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Carole Butcher

  • On this date in 1907 a puzzling crime investigation by the Devils Lake police department came to a satisfying ending. The crime was first considered unsolvable, but the police nabbed the culprit after some clever sleuthing.
  • Irrigation has been crucial to North Dakota’s development. On this date in 1907 it was announced that western governors would gather for the National Irrigation Congress in Sacramento, California. Governors of sixteen western states and territories under the National Reclamation Act were expected to attend. The Federal Government was engaged in many reclamation projects throughout the west, and the National Irrigation Congress was an opportunity for the governors to have input into those projects.
  • When war broke out in Europe in 1914, President Wilson announced that the United States would remain neutral. Most Americans supported this policy. The country did not want to become embroiled in a foreign war. Wilson was reelected in 1914, running on his slogan, “He Kept Us Out of War.” But public opinion gradually shifted against Germany, and Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war in April 1917. He stated that “The world must be made safe for democracy.”
  • Frances Densmore was born in Red Wing, Minnesota in 1867. As a child she developed an appreciation of music by listening to the nearby Dakota Indians. She became a music teacher, working with Native Americans across the country. Concerned that the tribal music might disappear, she began to record and transcribe their music. In 1907, Densmore began this archiving officially for the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of American Ethnology.
  • The Dakota Zoo got its start on the farm of Marc and Betty Christianson, which was located on the northern edge of Bismarck. What started as a boarding kennel for dogs gradually expanded to include a variety of domestic animals. People in the neighborhood regarded the farm as a safe haven for animals, so they brought stray and injured animals to the farm knowing they would be cared for.
  • According to the Bismarck Historical Society, on this date in 1912 there was something lacking in the city of Bismarck — a public library. The public could borrow from the state library at the Capitol, but the lack of a public library still marked Bismarck as less than modern.
  • The 1904 Lewis and Clark Centennial and Pacific Exposition and Oriental Fair, known simply as the World’s Fair, was held in St. Louis. With everything from new foods like ice cream cones to the first Ferris wheel, the fair was a combination of trade show, museum, amusement park, and food court.
  • Most Civil War veterans had been farmers or laborers prior to their military service. As they aged, it became more difficult for them to work. By the 1890s most of the veterans were in their fifties and sixties. Their hometowns threw parades for them and they were honored at public functions, but what they really needed was financial assistance. A pension system had been in place since 1862 for Union soldiers disabled in the war. Dependents of those killed were also eligible. The pension provided eight dollars a month. It was a popular program and even served as a recruiting tool. But as time went on, it became obvious that aging veterans also needed help.
  • Cars first used lanterns to light the road in front, but no lights on the rear. As cars became more common, increased traffic led to more accidents. An obvious solution was to install taillights. The only question was what color should indicate the back of a car.
  • While the population of North Dakota has always been too small to support a major league baseball team, the state has a long and rich history when it comes to the sport.