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Fargo

  • People all over North Dakota turned out for two former presidential rivals on separate speaking tours in 1920. Republican William Howard Taft had defeated Democrat William Jennings Bryan in the 1908 presidential election, serving as president from 1909 to 1913. It’s unclear why the two came to North Dakota, but their speeches drew thousands of people.
  • June is arguably the best month of summer for fishing and for “going to the lake.” Many North Dakotans flock to home-state lakes – Sakakawea, Lake Darling, Spiritwood, Stump, Metigoshe. Folks near the Red River often head into Minnesota. It was on this date, in 1889, that the Bismarck Tribune related some of the happenings on Big Detroit Lake, when North Dakotans were in a whirl of lakeshore fun, jam-packed with boating, relaxation, bathing and angling.
  • Under the familiar bold headline of “News of the North,” readers of the Fargo Forum and Daily Republican in February of 1910 saw quite a variety of content. An advertisement recommended “Give your stomach a vacation with Stewarts Dyspepsia Tablets.” There was also a lengthy column titled “The Sunday School Lesson.
  • Like a scene out of a classic western, on this date in 1889, reports of a burglary and injured police chief hit the papers. William Gray and his partner had burgled Schmidt’s Palace Saloon in Fargo, stealing 18 to 20 dollars, as well as some watches and whiskey. The news article did not explain why the Chief of Police in neighboring Moorhead participated in the investigation, but with the help of an associate from Moorhead, Chief Murphy tracked the burglars and placed them under arrest.
  • Communities closed down when the flu pandemic struck North Dakota in the fall of 1918. But the length of restrictions on schools, churches, theaters and public gatherings differed. Fargo’s lockdown lasted about three weeks. Bismarck’s restrictions lasted a month. Grand Forks reopened after seven weeks, and Minot’s restrictions ended after eight weeks, one of the longest closings in the state.
  • Aside from newspaper accounts and government records, little was written about the terrible flu pandemic of 1918. Historians today have wondered whether the memories were too painful to write about. One estimate says more than 5,100 North Dakotans died in the pandemic, which lingered into 1920.
  • We will never know the full extent of the 1918 flu pandemic in North Dakota. The virus hit the state at a time of poor public health administration, with no state health department. The official death count of 1,378 people is almost certainly an undercount. One estimate in recent years put the death toll at more than 5,100 North Dakotans.
  • North Dakota has welcomed several royal visitors over the years. On this date in 1926, Queen Marie of Romania and her children -- Princess Ileana and Prince Nicholas -- made their way west by train through North Dakota, on a tour of the United States. Queen Marie was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.
  • On this date in 1921, the front page of the second section of the Fargo Forum's Saturday evening edition led with the article headlined, “Arikara Indians Stage Ancient Ceremonial at Fort Berthold."
  • Thursday, August 12, 2021 - The third time’s the charm for comedian Paula Poundstone. After getting postponed twice due to the pandemic, she’ll be performing later this month in Fargo. Paula, who is also a frequent guest on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, visits with guest host Bill Thomas. ~~~ In an excerpt from Sunday’s Great American Folk Show, we hear from North Dakota vocalist Colleen Reinhardt. ~~~ Sue Balcom is here to discuss gardening for health.