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Sarah Walker

  • On this date in 1909, the city of Williston celebrated the opening of their new Great Northern Depot. There had initially been some concern that the new depot would be farther from the city that the old depot, but the local commercial club got involved to ensure that it would be built close to the original site.
  • The city of Robinson, in Kidder County, experienced a news-making surprise in 1925. A public water well had begun to produce gasoline! The water had apparently turned bad for drinking a year earlier, but was still being used off-and-on for other purposes. A motorist who stopped to add water to his radiator, realized it was gasoline when he got it to burn.
  • North Dakota enacted prohibition within its borders upon entering as a state in 1889. Of course, many continued to illegally sell and transport liquor. In March 1915, the North Dakota legislature approved House Bill 114, which defined the crime of bootlegging and clarified the punishment for violations.
  • Today is Halloween, a perfect time to talk about scary stories, ghosts, and old legends! The North Dakota State Archives holds many items that speak to such things. After all, history is rife with stories of the unexplained, and North Dakota is no different.
  • In early 1917, social news about the State Historical Society’s second librarian, Miss Georgia Carpenter, made the columns of the Bismarck Tribune. She was engaged to Charles Hageman of Bismarck. Charles was a travelling salesman for a Duluth hardware company. The two would be marrying in Randolph, New York, from where she hailed, although they planned to make their home in Bismarck.
  • In the early history of the State Historical Society of North Dakota, the offices were in the basement of the original Capitol. It wasn’t a lot of space, which soon became a problem. In 1913, Secretary Orin G. Libby of the State Historical Society, reported, “the crowded condition of the museum rooms… made it impossible for the Society to enter into any considerable collecting …”
  • In 1913, Orin G. Libby, secretary at the State Historical Society, reported that the curator of the society was anxious to secure representative collections illustrating the early life of the state’s various nationalities. Only one had proper representation, according to Libby; and while you might think that it was the German, Norwegian or indigenous populations, you would be incorrect. The only group reported as having good representation was the Icelandic population.
  • In 1916, Librarian Georgia Carpenter noted that in the past year, several visitors of national reputation had visited the library, including Miss Frances Densmore, known for documenting the music of indigenous peoples. She and Orin G. Libby had recorded Arikara, Hidatsa, and Mandan songs on wax cylinders.
  • In 1911, the State Historical Society of North Dakota had only one paid employee with an office in the capitol. In 1914, the first librarian was hired. And in November of 1915, Mrs. Katherine Jewell was hired as the first newspaper clerk.
  • October is Archives Month, an occasion to recognize the efforts to assess, collect, organize, preserve, and provide access to information of lasting value. The North Dakota State Archives is part of the State Historical Society of North Dakota. Today, we recognize Georgia Carpenter, who came from out east in 1915 to become the second librarian for the North Dakota State Historical Society.