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Carole Butcher

  • Severe winter weather is no big surprise in North Dakota. The state can typically expect 50 days per year with below zero temperatures. The record low, in 1936, was -60 degrees.
  • On this date in 1930, the Bismarck Tribune reported on a meeting of the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The speaker for the occasion was Russell Reid of the State Historical Society. Mr. Reid’s topic was North Dakota’s forts.
  • World War I put a heavy burden on the country’s food supplies. Men and horses were taken off the farms and sent to war. German submarines blocked the importation of nitrate fertilizer and food. Decreased agricultural output led to food shortages. It became common to see women and children standing in line to buy food. Lower food supplies led to higher prices and hoarding.
  • Today it is difficult to imagine what the invention of the telegraph meant to the development of the country. In the early 1800s it took weeks for messages to get from one side of the country to the other. The telegraph changed that. By 1860, the telegraph stretched as far west as St. Joseph, Missouri. The Pony Express took messages and mail from there to Sacramento, California in a record ten days. On this date in 1861, a telegraph message was sent from St. Louis to San Francisco, finally connecting the east coast with the west.
  • North Dakota entered the country as a dry state, initiating an ongoing battle between state authorities and bootleggers. On this date in 1928, the Bismarck Tribune reported that four men found themselves in hot water, accused of running the largest still ever found in the state. To call the operation a “still” was an impressive understatement. Located on a farm seventeen miles north of Mandan, the operation more closely resembled a factory.
  • Barberry is an attractive plant that is prized by landscapers for its vibrant foliage. Combined with its attractive leaves of gold, yellow and red, barberry enjoys a reputation for being hardy, low maintenance, and deer resistant.
  • The United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917. The guns fell silent on November 11, 1918. During that time, 35,448 North Dakota men served in the Armed Forces. Over 1,300 of them did not survive. There was sadness across the country as families held funerals for their loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice. There was even greater tragedy for the families of those who never returned from the war. Without a funeral, there was no sense of closure.
  • In an effort to encourage future generations of farmers, the Better Farming Association of Barnes County sponsored programs that appealed to boys. The big project for 1912 was the corn growing contest. The boys were challenged to grow the highest yield per acre. The Association noted that its most important work was arousing an interest in farming as a career. On this date in 1912, 112 Barnes County boys were enrolled in the corn yield contest, enticed by valuable prizes.
  • There was a great deal riding on the presidential election of 1900. The Philippine American War was in its third year and Americans were nervous about the state of the country’s economy.
  • In 1869, the Transcontinental Railroad was completed with the driving of the Golden Spike. The railroad ran from Omaha in Nebraska Territory to Sacramento in California. It was the first means of mass transportation to cross the country. And as the first, the Transcontinental Railroad overshadowed the later Northern Pacific. The Northern Pacific, however, has its own inspiring story. It also reached the far west, but had to overcome financial challenges to do it without government loans.