In July of 1891 hundreds of people from all over the new state of North Dakota gathered at a place called Dana’s Grove—three miles east of Devil’s Lake.
According to Fargo’s Daily Argus, they created “a village of whited tents, on grounds that art could not excel…” The Governor himself was there, with his wife and staff. In fact, the week-long event was named for him—Camp Burke. It was a festive week, complete with “fair women and brave men” strolling through the grove, baseball games, boating, open-air dances, marching bands, vendors offering popcorn, lemonade and tobacco, children playing on the shore, and a lakeside restaurant which thrived until the W.C.T.U. informed authorities they were serving beer and liquor.
Everyone seemed to be having a grand time at the first encampment of the North Dakota National Guard.
Written by Russell Ford-Dunker
“Camp Burke” The Daily Argus 18 July 1891: p. 1
“A Trip to Fort Totten” The Daily Argus 21 July 1891: p. 6
“The State Encampment” The Daily Argus 22 July 1891: p. 6