbol. Throughout his life he exhibited fealty to habitat, protection, and wildlife, which included what TR called “The Lordly Buffalo.”