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North Dakota School for the Deaf


This is Education Week. On September 10, 1890, the North Dakota School for the Deaf was founded in Devils Lake. Only one student made an appearance on that first day of class, but by the end of the year, 23 pupils were enrolled. The original school was housed in an old frame building provided by the citizens of Devil's Lake; but by 1893, a new building designed by deaf architect, Olof Hanson, was opened on eighteen acres of land donated by the Great Northern railroad. North Dakota's School for the Deaf acted as a boarding school where students learned to communicate through a "combined system" of sign language, finger spelling, speech, and writing. Students also learned practical trades such as shoemaking, carpentry, sewing, and printing, which would help them find a job and earn a living in the future. The school is still open today serving the deaf children of North Dakota.

Dakota Datebook written by Carol Wilson


Golden Jubilee Committee, North Dakota Association for the Deaf. 50th Anniversary: North Dakota School for the Deaf, 1890-1940.