Dakota Datebook | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Dakota Datebook

Emerson Hough was best known as a writer of the American West. Although he was born in Iowa, he became enchanted with the West when he moved to New Mexico. While there he met and interviewed Pat Garrett. Garrett was famous as the man who shot Billy the Kid. Inspired by his connection to Garrett, Hough’s first book was Story of the Outlaw: A Study of Western Desperadoes.

America mourned this November week in 1963 following the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the murder of Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit by Lee Harvey Oswald. Then there was the second “caught on camera killing” of Oswald himself.

Want Ad Wonders

Nov 20, 2020

The want ads have been a staple in newspapers for generations. The simple premise of posting sale items or help-wanted ads has continued in virtually every community. Today, those ads from the past provide a glimpse into the services, wages, and community, of the decades gone by. Here’s a sampling of Fargo Forum newspaper ads from this week in 1909:

Erosion is constant in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where the colorful but crumbly Badlands are on full display. A scenic loop rings the park’s South Unit at Medora, taking visitors through prairie dog towns, river bottomland and layered bluffs. The park was established in 1947 as Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park, but the 21-mile loop wasn’t completed until 1968, when the final seven miles of road were laid. Visitors previously had to retrace the road from Wind Canyon and Buck Hill.


On this date in 1943, Earl Charles Reineke married Jane Marie Early. He was a broadcaster, and she was a dancer and professional model. Before his death, Reineke established a foundation to establish an educational or scientific memorial in Fargo, and when she died, half of Mrs. Reineke’s estate was added to the foundation. Their shared dream materialized with the construction of the Reineke Fine Arts Center at NDSU in 1982.

Splitting Dakota

Nov 12, 2020


As what would become North and South Dakota moved towards statehood, regional differences became more apparent. The south had a population of over 98,000 in 1880 when the northern population was only 37,000. The two regions also had different commercial transportation routes. The north was tied to Minneapolis-St. Paul; the south to Omaha and Chicago. There was also something of a personality difference. The south tended to view itself as more civilized and cosmopolitan, while the north was seen as populated by cowboys and fur traders.

Roy Rogers

Nov 11, 2020


On this date in 1950, the results of the Sears-Roebuck safety slogan contest in Bismarck were in. The winner was a 10-year-old from Ft. Lincoln, for his slogan, “Go Slow or You’ll Go – Fast.” His award was a gold-colored statue of Roy Rogers’ horse, Trigger.

Militant Suffragists

Nov 10, 2020


Suffragists Alice Paul and Lucy Burns learned about militant protest tactics from suffrage efforts in England. They felt such tactics could help in the United States, but the National American Woman Suffrage Association did not approve, so they founded a separate group, the National Woman’s Party, under Alice Paul’s leadership.


North Dakota voters split their votes at the polls and the results were freshly announced during this day’s morning sun in 1988. Vice President George Bush won North Dakota as well as the nation when he defeated challenger Michael Dukakis. Bush earned 54 percent of the national vote after serving as Vice President with popular President Ronald Reagan.

Painted Woods

Nov 6, 2020


Fall in North Dakota is often too brief, but the moment is bright and scenic. Highway 1804, which travels through the Missouri River’s eastern bluffs, is an especially beautiful place to take in autumn’s colors.  On 1804 south of Washburn, there is a little known destination: the Painted Woods Wildlife Management Area. Amidst the fall colors on a November day, the Painted Woods may seem to get its name from the palette of bright leaves. However, the history of the Painted Woods is older and less obvious. It is a story of love, loss, and warfare.